“Floodwater retention structure” could be added to dam Chehalis River near Pe Ell

The environmental review has started for the Chehalis River project, and public comments are open.

Meetings in Montesano and Centralia are part of the environmental assessment process for a proposal that would build a new “floodwater retention structure” on the Chehalis River near Pe Ell.

The project is part of the Chehalis Basin Strategy.

They say in a release that since the proposal is “likely to adversely affect the environment”, the Washington Department of Ecology and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are asking for public comment to help define what should be studied in the environmental review.

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have determined the proposal could have “significant adverse environmental impacts”.

In addition, there is also a proposal to raise the current levee at the Chehalis-Centralia Airport, “including elevating part of Airport Road and making other improvements”.

Under the proposal, the Chehalis River would flow normally through the structure except during major floods, when the facility could be operated to hold up to 65,000 acre feet of floodwaters in a temporary reservoir.

The water would be released back to the river “as soon as it was safe to do so”.

Tyson Johnston, Vice-President of the Quinault Indian Nation issued a statement saying;

The Quinault Nation appreciates the opportunity to raise questions and concerns about whether a dam is the right choice for the people, communities, fish and wildlife of the Chehalis River Basin”.

Full QIN Statement

 

The agencies are leading separate environmental reviews, but they say that they are holding a joint scoping period to make it easier for the public to submit comments.

A project website has been launched with information about the process, public meetings, how to submit comments, and other information.

In mid-October, USACE and Ecology will conduct two open house-style public meetings to gather comments:

  •         Montesano: Oct. 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Montesano City Hall, 112 N. Main St.
  •         Centralia: Oct. 17, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Centralia College, Bowman Rotary Banquet Rooms, 600 Centralia College Boulevard.

Both agencies will accept public comments through Oct. 29.

 

Comments can be submitted through the project website or mailed to:

Chehalis River Basin Flood Damage Reduction Project EIS
Anchor QEA
720 Olive Way, Suite 1900
Seattle, WA 98101

 

 

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