History of the Chehalis Basin Strategy

Today’s Strategy is the culmination of more than a decade of collaboration and scientific study involving government officials, tribal leaders, local residents, scientists, business owners, and non-profit organizations. Originally launched by Gov. Christine Gregoire in 2007, the Strategy is helping make the Chehalis Basin a safer, healthier, and more abundant place to live.

Take a look at how the Strategy has evolved through the years:

  • Before the Strategy was established, local and regional experts were helping build a foundation of scientific research and analysis on flood protection and habitat restoration, but there were many important gaps in our understanding of the Basin’s hydrology and its relationship with the natural ecosystem and the built environment.
  • 2010: Gov. Christine Gregoire created the Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority.
  • 2012: State Office of Financial Management began funding local Chehalis Basin flood protection projects. Gov. Gregoire created the Chehalis Basin Work Group to develop options for Basin-wide flood damage reduction and aquatic species habitat restoration.
  • 2016: State Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 2856, creating the Office of Chehalis Basin, the Chehalis Basin Board, and the Chehalis Basin Strategy.

About the Office of Chehalis Basin and the Chehalis Basin Board

In 2016, the Washington Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 2856, creating the Office of Chehalis Basin (OCB) and the Chehalis Basin Board to advance the Chehalis Basin Strategy.

OCB, located within the Washington Department of Ecology, was created to “aggressively pursue implementation of an integrated Strategy for long-term flood damage reduction and aquatic species restoration in the Chehalis River Basin.” OCB administers funding provided by the Washington State Legislature to implement the Chehalis Basin Strategy and provides support to the Chehalis Basin Board.

The independent Chehalis Basin Board is tasked with developing and providing long-term oversight of the Chehalis Basin Strategy. The Board is building on the previous work of the Governor’s Chehalis Basin Work Group which operated from 2007 to 2017.

Visit the Chehalis Basin Board website to see the list of members and find information about monthly public meetings.

About House Bill 2856

When the Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 2856 in 2016, they did three things:

  1. Clarified the elements of the new Chehalis Basin Strategy
  2. Established a new Office of Chehalis Basin within the Department of Ecology
  3. Created a new independent Chehalis Basin Board

This law requires the Chehalis Basin Strategy to include the following elements:

  • A detailed set of actions to reduce flood damage and improve aquatic species habitat
  • An implementation schedule
  • Quantified measures for evaluating implementation success of implementation

OCB and the Board became operational in July 2017.

Chehalis river