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Natural Resources and Parks

King County, Washington

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Jan. 22, 2009

King County checking for more flood damage as emergency levee repair work is completed

Levee inspections under way as flood-recovery work continues

Just two weeks after historic flooding caused widespread damage along many western Washington rivers, King County work crews have completed all of the necessary emergency repairs to levees, and have now begun to take a closer look at how those flood-prevention structures fared.

King County Flood Control District Executive Committee Chair Reagan Dunn commended the crews for their hard work.

“They have been working around the clock to ensure our levees are ready for the next flood event,” Dunn said. “These repairs are necessary to protect people, homes and commerce.”

“With this emergency work completed, the most immediate threats to people and property are behind us,” added King County Executive Ron Sims. “Now the task shifts to identifying and prioritizing which additional repair projects must be made immediately, and which projects can wait.”

Today, King County staff have begun thorough inspections of other levees along the county’s major rivers. They are looking for additional damage that could have been hidden by lingering high stream flows during earlier inspections.

Emergency repairs that have been completed include work on two damaged levees on the Tolt River near Carnation, one damaged levee on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River, and one damaged revetment along the Cedar River.

During the height of the flooding, the Tolt River recorded its highest flows ever, while the Snoqualmie and Cedar rivers experienced their highest flows in nearly two decades.

Emergency repairs ranged from rebuilding a breached Tolt River levee that flooded homes, to shoring up a riverbank along the Cedar River, where floodwaters had eroded the banks to within just a few inches of a regional trail and major fiber optic phone cables.

Near the top of that lengthy inspection list is a check of the nearly 30 sites where repairs were made last year to fix damage incurred during floods in 2006.

The repair work, which was scattered along dozens of miles of levees within several watersheds, was funded primarily through federal funds and funds from the Flood Control District – the countywide special purpose government that was established in 2007 to address chronically underfunded levee maintenance and rebuilding needs and to bring a comprehensive approach to flood management in the region.

Information about King County’s flood management activities is available online.

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The King County Flood Control District is a special purpose government created to provide funding and policy oversight for flood protection projects and programs in King County. The Flood Control District’s Board is composed of the members of the King County Council. The Water and Land Resources Division of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks develops and implements the approved flood protection projects and programs.