History of the Chehalis Basin Strategy

I-5 and the Chehalis River

After the devastating floods of 2007 and 2009, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire created the Chehalis Basin Strategy as a process to identify ways to protect communities and fish and wildlife from flooding and to rebuild salmon and other fish and wildlife habitat.

Since 2017, the Chehalis Basin Strategy has been administered by the Department of Ecology’s Office of the Chehalis Basin and led by the Chehalis Basin Board. Before these entities were created, the Office of Financial Management, the Chehalis Basin Work Group, and a team of natural and water resources experts were responsible for building a foundation of scientific research and analysis on flood protection and habitat restoration.

Today’s Strategy is the culmination of 10 years of thorough collaboration and scientific inquiry, including the following efforts:

  • Experts across the Basin have conducted and reviewed nearly 1,000 scientific studies focused specifically on the Chehalis watershed.
  • Ideas have been drafted with the input of farmers and other landowners, tribal leaders, sport and commercial fishers, scientists, local community leaders, and Basin residents.
  • More than 500 people responded to the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) drafted in 2017, which evaluated a suite of actions and approaches, including large scale “natural” flood water retention and local scale flood adaptation across the basin.
  • Additionally, more than 500 Basin residents have shared input on the draft of the first phase of the Aquatic Species Restoration Plan.

Chehalis Basin Strategy funding

The Chehalis Basin Board was granted a $73.2 million budget for 2019-2021 to continue to aggressively pursue the Chehalis Basin Strategy. Before the end of 2020, the Board will submit its project and funding recommendations for the next biennium.

View the Chehalis Basin Board’s 2019-2021 biennium budget recommendation to the Governor and 2019-2021 biennium budget recommendation handout.

Additional letters of support for the Chehalis Basin Board’s 2019-2021 biennium budget recommendation to the Governor were provided by: