Crucial flood policy workshop conducted this week

A critical workshop regarding strategies to mitigate flooding in the Chehalis River Basin will take place this Thursday and Friday at the Great Wolf Lodge.

The two-day workshop is sponsored by the Ruckelshaus Center, a nonprofit organization working to compile information about flooding.

In 2011, the state Legislature gave the Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority $1.32 million and required the agency to submit a report that identifies and recommends flood mitigation projects within the river basin.

The Ruckelshaus Center, which was hired by the Office of Financial Management, began work last December.

The purpose of the workshop is to identify policy issues and engage representatives from participating governments, including the Flood Authority, in a discussion of flood mitigation projects. Topics include land use management and recommendations as well as a cost-benefit analysis.

“With this being due Aug. 31, we’re pretty much on a fast track,” Centralia City Councilor Edna Fund, who sits on the Flood Authority, said.

Fund encouraged the public to attend.

“These are probably the two most important days for the Flood Authority as this study by the Ruckelshaus Center is being completed,” she said. “There are a lot of subjects that are pretty weighty and could make a big difference within our river basin.”

Fund said it’s an accomplishment for the Flood Authority to have come this far.

“If somebody said a year ago that we were going to get to this major milestone now, I wouldn’t have believed it,” she said. “Yet here we are.”

The conclusions from the workshop will be included in the report to the Legislature. Originally the report was due in July, but the deadline was extended one month by the governor’s office and is now due Aug. 31.

A draft report will be available for comment in July.

Chehalis River Basin Policy Workshop Agenda

Thursday, June 14, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

• Background on storms and floods and changes in the basin

• Recent accomplishments to address flooding

• Summary of alternative projects - questions and answers

• Benefit cost analysis by University of Washington Benefit Cost Center

• Identification of project scenarios that appear to maximize benefits

• Initial policy-level discussion of project scenarios

Friday, June 15, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

• Continued policy-level discussion of project scenarios

• Land use management and recommendations in Chehalis Basin Comprehensive Flood Mitigation Plan

• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Twin Cities Project closeout report and options for next steps

• Next Steps for Alternative Projects and Ruckelshaus Center Report