Community Floodplain Solutions (CFS)
Residents who live along our county’s scenic rivers enjoy beauty and a unique quality of life. Yet for many, the reality of living in a dynamic floodplain means a life of uncertainty. For more than a century, farmers, property owners, government agencies and partners tried to lessen the impacts of river flooding by building dikes, dredging channels and armoring river banks.
While these actions allowed many farms to grow and housing and business interests to prosper, such actions could adversely affect others by pushing flood waters up or down stream. River management practices of the past also took a heavy toll on natural and cultural resources like the endangered Chinook salmon. Climate conditions, contributing to increased risks from flooding and erosion, continue to damage the viability of agricultural operations and local food production is in need of support.
Despite spending millions of dollars on habitat restoration projects in recent years, the legacy impacts of flood control actions are still harming our salmon recovery efforts. The demand for housing continues to push developments closer to river communities and flood events continue to increase in frequency and severity.
These combined changes further threaten the loss of sustainable fish habitat and agricultural land. While fish and farming interests may have felt at odds in the past, together they face similar threats to their heritage and livelihood. With so many shared difficulties, a better approach to river management is needed.
A New Approach
Reach-scale plans were developed to document baseline conditions and identify actions to advance farm, fish and flood interests in four priority river reaches. Building upon the recommendations of the Lower Skykomish Reach Scale Plan, the county and partners are piloting a new approach for integrated floodplain management along the Lower Skykomish River.
Working with Lower Skykomish River landowners, Snohomish County Surface Water Management (SWM) and Sustainable Lands Strategy partners have developed an innovative new program called Community Floodplain Solutions (CFS). The goal of CFS is to keep local farms viable, reduce flood impacts for residents, and restore habitat for threatened salmon. To learn more about specific actions in Sky Valley, visit the CFS - Sky Valley project web page.
Partners in Action
Community Floodplain Solutions proactively engages our funders and partners to deliver mutually beneficial solutions that leverage resources and reduce costs for all. We have many to thank!
- Floodplains by Design (public private partnership between TNC, PSP, and Ecology)
- Snohomish Conservation District
- Tulalip Tribes
- Washington Farmland Trust
- Lower Skykomish River landowners
- And many other Sustainable Lands Strategy partners