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“The Impact:” Chehalis River flooding and Salmon restoration

Mike McClanahan profile by Mike McClanahan

“The Impact”:

A deputy reaches into a flooded patrol car from its roof.
Credit: Lewis County Sheriffs Office


In a region with catastrophic flooding and wild salmon struggling to survive there’s an ambitious plan to fix both problems from the I-5 corridor all the way to the coast.

The Washington Department of Ecology set up the Office of Chehalis Basin to respond to challenges in the Chehalis River basin, like the 2007 flood that shut down I-5 for days and caused millions of dollars in damage.

 “It’s thousands of Seahawks stadiums full of water literally,” said Andrea McNamara Doyle, Director, Office of Chehalis Basin, Dept. of Ecology. “Buildings were damaged. Homes were destroyed. Farms were disrupted. Livestock was drowned.”

The dual purpose state-local partnership  is tasked with finding a way to reduce devastating floods while also improving the habitat and the long term survival odds for wild salmon in the region.

 “Salmon have more challenges to get up stream at the right times throughout the year to spawn,” said Emelie McKain, Chehalis Basin Aquatic Species Restoration Plan Manager, WDFW.

For more detail on the issues at play in the Chehalis River basin region check out our 2017 documentary “High Water: Ten Years Later”.

Click here to watch “The Impact” – November, 27 2019

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