2016 Flood Control District Budget Focuses on Protection, Prevention and Maintenance
A 2016 budget that continues protecting property and lives from flooding while working to prevent future floods was unanimously approved today by the King County Flood Control District Board of Supervisors.
Three areas are the primary focus of the $55 million budget: addressing deficiencies on levee corridors along the Green and Cedar Rivers, continuing with projects designed to prevent future floods, and working to minimize the impact of urban flooding when it occurs. Two-thirds of the adopted budget will be focused on construction and improvements of the regional flood protection system.
This budget will provide funds for projects that include repairing 4,450 feet of levees in Kent, Tukwila and Renton along the Green River, sediment removal along the Cedar River to help protect the industries along the waterway, and repairing a portion of the Winkelman Revetment along the Tolt River in northeast King County which has eroded and is slumping.
The budget also includes funding for the Willowmoor Floodplain Restoration project to reconfigure the Sammamish River Transition Zone (TZ) and adjacent undeveloped King County property. Increased vegetation within the zone has raised concerns about high lake levels impacting properties surrounding the lake. The restoration project is focused on reducing the frequency and duration of high lake levels caused by the Sammamish River while continuing to protect habitat vital for recovery of salmon species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Urban flooding has become a growing issue and the Flood District will be working with cities to provide the funding needed to reduce the impact of flooding that occurs during heavy storms. Funds have been allocated to increase capacity and reduce frequency of clogging of storm drains and add capacity to the drainage system in Seattle’s Licton Springs neighborhood and to improve drainage in South Park area of south Seattle to address sewage backups in the community during periods of extended or heavy rain. Culvert replacement in Kenmore and increasing the size of culverts in Shoreline will also help reduce the impact of flooding in these urban communities.
Maintenance and protection of habitat is also addressed in the 2016 Budget, with watershed grants that will be used as part of the Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) funds that are designed to aid in the efforts of salmon recovery in Puget Sound.
Conservation Land Purchase to Enhance Access at Popular Mailbox Peak Trailhead
The purchase of 82 acres of timberland neighboring the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River will ensure more room to roam in the popular Mailbox Peak trailhead area.
The land, which had been owned and harvested by local timber companies for more than 100 years, was headed toward development. Now, it will be added to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resource Conservation Area (NRCA) owned by the state of Washington and managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The Trust for Public Land negotiated and managed the purchase, which was funded with help from King County, as well as DNR. King County will hold a conservation easement on the property that ensures the land will be retained forever in a natural, open space and scenic condition.
It’s a sentiment shared by others.
DNR, King County, Greenway Trust and The Trust for Public Land are exploring options for the property, possibly by restoring roads and access points remaining from timber harvesting as the basis for establishing ADA-friendly trails. This purchase also enables DNR to provide better access and amenities for those coming to hike Mailbox Peak.
Metro Improving ADA Announcements to Better Serve Riders With Disabilities
Riders are now hearing more comprehensive on-board bus stop announcements on 20 King County Metro Transit bus routes, with more planned in coming months as the agency ensures that interior and exterior ADA announcements are consistently made to better serve riders with disabilities.
The improved on-board stop, route and destination announcements benefit all riders and will meet or exceed Federal Transit Administration requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. An on-site FTA audit in 2014 found that a significant number of stops and routes were not being announced, but should have been to meet the minimum requirements.
On Nov. 7, Metro completed a first round of increasing interior audio announcements to 100 percent on 20 routes: Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 15, 21, 40, 48, 50, 71, 101, 166, 215, 221, 242, 271 & the RapidRide D Line. About every four weeks for the next several months, audio announcements of all stops will be added to additional routes until all routes are addressed.
Metro’s revised announcement policy applies to all fixed routes. In most cases, announcements will be made by the on-board system. Metro operates 238 routes, 211 of which use equipment that speaks and displays automated stop announcements to customers. Bus drivers will announce all stops if the automated system is not functioning, or on buses without an automated system.
Improved and consistent exterior route and destination announcements also are planned at all bus stops that are served by two or more bus routes starting in February 2016. An advisory panel representing a cross section of riders – including riders who are blind or who have visual or cognitive challenges – is reviewing Metro’s interior and exterior route and destination announcements to help Metro develop new volume standards.
County Council Takes First Action in Response to Homeless Emergency
Expressing support for tripling the number of beds available in the winter shelter operated by King County is an immediate step in responding to the Local Proclamation of Emergency on homelessness. The Metropolitan King County Council today gave its unanimous support to expanding the winter shelter to accommodate up to 150 beds a night.
In response to the death of 66 people who were living on the streets, and with winter approaching, County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared emergencies and outlined new investments to respond to the growing crisis of people experiencing homelessness in King County and Seattle.
For over two decades, King County has operated a winter shelter, currently located in the King County Administration Building in downtown Seattle, providing space for 50 beds. In early 2015, a funding partnership with the city of Seattle allowed the county to double the capacity of the shelter for the remainder of winter 2014-2015.
Today’s motion, which is dependent on the availability of funding to support expanded shelter capacity, expresses the Council’s support to find the space needed at a county-owned facility or facilities to accommodate the increased capacity. It also encourages the City of Seattle to continue its financial partnership with King County to support the increased capacity.
Regional water supply conditions improve
Recent rains have improved our region’s water supply. Now cautiously optimistic about water supply conditions, Everett, Seattle and Tacoma are moving to the lowest stage of their Water Shortage Response Plans, the advisory stage.
Conditions no longer warrant being in the “voluntary” stage, in which customers were asked to reduce water use by 10 percent. The advisory stage means that a potential water supply problem may exist. This is still the case due to an ongoing strong El Nino that is expected to bring warm weather through the spring. While in the advisory stage, the cities ask customers to use water wisely by not wasting it.
The three cities thank their customers for helping the region stretch its water supplies to meet the needs of people and fish in this unprecedented year.
“As we move from the voluntary to advisory stage of our drought response plan, I want to acknowledge and thank the customers of Everett’s water system for meeting and exceeding the 10 percent reduction goal,” said Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson.
“We live in a region where our customers truly understand and value drinking water as a precious resource,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “When we asked them to partner with us by reducing their water use, they stepped up and responded. I want to personally thank the residents and businesses of Seattle for doing their part.”
“Our improved condition today is due to the efforts of our customers to cut back, our staff’s response to the drought, the cooperation of our partners and the coordination with natural resource agencies,” said Bryan Flint, chair of Tacoma’s Public Utility Board. “Thank you for your dedication to the resource we have in the Green River.”
Everett: The Sultan River watershed received more than 13 inches of rain in the last two weeks. This brings precipitation in the Sultan watershed to almost 80 percent of normal for this time of year. The storage level in Spada reservoir increased by 25 feet recently and is now above normal. This has enabled Everett to exceed normal fish flow requirements in the Sultan River.
Seattle: With rain from the Halloween storm, supply reservoirs on the Cedar and South Fork Tolt rivers rose 12 and 14 feet, respectively, and are now at 92 percent of normal for this time of year. The utility continues to provide beneficial flows for spawning salmon in both the Cedar and South Fork Tolt rivers.
Tacoma: Since Oct. 1, 21 inches of rain have fallen in the Green River Watershed, with six of that coming on Halloween weekend. Tacoma Water has stopped relying on wells for its water supply and is back to taking water solely from the Green River, which is running well above normal flows. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to release the remaining water behind the Howard Hanson Dam into the Green River to prepare for flood season. Those factors, combined with the forecast for rain in the next few weeks, have led Tacoma Water to move to the advisory stage.
Here are some steps that people can take to use water wisely. More water-saving tips can be found at www.savingwater.org.
Water-saving tips for residents:
Water-saving tips for businesses:
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