TVW Update

“The Impact”: Dam or Not – Chehalis Basin Strategy

Photo courtesy: WSDOT

In a two-part series on the flood-prone Chehalis River Basin we highlight the debate over a proposed water retention facility and the stakes for 140k residents and declining salmon and steelhead runs.

In part one we hear from two members of the Chehalis Basin Board who are part of the Local Action Non-Dam steering committee. The LAND committee will be exploring localized flood protection options for property owners across the river basin.  From its headwaters in the inland hills to the river mouth where it meets the Pacific, the Chehalis River winds across three counties in southwest Washington.  The Chehalis Basin Strategy is the formal name for an effort to develop a long term plan to address both salmon losses and catastrophic flooding in the state’s second largest river basin. That strategy is still being developed by the Chehalis Basin Board, which includes representatives from local and tribal governments across the river basin. The work is overseen by the Office of Chehalis Basin within the Department of Ecology.

Part one features three interviews. The first is with the Andrea McNamara Doyle, Director of the Office of Chehalis Basin.  There is also a panel interview with two of the seven voting members on the Chehalis Basin Board: Steve Malloch, an environmental consultant who was appointed to board by Governor Jay Inslee; and Tyson Johnston, former Vice-President of the Quinault Indian Nation.

In part two we take a more detailed look at the worst flood on record for the Chehalis River from December 2007 and the proposed water retention facility sited in the Chehalis headwaters near Pe Ell.

Part two features interviews with another governor appointee to the Chehalis Basin Board, J. Vander Stoep, an attorney and Director of Chehalis School District #5  as well as Grays Harbor County Commissioner Vickie Raines who chairs both the Chehalis Basin Board and the Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority.

Watch part one and part two here:

Part one

Part two

TVW produced a documentary about the long term strategies for flood mitigation and aquatic habitat improvements in the Chehalis River Basin in 2017.

Watch “High Water: Ten Years Later” here:


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