CHEHALIS BASIN SOLUTION MOVES FORWARD

Photo: courtesy Chehalis Basin Strategy CHEHALIS – There is evidence of it primarily during the winter months of the year. Heavy and constant rainfall and rising stream and river levels. The Chehalis River from its headwaters to Grays Harbor has been problematic for years. Now, the State Office of Chehalis Basin, its board of directors and stakeholders along the river want to remedy the impacts of floodwaters. The Basin Board met late last week to move a Chehalis River flood retention facility project along, answer the public’s questions and detail ways to adequately deal with environmental and fish habitat concerns. Basin Board Vice Chair is Former Lewis County Commissioner Edna Fund says, “We’re doing it scientifically, with experts reviewing other options such as moving people out of the floodplain, doing anything with Interstate 5, what can we do regarding the Spring Chinook.” “With all these studies coming together we can show all of the options available to us,” she added. The flood retention facility would be built on the river near PeEll, and one of the most difficult tasks of the Chehalis Basin Board, Lewis County Flood Control Zone District and Lewis County has been public relations on the project. Fund says, “It would only be used in the event of a flood, this is not your ordinary dam, this is a flood retention facility only used periodically.” The Chehalis Basin Board plans to hand Governor Inslee a thorough report, including mitigation plans, by next month. Lewis County and counties and municipalities in the Chehalis River basin have passed resolutions in support of the project. Fund mentions that the federal Army Corp of Engineers has said that of 61 options the flood retention facility is the best. The Corp is in the process of finishing an Environmental Impact Study on the proposed project. Fund says the State Department of Transportation has given support for a flood retention structure as have labor unions. Native tribes are most concerned for the impacts on fish runs. The Chehalis Basin Board hosts an on-line, virtual meeting Wednesday night at 6:00p.m., to continue to answer public questions. You can join the meeting online at www.chehalisbasinstrategy.com

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