Habitat and Flood Capacity Creation Project

What's Happening

Currently, the county is investigating a likely pilot location for a multi-benefit project that includes sediment removal and habitat creation. The county's flood plan recommends exploring sediment removal as a flood-risk reduction option. Here is a fact sheet about the project.

About the Project
Mount Rainier provides the Puyallup, White and Carbon rivers with an extraordinary and constant supply of sediment. This sediment contributes to frequent flooding that often threatens public safety, property and infrastructure. Pierce County is exploring whether targeted sediment removal could be an appropriate tool to reduce flood risk in specific circumstances and improve habitat.

Pierce County employs many tools and strategies to reduce flood risk. These tools include levees, side channels and log jams that slow and divert rivers away from critical areas. The county is exploring additional opportunities to reduce flood risk in areas where it may be difficult to implement other flood hazard reduction strategies and where flooding is most likely to damage public resources in the foreseeable future. Gravel removal may provide an additional tool to help lessen damage from moderate flooding events. In addition, this project is being designed to improve habitat for many fish species that use the river.

The county is committed to flood risk reduction strategies that reduce flood damage and benefit the environment. This project is fact-finding in nature, and its results will determine if targeted sediment removal could be an appropriate and cost-effective strategy to reduce flood risk. The project is only to evaluate potential applications of sediment removal and related habitat benefits. The evaluation process will include a thorough environmental review and public input opportunities.

Project Goals

  • Determine if sediment removal can be implemented in a way that improves habitat conditions for protected salmon species
  • Evaluate the feasibility of targeted sediment removal as a flood risk reduction tool
  • Determine where targeted sediment removal is effective and affordable
What's Happening Now:
In 2015 and early 2016, the county examined existing data and established criteria to identify potential project sites.

The next phase of the project will include:
• Working with partner agencies to further analyze the preferred test site
• Completing the environmental review and permitting process

In early 2017, Pierce County will share next steps and opportunities for public involvement. Pierce County will consider all available scientific information and public comment before selecting final floodplain management strategies.

Presentations about the Habitat and Flood Capacity Creation Project

Pierce County staff is available to provide presentations about the development of the project at local city council meetings and community meetings upon request. To request a presentation, please contact Angela Angove.

Project Funding

Project Funding Source: Surface Water Management Utility

Consultant: GeoEngineers
Project Timeline

Winter - Summer 2017:
  • More technical analysis of the preferred project location and sediment removal methods.
  • Conceptual design, including monitoring and adaptive management plan.
  • Technical studies and environmental documentation.
  • Continue outreach to agencies, stakeholders and interested parties.
Contact Us
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Angela Angove
Project Manager
Phone: (253) 798-2460
Fax: (253) 798-7709
7:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Mailing Address:
2702 S 42nd St, Ste 201
Tacoma, WA 98409-7322