The Chehalis Basin Strategy was launched shortly after the devastating floods of 2007 and 2009 as a long-term plan designed to both restore aquatic species habitats and reduce flood damage for Basin communities.
Unfortunately, we had more floods since then, including a major flood this year.
The Washington State legislature created the Office of Chehalis Basin and Chehalis Basin Board in 2016. The Office of Chehalis Basin operates within the Washington State Department of Ecology and works with the board to oversee the development and implementation of the Chehalis Basin Strategy.
The Chehalis Basin Board remains committed to collaborating and securing public input from everyone living in the Basin, and to exploring actions that could accomplish the desired large-scale flood damage reduction and aquatic species habitat restoration outcomes at the least environmental cost.
OFFICE OF CHEHALIS BASIN BOARD MEMBERS
Vickie Raines, Chair
Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority
Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority
Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority
Quinault Indian Nation
Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation
Glen Connelly (Alternate Member)
Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation
J. Vander Stoep
Office of the Governor
Office of the Governor
Ex Officio Members
Department of Fish and Wildlife
Department of Natural Resources
Department of Transportation
Washington State Conservation Commission
Department of Ecology
In January 2021, Governor Jay Inslee and the Office of Chehalis Basin directed formation of Local Action Non-Dam (LAND) Alternatives for Flood Damage Reduction.
The Office of Chehalis Basin (OCB) had initially convened two advisory groups (a technical advisory group and an implementation/policy advisory group) that worked from September 2020 to March 2021 to develop the Local Actions Program, a suite of basin-wide flood damage reduction options to achieve outcomes set by the Board. This served as the predecessor to the current LAND Alternatives planning efforts. Based on assessments of the two advisory groups, the Chehalis Basin Board approved funding to develop LAND Alternatives in its 2021-2023 budget allocation.
The Board created the LAND Steering Group (SG) to guide the development of, and provide consensus recommendations to, the Board for identifying the best and most feasible alternatives for meeting the Board’s targeted measurable outcomes—without the proposed dam/airport levee project. To be successful, LAND alternatives must show that a comparable amount of flood damage reduction can be achieved without a dam on the Chehalis River.
The SG began monthly meetings in November 2021. Talking directly with area residents, the local business community, tribal governments, technical experts and the area’s city and county planners, SG will explore a range of potential projects and programs that include both structural and non-structural interventions and actions: smaller-scale infrastructure, floodproofing structures, incentives and other mitigation efforts that can help reduce flood damage to the Basin’s people, property and natural resources.
These actions are being considered as potential dam substitutes, but could also supplement protection in the Basin, even if a dam does move forward. In the coming months, this work will lead to a comprehensive roadmap to reduce flood damage with or without a dam. Our goal is to reach community consensus and bring final LAND Alternatives recommendations to the Board by fall 2022.
The LAND Steering Group will:
- Confer with technical experts from state agencies, tribes, local governments, OCB technical consultants and others with specialized expertise
- Provide guidance on how to engage and incentivize affected communities
- Set parameters for which structures should be considered for voluntary floodproofing, elevating and relocating
- Prioritize when and where new or enhanced infrastructure should be considered
- Review draft alternative suites of actions provided by the third-party consultant team and provide guidance on how to refine the suite of actions
- Evaluate results from engagement of communities and their interest in the suite of potential actions
- Recommend additional members for appointment to the Steering Group (SG), if needed to provide other community perspectives
Steering Group Members
These members represent more than a century of living in the Chehalis Basin and all hold vested interests in the safety of the basin and our communities.
- Todd Chaput (Co-chair, Executive Committee), Economic Alliance of Lewis County
- Glen Connelly (Co-chair, Executive Committee), Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation
- Norm Chapman (Executive Committee), City of Centralia Planning Commission
- Jessica Helsley, Wild Salmon Center
- Tyson Johnston, Quinault Indian Nation
- Steve Malloch (Executive Committee), Western Water Futures LLC
- Dan Maughan, Maughan Family Farm
- Brandon Parsons, American Rivers
- Brian Stewart, Conservation Northwest
The SG Community-Based Approach
The current phase of the LAND Alternatives project now involves meeting with the community and stakeholders to identify shared values, gather early project input about potential project visions and begin Basin-wide community engagement in an easy-to-use and interactive format.
With that input, the SG will then develop highly visual examples of innovative methods for flood damage reduction—including non-structural and other mitigation strategies—aligned with vision and goals, to use as inspiration and potential applicability for the Chehalis Basin. The Values Planning group, which convened in May, will likely be reconvened to review those alternatives.
The next phase involves technical analysis of the potential flood damage reduction alternatives that would comprise the LAND, which could include land and building acquisition, potential flood water storage needs and options, habitat, agriculture and mobility benefits and challenges, cultural values and sovereign rights, costs, state and local regulatory requirements and codes. Open houses and workshops, some virtual, will allow the entire Basin community to weigh in on all the potential alternatives.
The last phase will be finalizing the community-based and technically sound recommendations and implementation strategies that the LAND SG will provide to the Board.
The Chehalis Basin Board determined that the most effective course would be to bring in unaffiliated third-party experts, selected by the LAND SG.
Values Planning, Participatory Planning, Community Facilitation and Engagement, Visioning, Strategic Direction, Land Use Planning, Environmental Design and Landscape Architecture, Project Management
Rivers are the lifeblood of our communities. These special resources require a deep, holistic approach to planning, design, restoration and implementation. MIG is a multidisciplinary firm that specializes in integrated, communitybased environmental planning and design, with offices in Seattle and Portland. It was founded as a participatory public engagement and planning firm 40 years ago and has worked extensively at all scales, from small town main street activation strategies to regional planning and visioning to create resilient, place-based solutions.
The MIG team includes natural resource management and analysis experts, market and natural resource economists, green stormwater infrastructure and civil design engineers, modeling and hydrology specialists, land development professionals, and experts in federal, state and local legal requirements—in total, our team has worked on more than 50 rivers and watersheds plans.
The firm helps communities develop multibenefit solutions by simultaneously addressing flood management, water supply, habitat and species conservation, recreation planning and land use and economic development. Its innovative participatory planning tools engage a multitude of stakeholders, owners, jurisdictions, and agencies along rivers and watersheds, building community consensus and collaboration, and developing long-lasting solutions—that ensure accessibility and equity, reimagine and repurpose infrastructure, restore ecosystems and promote environmental stewardship by recognizing that the health of the natural and built world is mutually dependent.
- Daniel Iacofano, MIG Principal and CEO, Lead Facilitator
- Alex Dupey, MIG Project Manager
- Sou Garner, MIG Deputy Project Manager, Land Use Planning/Community Engagement
- José de Jesus Leal, Tribal Engagement
- Tom von Schrader, Green Stormwater Engineering
- Lolly Kunkler, Green Stormwater Engineering
- Zach Likins, Mapping and Visualizations
- Bill Estes, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture
- Dennis Meyer, Concept Design
- Kathrine Wall, Mapping and Spatial Analysis
Values Planning and Community Engagement
CollinsWoerman is recognized as a national leader in Values Planning, helping communities apply their shared values to navigate complex challenges in infrastructure and funding. The firm develops plans and policies to address the impact of seasonal flooding and sea level rise and those challenges related to agriculture, land use, social equity, and fish and wildlife habitat ecosystems. Solutions have ranged from structural elevations and relocations to infrastructure improvements in capital improvement plans and growth management policies. The award-winning sustainable architecture, planning and design firm has practice centers in Seattle and Spokane.
- Steve Moddemeyer
ECONorthwest specializes in economics, finance and planning, helping clients make thoughtful, equitable, data-driven decisions using tools and methods that meet the highest standards of best practices. At the core is applied microeconomics, which allows ECONorthwest to effectively communicate the benefits, costs and tradeoffs associated with any decision. It applies economic, policy, and equity analyses to flood management projects— primarily in Oregon and Washington—including projects evaluating floodplain restoration, dam construction, dam removal, willing seller programs and a variety of other local flood protection actions.
- Sarah Reich
- Laura Marshall
Community Attributes , Inc.
Community Attributes, Inc. (CAI), supports decision-making by linking community priorities with economic opportunities in the context of regional economic trends and available resources. CAI delivers rigorous studies, analyses and plans that help public officials and stakeholders improve the quality of life within their communities. It connects stakeholders, residents, the private sector and government through an enhanced awareness of regional economic trends, market opportunities and community desires.
- Michaela Jellicoe
- Elliott Weiss
Stowe Development & Strategies
Stowe Development & Strategies helps public-sector clients—state, county, city and tribal governments across the State of Washington—succeed with their economic and community development interests. The firm is one of the Northwest’s most innovative and entrepreneurial real estate and community developers, with experience in a wide variety of complex and multi-faceted projects including downtown revitalization plans, civic center plans and development, master plans, corridor plans, sub-area plans, public-private partnerships and transit-oriented developments.
- Bob Stowe
Geotechnical Engineering, Hydrology and Hydraulics, Habitat Biology and Permitting
GeoEngineers is passionate about using earth science and engineering expertise to find a balance between human needs and the earth’s physical systems. The firms overlays its expertise in geotechnical engineering, engineering geology, permitting and environmental mitigation, hydraulics and hydrology, and fisheries and wetland science to evaluate flood-related issues and develop sustainable alternatives. Project experience spans flood gates, diversion canals, control structures, levees, dams, culverts, pump stations and more. For geotechnical engineering, the firm provides a thorough analysis of site soil/rock and groundwater conditions and how these elements impact either proposed or existing infrastructure. The geotechnical engineering team has completed 1,500 projects across the Chehalis Basin. For hydrology and hydraulics, its river engineers and scientists specialize in hydrology, open-channel hydraulics, hydrogeology, geomorphology, sediment transport, scour and backwater analyses, endangered species consultation, ecology, fish passage, habitat enhancement, bank stabilization, value engineering, detailed design and construction support. Their river management and restoration addresses imbalances in river dynamics that land use and other basin-scale changes can induce. They have demonstrated success in fulfilling objectives that protect human interests while benefiting habitat. For habitat biology, the firm provides biological and wetlands assessments, riverine and terrestrial biology analysis, habitat planning, mitigation and restoration, and environmental permitting and regulatory support services.
- Dan Eggers
- Lisa Bona
- Shawn Mahugh
Northwest Hydraulic Consultants
River Engineering, Floodplain Modeling and Management, and Hydrology and Hydraulics
Northwest Hydraulic Consultants specializes in floodplain modeling and management, fluvial geomorphology, stream and river restoration, bank stabilization, sediment transport, bridge hydraulic services, fish passage culvert design, fisheries engineering, hydrology and climate change. The firm has conducted project work on nearly every major Western Washington river, including the Chehalis River and its tributaries.
- Todd Bennett
COWI North America
COWI is a leading structural engineering firm with more than 90 years of experience in both national and international bridge, marine and tunnel infrastructure projects. Its services encompass new bridge design, retrofit/rehabilitations, seismic and service life assessments and bridge widenings. On the West Coast, the firm has worked on ports and harbors, coastal engineering and waterfront development, locks and dams, and flood diversion and barrier projects.
- Matt Baughman
Stillwater Sciences specializes in science-based approaches to solving environmental issues, believing that sound science provides the best guidance for the actions taken by water and land managers. Stillwater’s particular focus is the influence of both local- and watershedscale factors on a river’s biological response and its human impacts, recognizing that physical, biological and social domains must all be addressed in any effort to achieve sustainable restoration.
- Derek Booth