Chehalis Flooding & Fish
Policy Workshops and Public Meetings
A Chehalis Basin Strategy ’Reducing Flood Damage and Enhancing Aquatic Species’ Policy Workshop was held on May 22, 2014 from 8:30am - 5:30pm and on May 22, 2014 from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm at the Veteran’s Memorial Museum, 100 SW Veterans Way in Chehalis, WA. For more information, read the agenda.
Public meetings were held on May 28, 4:00pm - 9:00 pm at the Veterans Museum and May 29, 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm at Montesano City Hall, 112 N Main Street, Montesano. For more information, read the flyer.
The Chehalis Basin has repeatedly flooded over the past decades. There have been seven major floods in the past 30 years alone. The 2007 flood caused over $900 million in private and public damages, as well as closed Interstate 5 and a major rail line for days. The 2010-11 Washington State Legislature passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill (ESHB) 2020, which required the Office of Financial Management (OFM) to produce a report for the Governor and Legislature that identifies recommended priority flood hazard mitigation projects in the Chehalis River Basin. The Center was asked by the Governor's Office to help OFM—in collaboration with the five state agencies, affected and interested federal agencies, 2 tribal governments, and 12 local governments—produce the report. The Center's tasks were to coordinate the report using technical information provided by other agencies and organizations, and to conduct a situation assessment of flood alternatives and relationships between the responsible parties and stakeholders. The report was completed in December 2012.
In August 2012, the Governor's Office asked the Center to facilitate a small work group convened by the Governor to inform the Governor's recommendations for the 2013-15 biennial budget. A framework document containing the group's consensus recommendations was presented to the Governor in November 2012. Then-Governor Gregoire endorsed the group's recommendations (as has current Governor Jay Inslee). In June 2013, the Legislature passed the 2013-15 biennium capital budget with $28.2 million to fund the work group’s recommendations. A summary of the budget for that work is located on right hand side of this page.
Governor Inslee requested the work group to continue to provide advice over the next two years to OFM on the implementation of these capital budget items. The Governor also requested work group provide a recommendation to him and the Legislature on the feasibility of projects to reduce flooding, including a potential dam on the mainstem and alternatives for protecting Interstate 5, as well as other smaller projects throughout the Basin. The work group members are:
- David Burnett (Chehalis Tribal Chairman)
- Rob Duff (Natural Resource Policy Advisor to the Governor)
- Jay Gordon (Basin dairy farmer and President Washington Dairy Federation)
- Keith Philips (Energy and Environment Advisor to the Governor)
- Vickie Raines (Cosmopolis Mayor and Chair Chehalis Basin Flood Authority)
- Karen Valenzuela (Thurston County Commissioner and Vice-Chair Chehalis Basin Flood Authority)
- J. Vander Stoep (private attorney and Pe Ell Alternate Chehalis Basin Flood Authority)
The Center will continue to facilitate the work group, manage the technical analysis and organize technical, policy and public workshops.
For more information contact Project Manager Jim Kramer.
Visit the News/Media page for media coverage of this project.
Documents and Resources
Read the January 2014 Chehalis Basin Strategy (2 MB PDF)
View the November 13 policy workshop slide deck (12 MB PDF)
Read the Chehalis Basin Strategy Overview for 2013-2015 (437 KB PDF)
Read the Chehalis River Basin Flood Damage Reduction 2013-2015 Capital Budget, approved by the Legislature in June 2013
Read the work group's brief on the capital budget proposal (279 KB PDF)
Read the Alternatives Report (11.5 MB PDF)
Read the Executive Summary of the Alternatives Report (2 MB PDF)
Read the Comments on the Draft Report as of 9-25-12 (1.6 MB PDF)
WSDOT Report: I-5 Protection Flood Report (7 MB PDF)