Pierce County releases final environmental impact statement for proposed flood plan

The final Environmental Impact Statement for Pierce County’s proposed Rivers Flood Hazard Management Plan was released this week. The statement evaluates the potential environmental impacts of the plan, as well as two alternative approaches.

The flood plan will guide the management of flooding and channel migration hazards on major rivers, large tributaries and associated floodplains over the next 20 years. It is a comprehensive approach to reducing damages from major river flooding and channel migration, protecting public safety and improving fish habitat.

“The Final Environmental Impact Statement outlines the impacts and benefits of the plan and its alternatives on the earth, water, plants and animals, natural resources, land and shoreline use, transportation, and public service and utilities, among others,” said Harold Smelt, manager of the Pierce County Public Works and Utilities Surface Water Management division.

The final version incorporates comments and new information the county received from the public and stakeholders during the review process.

The proposed Flood Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement will be brought before the Pierce County Council’s Economic Infrastructure and Development Committee at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 25. Committee meetings are televised on Pierce County TV, which can be found at piercecountytv.org.

A hearing before the full County Council will be scheduled based on a recommendation from the committee.

In 1992, Pierce County adopted the Puyallup River Comprehensive Flood Control Management Plan for the Puyallup, Carbon and White rivers. The proposed Flood Plan will replace the 1992 plan and expand its scope to include the Nisqually, Greenwater, and Mashel rivers and South Prairie Creek.

In December 2009, a committee was formed to advise Pierce County on technical and policy issues related to the proposed Flood Plan. The committee included 26 representatives from federal, state, local and tribal government, business, agricultural, and environmental organizations, flood prone communities, and other interested parties. In addition, 14 public meetings were held between March 2010 and February 2012.

Scientific studies were completed to provide a better understanding of Pierce County river systems. In addition, an in-depth analysis of the potential economic impacts of major flooding in Pierce County was completed.

To download a copy of the final Environmental Impact Statement and proposed Flood Plan, click here.