Heavy rains pounded most areas of Western Washington during the days before Thanksgiving, resulting in flood warnings on a number of rivers. These high flows offered a real test of some of the new projects supported by FbD – particularly on the Puyallup River in Orting. The new, setback Calistoga levee passed with flying colors. For more information, check out this story from KOMO News.
During a similar heavy rain in January 2009, the Puyallup River flooded and forced one of the largest urban evacuations (26,000 people) in state history. By reconnecting side channels, moving 1.5 miles of the levee back to give the river more room, and installing log jams that effectively slow the river down, the Calistoga Reach Floodplains by Design project has helped dramatically reduce the flood risk for this community.
Orting Valley Fire and Rescue was quick to praise the City of Orting and Pierce County, posting on Facebook:
All that hard work paid off! Thanks to our government partners! There was NO flooding in the City of Orting and only minor flooding on Neadham Rd. Great job!
Pierce County’s acquisition and restoration along this whole stretch of river (prior to FbD funding) likely also contributed to the success and the limited flooding problems in 2014, and is a strong illustration of the need for the reach-based approach to floodplain management that the FbD partnership pursues and supports.