Letters to the Editor

Much Chehalis flood work still remains to be done

As spring approaches, Western Washington landowners can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Once again, due to changing climate patterns, rivers like the Chehalis and her tributaries have for the most part remained within their banks. Elected representatives from throughout the Chehalis River basin have worked for several years to develop a flood damage reduction strategy. These efforts have led to many suggested projects throughout the basin.

We at Wild Game Fish Conservation International (WGFCI) have consistently worked with these folks to identify and prioritize cost effective projects that would protect human lives and property from future flood damage while also protecting and restoring the basin’s irreplaceable fish and wildlife habitat. Chehalis River basin flood damage reduction projects supported by WGFCI include effective regulation of logging practices to minimize flash flooding while protecting water quality; floodplain management to minimize property damage while restoring aquifer function; river function restoration while removing barriers to spawning and rearing salmon habitat; and slowing and cooling the river with riparian zone planting.

These WGFCI-supported, basin-wide projects must be completed in order to minimize flood-related damage throughout the Chehalis River basin. Seasonal flooding throughout this basin will return – likely sooner than later and more damaging than previously, given land management practices throughout the Chehalis River basin.

James Wilcox