A meeting this morning in Montesano was to provide overview of the two-year Chehalis Basin Strategy work plan, as an advisory board under state Department of Ecology convened in a special session.

Widespread river flooding in December 2007 caused severe water damage to many Lewis County business and residential properties, as well as stopping traffic on the Interstate 5 freeway for several days.

State legislators tasked the Chehalis Basin Board with developing a long-term plan to reduce flood damages, restore aquatic species habitat and develop budget recommendations to the governor for future funding considerations.

The new DOE office to staff the work was established July 1, 2017, however, without passage of a State Capital Budget, Ecology has no funding to hire a director and other supporting staff.

In the meantime, Chair Vickie Raines says the Board would meet to hear options to meet the legislature’s charge, consider a flood retention facility and possible levee improvements at Chehalis-Centralia Airport, and possible future action plans.

DOE released its final environmental review of the Chehalis Basin Strategy in early June, which evaluated four potential alternative combinations of actions. You can read more background on the program at this link.