Show community support during upcoming Chehalis Basin Strategy public meetings

Show community support during upcoming Chehalis Basin Strategy public meetings

Conservation Northwest / Feb 11, 2021 / Cascades to Olympics, Connecting Habitat

We encourage people living and working in the Chehalis Basin to attend virtual public meetings on February 17th and March 9th regarding flooding and habitat restoration.

The Chehalis Basin is a critical landscape for wildlife moving between the Cascades Range and the Olympic Peninsula, as well as home to a thriving, resilient community of people who live and work in the Basin. Mild flooding has always been a function of this ecosystem, however catastrophic floods in recent years have devastated the local community, and with climate change expected to increase such flooding events, residents of the Basin are working with tribes, state agencies, and other stakeholders towards a solution.

The Chehalis River. Photo: Shane Anderson, Pacific Rivers

The Chehalis Basin Strategy was created to address flooding and the decline of salmon and other aquatic species in this area. Through our Cascades to Olympics program, we’ve been heavily engaged in the Chehalis Basin Strategy to advocate for solutions that benefit both the wildlife and habitat in the basin, as well as the long-term prosperity of people living in this landscape.

We’ve supported the Strategy’s Aquatic Species Restoration Plan, including submitting organizational comments, and more recently with the Chehalis River Alliance, we’ve been pushing for habitat restoration, growth management, and improvements to land-use patterns as a holistic solution to flood risks in the Basin.

The Office of the Chehalis Basin is soliciting input from local residents on these issues during two virtual public meetings on February 17th and March 9th from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

The feedback gathered during these meetings will influence the Chehalis Basin Board’s recommendation for actions to be implemented in the long-term Chehalis Basin Strategy, which it will present to the governor, state legislature, and Congress by the end of March.

We encourage folks who live, work in, and care about the Chehalis Basin to attend, and have provided some basic talking points below to reflect our values for community resilience and wildlife restoration in this vital landscape.

Register to attend these meetings via Zoom today!

The February 17th meeting will cover key flooding and habitat actions currently in development by the Office of the Chehalis Basin, as well as provide an opportunity for Q&A. The March 9th meeting will consist of a community conversation reviewing the Chehalis Basin Board’s draft recommendations before they’re shared more broadly.

During the first meeting, we encourage attendees to show their overall support for the Chehalis Basin Strategy and advocate for a Local Actions Alternative, including using the talking points below:

  • The Local Actions Alternative seeks to reduce damage and prevent harm to property and people, and has the potential to offer a holistic, basin-wide solution to flooding and species degradation in the Chehalis Basin.

  • The Local Actions Alternative should be given the same amount of funding and consideration as a flood retention facility (dam) so it is more comparable to other proposals, and more thoroughly developed to offer tangible, effective outcomes.

  • Out of all the proposed actions in the Chehalis Basin Strategy, the Local Actions Alternative is the strongest pathway toward building long-term, basin-wide flood resiliency, and its benefits would be spread out fairly among Basin residents.

  • Communities nationwide and globally are adopting solutions similar to the Local Actions Alternative to adapt to increasing flood events, including restoring floodplains, protecting wildlife and fish, restoring and securing habitat, protecting people, and saving property.

  • The Local Actions Alternative can be the catalyst for two other effective programs proposed through the Chehalis Basin Strategy, the Community Flood Assistance and Resilience program and the Aquatic Species Restoration Plan.

  • The Local Actions Alternative may offer a framework for equitable managed retreat and responsible flood-wise development, two essential components of a resilient, sustainable future in the Chehalis Basin.

We’ll provide additional talking points for the second public meeting on March 9th that are more targeted towards specific aspects of Chehalis Basin Strategy proposals. Your input will be critical to the proposed actions the Chehalis Basin Board makes in its official recommendation. Make your voice heard and register for these public meetings today!

The Chehalis River near Pel Ell, Washington. Photo: WA Department of Ecology