OLYMPIA – Floods cause more damage than any other natural disasters in Washington. The Department of Ecology has awarded nearly $11 million in grants to recipients across the state to help prevent damage in flood-prone communities.


Grants reach from Silverdale on Kitsap Peninsula east to Yakima County and north from Deming to Skamokawa near the Columbia River and points in between. Projects will reduce flood hazards to people, property, critical facilities and transportation corridors while helping to restore habitat and water quality for fish and wildlife. In all, 13 projects are funded through the competitive flood management grant process.


For instance, in Whatcom County some $1.4 million in state funding will be used to complete construction of a new 800-foot-long levee setback from the Nooksack River to protect the town of Deming, school buildings and sewage lagoon from floodwaters. The levee will replace an earthen berm that frequently overtops from floodwaters.


The city of Auburn will leverage $532,000 in state funding in a $5 million project to improve flood protection along Mill Creek. The project will focus on improving floodplain connectivity to respond to high-flow events and create conditions to restore riparian cover to reduce water temperatures and improve water quality for fish rearing.


In Yakima County, $1.39 million will be used to relocate an existing auto wrecking yard and purchase floodway properties in a flood-prone area along the Naches River known as the Rambler’s Park levee setback project. Improvements, including reducing the size of an existing levee, will increase the floodplain by 9 acres and create channels to improve floodplain functions. Yakima County is also receiving another $1 million for other levee work along the Naches and Yakima rivers.


Using a grant of $1.3 million, the city of Ellensburg will reduce the magnitude and frequency of flood damage to structures in west Ellensburg along the Yakima River with the restoration of floodplain functions to Currier and Reecer creeks. At the same time, new instream spawning and rearing habitat for fish will be created and riparian and floodplain areas will be planted with native vegetation. That work will protect 100 homes and businesses.


Other grant recipients include:

Kitsap County – $2 million for floodplain restoration on Clear Creek in Silverdale

Chelan County – $780,616 for improvements to Nason Creek

Pierce County – $525,000 to acquire property in floodplain for improvement on Ball Creek, Puyallup River

Tulalip Tribe – $464,044 for the Qwuloolt floodplain restoration project along Ebey Slough

City of Yakima – $200,000 for work increasing flood conveyance under two bridges crossing Wide Hollow Creek

Wahkiakum County – $50,000 to dike and address flood hazards at Skamokawa