Got ideas for reducing flooding in the Chehalis Basin?

Ruckleshaus Report on Chehalis Basin Flooding Prevention AlternativesA draft report looking at possible causes and solutions to repeated flooding in the Chehalis River Basin is online for public review and comment by August 10.

The Chehalis Basin Flood Mitigation Alternatives Report — July 16, 2012, Draft, was prepared by the Ruckelshaus Center, a nonprofit set up by Washington State University and University of Washington to promote collaborative problem solving in Washington and the Pacific Northwest. The report uses technical information provided by several other organizations and agencies, including DNR.

The report focuses on 55,000 acres of timberlands in the Willapa Hills, the epicenter of large storms in 2007 that caused up to $500 million in damage in the Chehalis Basin and closed Interstate 5 for four days. Another flood in January 2009 also closed I-5 and produced near-record flooding along several area rivers.

Requested by the 2011 Washington State Legislature, the report summarizes the pluses, minuses, costs, and alternatives to reduce future flood damage in the basin through:

  • Water retention projects on the Chehalis River;
  • Levee improvements around the Chehalis-Centralia Airport;
  • Flood walls to protect Interstate 5 in the Chehalis / Centralia Area;
  • Improvement to the US Army Corps of Engineers levee system around Centralia and Chehalis; and
  • Other approaches, such as land use management, raising home elevations, buyouts, and livestock evacuation and sanctuary areas.

If you have ideas about which flood hazard mitigation projects should be considered and why, please send them to the Ruckelshaus Center by email to melissa.kuehne@wsu.edu or by mail to: Melissa Kuehne, Ruckelshaus Center, WSU West, 520 Pike Street, Suite 1101, Seattle, WA 98101 by Friday August 10, 2012.

Comments received by the August 10 deadline will be taken into account as the report is finalized and included in an appendix to the final report so they become part of the record of the process. The final report is scheduled for release in September.