About the Chehalis Basin Strategy

The issues of salmon decline and rising flooding dangers are urgent and will intensify over time. That’s why the Chehalis Basin Strategy is putting solutions in place to protect people, fish, and wildlife now, while also planning for a more resilient future.

With support from its many partners, the Chehalis Basin Strategy is designing and implementing on-the-ground projects to restore aquatic habitats and protect residents from flood damage. The Strategy also includes planning for large-scale, long-term solutions so the Basin continues to be a wonderful place to live for generations to come.

Since 2012, state and local partners have invested nearly $100 million to fund more than 100 projects that benefit both people and aquatic life. After a decade of science-based research and collaboration to build a strong foundation, the number of Chehalis Basin Strategy  projects has ramped up significantly in recent years and will continue to grow.

How the Strategy Works

An Integrated Approach

We believe we don’t have to choose between keeping people safe and protecting aquatic species—in fact, we have the science and solutions to do both better by addressing them at the same time. That’s why the Strategy employs an integrated approach whenever possible, and avoids treating a single issue in isolation.

Collaboration Is Key

The Strategy is a collaboration of community leaders, local, state, and tribal government officials, local residents, scientists, business owners, and nonprofit organizations who are committed to making the Chehalis Basin a safe, healthy, and abundant place to live—for people, fish, and wildlife. Rooted in a set of shared values and love for the Basin, we accomplish more when we work together.

Immediate Action & Planning for the Long-Term

The Strategy is putting solutions into action now to protect people, fish, and wildlife while also planning for the future. Since 2017, we’ve invested nearly $100 million in flood preparation, flood damage mitigation, and aquatic species restoration. We have completed 100+ projects, with dozens more underway.

Working at Many Scales

The Strategy works at all scales to create lasting change throughout the Chehalis Basin. Projects that work at the individual landowner and community-scale include floodproofing homes, buildings, and key infrastructure such as roads and drinking water sources; improving flood warning systems and evacuation routes; and working with the land to restore natural floodplain function and benefit aquatic habitat.

While local and community-scale projects are essential to meeting the Strategy’s goals, we know that because flood risks are intensifying and fish populations are continuing to decline, the Strategy also requires large-scale, Basin-wide actions. The Aquatic Species Restoration Plan employs far-reaching restoration in high priority areas across the Basin—where the science points to the biggest positive impact for salmon, steelhead, and other aquatic species. To protect against major and catastrophic flooding, a Basin-wide network of options are being considered to protect communities and key regional infrastructure like U.S. Interstate 5, state highways, rail lines, and ports.

Projects and Programs

Chehalis Basin Strategy projects build on each other to create durable, widespread change for Chehalis Basin residents, fish, and wildlife. Click on a project or program below to learn more:

Aquatic Species Restoration Plan

Coordinating habitat restoration efforts across the Chehalis Basin to restore aquatic life

Flood Assistance for Residents and Business Owners

Helping you prepare your home or business for flooding

Flood Management Programs

Supporting tribes and local governments with technical assistance and planning

Local Action Non-Dam Alternatives for Flood Damage

Developing a long-term plan to reduce catastrophic flood damage separate from the proposed dam

Skookumchuck Dam Study

Studying opportunities to reduce flood damage and/or improve fish passage

Local Flood Solutions

Creating on-the-ground solutions to protect against flood damage

Proposed Flood Protection Dam

Evaluating a potential dam on the Chehalis River to protect against catastrophic flood damage


Funding for the Chehalis Basin Strategy is provided by the Washington State Legislature on a biennial basis. For the 2021-23 biennial state budget, the legislature provided $70 million to continue to aggressively pursue the Chehalis Basin Strategy. View additional 2021-23 budget information.