News from Metro-King County Council
by Louise Miller, District 3 Councilmember
I would like to notify you of the county's efforts to address the flood damage from this past winter. Several constituents have contacted my office earlier this year expressing their concerns, so I want to make sure everyone is kept informed.
While there are many people in our area who were adversely impacted by winter flooding, the Division of Surface Water Management is under tremendous strain right now to repair existing flood control facilities (levees, for example) that protect public roads, bridges, and entire neighborhoods.
Damages to flood control facilities totaled over $11 million this past winter. In contrast, the county's annual budget for repairing flood control facilities is about $600,000.
Given the magnitude of repair needs to existing facilities, the county is not financially equipped to build any new flood control projects designed to project individual parcels from flooding and erosion. Surface Water Management can, however, assist local residents with information on how to apply for disaster assistance, financing options for home elevation, and information on permits for repairing flood damage.
In addition, the Department of Development and Environmental Service, the county's permitting agency, is looking at options for amending county regulations in order to make it easier for farmers to maintain drainage ditches and clean up flood debris from their property.
Of particular interest to many citizens in my district is the flooding problem on the Snoqualmie and Tolt Rivers in the Lower Snoqualmie Valley. Many homes were impacted this past winter as the rivers crested and spread across the Valley, and some residents feel that dredging or removing specific sandbars would help to keep flood waters at bay.
My office has been working in partnership with elected officials, citizens, and staff from Snoqualmie Valley Cities and King County Surface Water Management to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of such efforts.
Several public meetings have been held to identify areas where gravel removal is likely to reduce flood hazards, consider impacts that gravel removal could have on neighboring properties, and identify strategies for coordinating the permit process. There are still other issues to consider, such as whether or not there is a market for private gravel companies to haul the excess gravel and use it for their business.
The next meeting is scheduled for July 31, 5 p.m. at Carnation Library. For more information, call 296-1003 or Megan Smith at 296-8374.