New capitol budget keeps local flood funding, buys land for other mitigation

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – Lawmakers approved a $3.6 billion capital budget Saturday that includes money for water management, schools, prisons and one of the largest land purchases in state history.

The Senate and House of Representatives approved the $28.2 million package recommended by the governor’s workgroup composed of representatives from the Chehalis Tribe, Thurston, Lewis and Grays Harbor counties.  The proposal was also endorsed by all Chehalis Basin Flood Authority members.

The funding will allow the Chehalis Basin Flood Authority to continue. It will also go towards engineering and design of a water retention facility in the upper Chehalis River, fishery enhancement and local flood projects for communities across the basin from Pe Ell to Aberdeen.

Cosmopolis Mayor Vickie Raines said last year that 2.2-million will fund a solution to the Mill Creek Dam, which breached in 2008. Also in the budget is 2.6 million to fund a flood levee on the Wishkah Road, 2-million for riverbank protection at Mary’s River Lumber in Montesano, and half-a-million each for the Satsop river floodplain, and Elma-Porter mitigation project. Aberdeen will split a million for dikes on the Wishkah river near Zelasko park, and Market street

The land purchase is for about 50,000 acres in upper Kittitas County to help manage water in the Yakima River Basin. That is a plan that stakeholders have been consider for years and is eventually projected to cost up to $5 billion in the coming decades. The land is valued at about $100 million. Republican Rep. Judy says it is at the headwaters of the Yakima River Basin and was the perfect opportunity to begin working on water issues in the region.