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Table of Contents

 

Larry Kunzler Generated Documents/Reports

 

Date Title Summary
  1815-1939 Draft Timeline Index of Historical Events

The indexes were prepared between 1996 and 1997. They are an attempt at showing significant events in our history using documentation obtained through PDA and FOIA review of government documents.  Since these indexes were created I have obtained thousands of documents that still need to be reviewed.

  1940-1949 Draft Timeline Index of Historical Events
  1950-1959 Draft Timeline Index of Historical Events
  1960-1969 Draft Timeline Index of Historical Events
5/1991
NEW
Skagit River Valley: The Disaster Waiting to Happen So much has been written about the Skagit River that it is a wonderment that so little has been accomplished and so much has been ignored. The early settlers began talking about the river almost as soon as they arrived in the late 1800's. The government became involved with the enactment of the 1936 Flood Control Act. With the exception of upriver storage provided by the Ross and Upper Baker Dams little if anything has changed with respect to the power of the mighty Skagit since 1936. The purpose of this book was to assemble and organize all the known data about the effects of the flooding of the Skagit River, and then condense and present the material in an orderly manner. Hopefully this assemblage of information will assist the general public, elected officials, government staff, news media, and anyone who might have a vested interest in either interpreting the data or in trying to bring about responsible flood plain management or a responsible flood control project to the Skagit River Valley.”
1995 Graphic Summary of Increases in 1990 Flood Levels Due to Levee System Hydraulic analysis graphic prepared by nhc showing increases in flood levels in the Nookachamps/Sterling areas due to the placement of the levees.
6/1/2000 Golder Associates Letter to LJK Analysis of mystery mud on Dike District 12 property: “The hand specimen is composed of a yellowish gray/weakly indurated, silt size, nonplastic, monolithologic sediment. Apparent glass shards are visible under a 10x hand lens. No stratification was observed. Based on these observations, the sample appears to be a volcanic ash deposit or tephra.”
2001 LJK E-Mails With FEMA Region X Official, RE: NFIP Policy Enforcement and Floodways “Yes, the floodway, established in 1985, is located between the landward toes of the levee. So, yes, this means that there can be no fill or any other development (outside of the original cross-section) located within this designated floodway. ... Have the levees been raised or widened since the communities joined the NFIP and the FIRMs were published in 1985? If so, this would be a violation of d3”.
8/11/2002 History of Flood Control Projects Studied

Document lists the flood control studies and the main theme looked at in each study.

9/10/2003 1990 Flood Analysis -- The Big Picture

The documents were created from USGS flow records and Corps of Engineers log records kept during flood events. 1995 was done first in real time and then with 12 hours deleted from the Mt. Vernon column to show the impacts of decisions made by PSE and the Corps.

9/10/2003 1995 Flood Analysis -- The Big Picture  Real Time
9/10/2003 1995 Flood Analysis -- The Big Picture  12 hrs deleted in MV column
11/1/2003 2003 Flood Analysis -- The Big Picture
11/23/2008 2008 Flood Analysis -- The Big Picture
1/11/2009 2009/1/8 Flood Analysis -- The Big Picture
11/2/2010 2010/11/2 Flood Analysis -- The Big Picture - note the 2nd page about USGS Datum
1/24/2004 James E. Stewart Field Notes

The documents were created from the field notebook used by Mr. Stewart in 1922-1923 and from documents obtained from USGS files that were used to write the Whitepaper which follows.

1/30/2004 Index To Stewart Documents
2/14/2004 James E. Stewart Skagit River Flood Reports And Assorted Documents: A Citizen Critical Review Whitepaper

Whitepaper Appendix E

This 52 page research paper was written to analyze just exactly what Mr. Stewart did in his 1923 report. The overall conclusion reached is that we should abandon his work product as Skagit County and the Corps recommended in 1924, and utilize the 80 years of gage records we have at The Dalles.

3/26/2005 Quips & Quotes

Originally published as Chapter 2 of my book however over the years a few more quotes were added along the way. It will be added to from time to time as meaningful quotes concerning the flood issue are located. Many are expected to be used from the historical newspaper articles.

4/8/2005 FEMA -- The Total Failure Package

This paper deals with the failure of FEMA to enforce its regulations and promoting growth in the floodplain.

4/18/2005 County Commissioner Memo re Future of Flood Control

On April 12, 2005 I attended a public meeting where staff presented where the County is with respect to their flood control project. At the end of the meeting I was asked by the Chairman to submit a written memo on what I had observed and what direction I thought the County should go.

5/1/2005 History of Countywide Flood Control Districts (see also County Documents)

Using the Historical Newspaper Article Index I pulled out just the articles that dealt with the historical formation of countywide flood control zone districts.

5/15/2005 Historical Floods Of The Skagit River (1892 through 1951)

This is perhaps the most comprehensive collection of historical information on individual flood events of the Skagit River ever assembled. 98% of this document comes from direct quotes obtained from local newspapers.

6/12/2005

Historical Rainfall & Its Impact on Floods (1896-1969)

The purpose of this document is to look at historical articles and try and determine how much rain it takes to create a flood on the Skagit River. The best answer to the question of how much rain it takes is “It depends.”

7/17/2005

Historical Record of the Avon By-Pass Proposal (1921-2004)

This document was first created in July 2002.  It has now been supplemented with the historical newspaper articles concerning this issue. The bottom-line is that Skagit County has never been able to afford this project.

11/24/2005

A Historical Tribute To Charles M. Dwelley (1929-1970)

A tribute to the former editor and publisher of the Concrete Herald.  This paper is a collection of a few of the words of wisdom from Mr. Dwelley.  You can obtain further historical family information on Mr. Dwelley at http://www.stumpranchonline.com/ and http://www.skagitriverjournal.com.

12/3/2005

Skagit River History

This paper is an attempt to document some of the history of the Skagit River according to mostly government documents obtained from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. On occasion it will also contain information obtained from local historical newspaper articles. It is a factual issue oriented paper addressing the log jams, boat traffic, commerce, logging, agriculture, dam building, flood events of the “early days” and much more.

12/4/2005

Letter to FEMA from Larry Kunzler re: Skagit Hydrology Study

This letter was prepared in response to the letter written by Colonel Debra M. Lewis to FEMA re: hydrology analysis.

12/26/2005

Observations of JES (James E. Stewart) Work Product

This paper was created primarily from transcripts of Mr. Stewarts field notebook and a set of handwritten notes found in his files.  It is further documentation that supports the usage of the 80 years of gage records rather then the estimates submitted by Mr. Stewart of the 1897, 1909, 1917 and 1921 flood events in determining the 100 year flood flows on the Skagit River.

1/22/2006 Historical Facts - What Have We Learned

Document highlights some of the facts we have uncovered due to historical research.

2/5/2006

Historical Dredging On The Skagit River (1920-1966)

This document looks at 46 years of Skagit County history, 20 of which actual dredging (sidecasting method) was being done.  It explores all the reasons local people wanted it done and all the reasons the Corps of Engineers says it cannot be done for flood control purposes.

2/5/2006 Flowage Easements

This paper was originally authored in 1996.  Skagit County may wish to consider this as a possible avenue to pursue for impacted property owners affected by any proposed flood control project.

3/19/2006 Historical Dam Building And Their Impacts On Floods - PDF (1924-1969)
(Word Version)

This document was also prepared using the historical information obtained from local newspaper articles. It documents the construction of the dams and their impacts on flood events.

4/24/2006 DC Trip Experience

My reflections on my trip to Washington D.C. Wherein I got to watch my federal government do what they do best... which is absolutely nothing.

5/7/2006 Declaration of Fred W. Slipper

Mr. Slipper's declaration documents the fact that not all of the homes in Hamilton had water in them in 1921 (See 12/24/21 C.H.) and that the house he grew up in only had water in it in 1921 to the depth of a couple of inches until the 1990 flood when it had 16 inches. 

6/18/2006 Stewart 1923 Report -- Retyped Version

This is a retyped version of Mr. Stewart's 1923 work product. The only changes that were made were the font was changed from Courier 10 to Times New Roman 12 and the spacing was changed from double space to 1.5 in order to save space.  Footnotes were added to indicate handwritten notes that appeared on the original presumably from Corps of Engineers employees.  NOTE:  You can do word searches on this document.

6/18/2006 Narrow Canyons

This assemblage of pictures is to document how narrow the canyons are where the dams were built in order to emphasize the probability and likelihood of these areas being subject to serving as collection points for major flood blockages due to log jams, landslides, ice jams or debris flows all of which could have contributed to the Indian legend floods of 1820 and 1856 just like The Dalles contributed to either the 1897 or 1906 flood as documented in Mr. Stewart's field notes.  (See  11/19/1896 SCT, 3/5/1936 C.H. and James E. Stewart Field Notes.

6/18/2006 Letter to FERC in Response to DEIS

This document was filed with FERC in response to FERC's Relicensing efforts on the Baker River Dams and their Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).  Through the use of graphics produced by this website it is hoped that FERC, the Corps and PSE can see the minimal environmental impacts and maximum flood control impacts additional storage can mean to the taxpayers of our country.

7/23/2006 James E. Stewart Skagit River Flood Reports And Assorted Documents:  A Citizen Critical Review Whitepaper, Updated and Republished

Two years worth of additional research culminated in this now 90 page document.  All of the "new" information gathered further supported the conclusions reached when the paper was originally published in 2004.  Reasons the Stewart data should be rejected include but are not limited to: Doesn’t conform to local history; Report is in conflict with Stewart’s handwritten notes and field notebook; WSP 612 (1929) and WSP 1527 (1961) both use Stewart’s 1918 and 1923 data. (You can’t get to the 1923 figures by using 1918 data.); Reports (1923 and 1961) were never completed; Stewart paid directly by Skagit County not USGS (Skagit owns his work product); No measurements taken between Baker River and The Dalles; Stewart’s work product rejected by Corps of Engineers in 1924 and 1951; Determination of “N-factor” at Sedro-Woolley inappropriate for The Dalles something Mr. Stewart himself was concerned about.

8/1/2006 Letter to Congress re: Storage behind Baker Dams

Letter tries to show Congress that the storage behind the Baker Dams is a reasonable, responsible, economical and much needed action for effective flood control in Skagit County.

9/22/2006 Stewart July 1918 Skagit River Flood Report - Retyped

This is a retyped version of Mr. Stewart's 1918 work product.   Footnotes were added to explain terms and indicate handwritten notes that appeared on the original.  NOTE:  You can do word searches on this document.

9/22/2006 1961 Stewart-Bodhaine Report - Retyped

This is a retyped version of Water Supply Paper 1527 (WSP 1527). The only changes were those of formatting and two footnotes were added to explain technical details.  NOTE:  You can do word searches on this document.

12/27/2006 ISYS QUERY BPA

This document represents all references to the BPA contained in the 28,000 electronic documents in our database. It clearly shows that the BPA does not want to pay for flood control for Skagit County. Given the enormous impact the dams have on flood damages, this outrageous position of yet another federal agency involved with the flood control issue should be condemned by all.

1/7/2007 ISYS QUERY FLOODWAY

One of the most contentious issues in 2007-2008 will be the placement of a floodway in the lower valley in accordance with the NFIP regulations.  This documents represents a small sampling of historic documents that address this issue.  As the documents clearly show a floodway designation was in fact made in the 1980's however was never enforced.

1/27/2007 17B Analysis

This document analyzes the guidelines contained in the Interagency Advisory Committee on Water Data, commonly referred to as 17B as they apply to using the Stewart data in computing flood flow analysis on the Skagit River.

4/15/2007

LJK Analysis of the NHC Skagit River Hydrology Draft Report

Overall, while the document could use some tweaking, it is the best analysis of the historical flood flows ever performed on the Skagit River.

6/26/2007 Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement

Proposed agreement for Plan B involving power-sharing among governing bodies of Skagit County.

7/20/2007 Why Dredging Won't Work

Channel 300-800 ft. wide, 100 year floodplain 5,280-15,840 ft. (1-3 miles) wide, how deep do you think the ditch has to be?

Updated to add slides showing how much cubic yards were taken out of the Skagit and about the ships dredging the Skagit and removing snags "for navigational purposes".

11/17/2007 Preliminary Historical Investigation of East Concrete and Crofoot Addition Flood Levels Submission to nhc of potential properties in Concrete and other locations for forensic investigation to find actual flood levels.
1/15/2008 Why Crofoot Matters One-page explanation that explains why a forensic investigation of Crofoot Addition in Concrete is appropriate to resolving conflicting hydrology.
1/27/2008 Concerns about Pacific International Engineering (PIE) Cited newspaper research concerning PIE's project history.
6/23/2008 Skagit River Reports (Past studies, reports, documents)

This document identifies the examinations, reports, studies, GDM, and other documents written about the Skagit River and was updated with 34 new reports spanning between 4/9/2003 and 2/28/2008. Most of these documents I have copies of and am willing to make available upon request. The original list of Jan. 24 1999 was compiled with Corps of Engineers assistance.

6/2008 Historical Record of Fish Related Issues (1897-1969)

“If the Salmon is to ever reach their historic levels in the Skagit River we must employ better logging and agricultural practices, curtail urban drainage and pollution, re-create the natural estuaries, increase spawning habitat areas, do a better job of regulating the flows from the dams and severely curtail the placing of nets in the river. I absolutely believe that unless these practices are instituted the Skagit Salmons demise is not only apparent but guaranteed. We will have no one to blame but ourselves.”

09/14/2008 LJK Comments on Aug. 18, 2008 Corps of Engineers Presentation

“Corps understatement at meeting, “Doing anything with us is kind of complicated.” ”

09/29/2008 LJK Proposed Modifications to the Goals and Objectives of the Skagit River Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan

Proposed modifications with all additions are in blue, all deletions in red strikeout.

12/14/2008 1925 Metsker's Atlas - Annotated With James E. Stewart Locations

Metsker Maps of Skagit River basin from Burlington to Rockport annotated with known locations where, according to his field notebook, James E. Stewart surveyed for flood elevation marks in 1922.

4/20/2009 Measures 4 & 5 - Nookachamp and Hart Slough Storage Issue Paper Presented to Advisory Committee

“I take great issue with the following verbiage that I am assuming was handed out at the Dike and Drainage Sub-committee: “The Nookachamps floodplain historically has provided various levels of natural storage, depending on the magnitude of the flood peak and shape of the hydrograph, to significantly reduce flood peaks.” (Source: Skagit River Flood Reduction Feasibility Study, PIE April 2006) The truth of the matter is that there is very little that is “natural” about the storage in the Nookachamps.”

7/19/2009 FCZD AC Draft Recommendations With Cost Estimates Provided by LJK Proposed fast-track Advisory Committee measures could cost in excess of $150 Million dollars.
7/19/2009 Potential Sales Tax Revenue for Flood Control Measures from 2005-2008 If Skagit County had instituted a half-cent sales tax (.005) in the year 2005, we could have raised in excess of 42 million dollars for flood control.
8/10/2009 El Nino, La Nina & Normal Flood Years -- 1900-2004 Document compares El Nino to La Nina and our normal flood years.  The document shows us that almost all of our major flood events happened in so-called normal years.
10/31/2009 Levee Failure and Tidal Analysis of the Mount Vernon Gage Research into whether or not levee failures downstream or tides impact the Mount Vernon gage at the 3-bridge corridor.
11/16/2009 LJK Funding Options Six page handout for the November 16, 2009 SC FCZD AC meeting on funding options for flood control.
12/27/2009 The Decade of “Paralysis of Analysis” in Documents In order to prepare for a look back at the last decade we took all the documents published on this web site from 1/1/2000 until 12/31/2009 and put them in chronological order, regardless of their author, into one document. As always, when you put documents into chronological order they tell you a story.
(See Angry Citizen December 2009)
1/10/2010 Chapter 6 CFHMP LJK Final Draft 33 pages of flood history documentation of the Skagit River.
1/19/2010 Handout to Jan. 19, 2010 SC FCZD AC Meeting 7 page handout on actual flood conditions in Crofoot's Addition to the south of Concrete.
3/7/2010 Retyped for clarity and emphasis 8/14/1953 Corps document.

See Seattle District Office Ltr re: Flood Control Requirement and Operating Procedure for Ross Reservoir, Skagit River, Wash. for original document.
For this document we took the original 8/14/1953 document, retyped it verbatim and added emphasis, footnotes, and a flood CFS table to show what the Corps was studying.  The document shows us that among many other things, the Corps used the Sedro-Woolley Stewart figures to compute the Ross Dam storage requirements, this despite the fact the Stewart data wasn’t published yet, and presents a serious question as to why they discarded the Stewart Concrete figures before 1924; if the 1909 flood happened today it would carry approximately only 185,000 CFS not the 220,000 CFS Stewart estimated; and the Corp recommended storage only “start” to be accomplished on November 1st even though 24% of the flood events “studied” happened in October.  This document is a must read for everyone interested in storage issues for the Skagit River.
7/18/2010 Low Low Water in Puget Sound vs. Mean Sea Level “When you make the adjustment of 8.93 feet to the published values and then subtract the impacts of upstream dam storage it is very possible that the 1990, 1995, 2003 flood events mirror the 1906, 1917 and 1921 flood events.
12/29/2010 Documents Posted in 2010 on www.SkagitRiverHistory.com A listing of every document posted to SkagitRiverHistory.com in 2010, broken out between documents dated before 2010 and documents created in 2010.
1/27/2011
Historic Flood Flows of the Skagit River

This document list the flood events and the recorded flows.  I first put this together in 1991 when I authored Skagit River Valley: The Disaster Waiting To Happen. Most of the information came from the 1979 Corps of Engineers GDM used for the 1979 Levee Improvement project proposal. I have updated the document each time we had another flood event. It is sort of a running record of flood events on the Skagit River.

3/27/2011 Skagit County... FEMA's Hole in the Ground

Publishing FEMA NFIP Policy Statistics as of Jan. 31, 2011 & Loss Statistics from Jan. 1, 1978 up to Jan. 31, 2011.

4/30/2011 Interesting Quotes From 1/10/64 Corps of Engineers Public Hearing on Avon Bypass

See what your neighbors and relatives had to say about the Avon Bypass in 1964.

“During my life time I have observed flooding of all the towns of Skagit County, from Edison to Stanwood, and I feel sure that history will repeat this disaster if steps are not taken to prevent it.  . . .  New developments and the potential increased population in Skagit County certainly justifies the Bypass with its accompanying improvements.”  James Hulbert Sr., Fir Island Farmer, and Dike Commissioner of Several Dike Districts during the last Fifty Years,  January 10, 1964 public hearing on Avon Bypass.

See also: Public Hearing Transcript; Corps mtg with Skagit County residents re Improvement Downstream Levees and adding Fisheries and Recreation to Avon ByPass, Various Exhibits Submitted to USACOE at Public Hearing

5/3/2011 Before-After Flooding in the Skagit River Basin
A series of photographs showing how floods impact the Skagit River Basin.  Note how development has crept into the Skagit River floodplain after each flood.
11/26/2011 www.SkagitRiverHistory.com Comments on October 2011 Corps Scoping Summary Report Comments about various measures proposed in the 10/2011 Skagit River General Investigation Study Scoping Summary Report for the Draft Feasibility Study And Environmental Impact Statement.
1/1/2012 Documents Posted in 2011 on SkagitRiverHistory.com “During 2011 we published 165 historical documents and 125 documents dated in 2011 for a total of 290 documents.”  Document lists each posting by jurisdiction of creation divided by pre-2011 & 2011.
5/20/2012 LJK Response to Skagit GI Public Outreach on Preliminary Range of Alternatives 8 page response to the 4/16/2012 Skagit River General Investigation Study Public Outreach on Preliminary Range of Alternatives & video of the 5/9/2012 Corps of Engineers GI Study Presentation.
10/7/2012
UPDATED
Skagit River Corps of Engineers GI Study Deadlines A compilation of deadlines in the GI Study process dating from 2001, 2007, 2009 and 2012.
12/31/2012 Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Comments Received (April 2012-June 2012 Outreach) With LJK Comments A response to the 323 comments submitted to the Skagit River GI Study 2012 Public Outreach citing many documents on SkagitRiverHistory.com.
12/31/2012 SkagitRiverHistory.com Documents Posted in 2012 During 2012 we published 146 historical documents and 78 documents dated in 2012 for a total of 224 documents.
4/21/2013 LJK Comments on Skagit County Planning and Development Services Findings of Fact re the Shoreline Substantial Development Application PL12-0191 These comments submitted to the Hearing Examiner re Dike District 12 plans to raise their levees 4 feet.
4/24/2013 SKAGITRIVERHISTORY.COM TRANSCRIPT OF APRIL 24, 2013 PUBLIC HEARING Before the Skagit County Hearing Examiner, RE: SHORELINE SUBSTANTIAL DEVELOPMENT PERMIT PL12-0144 Margaret Fleek: “It has, the goal is not a substantial change in the effects of flooding, the railroad bridge is the big barrier and we’re just trying to make the levees really solid and wide and then, uh, increase it to meet the Corps of Engineers’ 25-year standard.”
John Schultz:So in the project the levee will be raised sometimes a foot, sometimes three feet, sometimes four feet. But the plan submitted to FEMA must have four feet because that’s three foot of freeboard. In other words, once we reach a certain flood level – the 100-year in this case – the Corps and FEMA require another three feet above that for safety factor ...
“Doing what we can do now with our own resources to protect our own people.  So that’s really what this is all about.
5/12/2013 Hearing Examiner Cover Letter, Re: Public Recording/Transcript of Public Hearing in re Shoreline Development, Substantial Development Application PL12-0144 “This letter is neither a pro or con letter re the above listed project.  Rather this is to advise you of a situation that could have appeal implications on your decision no matter what you decide.  We requested a copy of the electronic copy of the above listed hearing.  An electronic copy as required by Rules of Public Procedure for Hearings as promulgated pursuant to SCC 14.06.240(8).  ...  As you can readily ascertain beginning on page 29 at approximately 1:14:03 into the hearing the recording goes virtually blank except for your microphone.  This condition last until approximately Page 44, 2:37:21 into the hearing.  That’s a loss of approximately 1 hour and 23 minutes of lost testimony.  This lost testimony impacts both the applicant and the people who spoke against the project.  In fact there is no testimony of individuals who spoke against the project.”
6/12/2013 SkagitRiverHistory.com Partial UNOFFICIAL Transcript of  June 12, 2013 Public Hearing Before the Skagit County Hearing Examiner, Re: Shoreline Substantial Development Permit PL12-0144 With LJK Footnotes 86 LJK footnotes added to the Hearing Examiner transcript.
9/2/2013 Participant Larry J. Kunzler’s Memorandum In Support of Appellant City of Sedro-Woolley’s Appeal “I want to put to rest any objection by Respondent that I don’t have standing to submit a Memorandum in Support of Sedro-Woolley’s Appeal. I have been participating in this fiasco of a project since my comments on the DEIS therefore my standing and right to participate is unquestionable and undeniable. If the Respondent is allowed to continue not only to artificially flood upstream property owners let alone their own district and the City of Burlington, and that result is attributable to the approval of the permit by Skagit County then every taxpayer in this Valley will become an aggrieved party.”
3/10/2014 Intervenor Motion to Recuse/Disqualify Hearing Examiner To state it in rule form as it applies to land-use decisions, the appearance of fairness doctrine is that, when a hearing “or other contested case proceeding” is held by a local legislative body, planning commission, hearing examiner, zoning adjuster, board of adjustment, or other local body in connection with an individual application for official action, the action taken as a result of such hearing is void if the conduct of the hearing or circumstances surrounding it would make it appear to a reasonable person who was informed of the facts that one or more of the members of the body may have acted out of improper motives.  To state this in layperson terms if a disinterested party looking from outside the window in would feel that the hearing was unfair then that is an issue that must be addressed.  Such is I believe the instant case.”
3/17/2014 Intervenor Motion to Disqualify Applicant Expert nhc Due to Conflict of Interest “The issue presented before us is whether or not an engineering firm can work both sides of a conflict and not be considered a conflict of interest.”
4/4/2014 Intervenor Reply to DD12 and City of Burlington Motions to Strike and Motions In Limine “All evidence should be heard. The Hon. Examiner may weigh that evidence in reaching his decision. The granting or denial of a motion in limine is within the discretion of the trial court (in the instant case the hearing examiner), subject only to review for abuse. The motion should be denied if a proper ruling depends upon a factual background to be developed at trial (i.e. the hearing). Credibility is a matter for the trier of fact to determine, after direct and cross-examination. In short, applicant’s motions are an attempt to preclude the truth to be known by the public for evidence that is already in the record of the city of Burlington and the Hon. Examiner. Any legitimate objection to said evidence has long since passed. Their motions in limine should be denied in their entirety.”
4/9/2014
NEW
Audio of Hearing Examiner Motions Hearing on Dike District 12 Shoreline Substantial Permit Audio recorded by SkagitRiverHistory.com of the Skagit County Hearing Examiner's Motions Hearing on Remand of Dike District 12's Shoreline Substantial Permit PL12-0144.

See also: UNOFFICIAL Transcript of April 9, 2014 Motion Hearing Before the Skagit County Hearing Examiner, RE: Shoreline Substantial Development Permit Pl12-0144
6/1/2014
NEW

UNOFFICIAL Transcript of April 9, 2014 Motion Hearing Before the Skagit County Hearing Examiner, RE: Shoreline Substantial Development Permit Pl12-0144

Attached hereto is an “Unofficial” Transcript of the April 9, 2014 Skagit County Hearing Examiner Motion Hearing.  The tape of the hearing was made by myself since the County’s recording equipment has proven to be unreliable on more than one occasion.  The recording was transcribed by SkagitRiverHistory.com.  After the initial transcription we listened to the recording six more times for accuracy purposes.  Where the recording was weak and we could not understand or had to guess at what the person said we inserted the word “Unintelligible”.   We have published a link to the audio itself which can be found here.  If anyone feels they can do a more accurate transcript please feel free to give it a go.

7/14/2014
NEW
Comment Letter Re: Skagit River GI Study DEIS LJK Comments on the Skagit River GI Study DEIS. 
See also: 5/2014 Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Skagit County, Washington Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement
     

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LJK Presentations

All PowerPoints now converted to Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Date Title Summary
1/16/1998 Basic River Facts

Over the years I have given over 200 presentations to Universities, High Schools, Elementary Schools, federal, state and local government agencies, citizen organizations, and elected officials. The ones listed on this web page are reflective of what those presentations have contained.

5/2/2002 Presentation to The Forum: Funding, Fish, Farms, and Folks
5/16/2004 Presentation to LaConner High School (Volcanic History, Flood History, Stewart Report)
2/14/2005 Presentation to Skagit County Commissioners on Historical Newspaper Articles 1895-1969
9/13/2005 Northwest Regional Floodplain Managers Association (NORFMA) Presentation 2005 - PDF
3/7/2006 James E. Stewart Work Product Goes to D.C. - presentation given to legislative aides, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA in Washington D.C. - PDF
11/16/2006 AWARE which addressed historical flooding, river migration, flood and fish projects, farming and the future of flood control in Skagit County

6/26/2007

Plan B Presentation - Presentation to Skagit County Commissioners urging formation of a flood agency and excise sales tax to be used specifically for flood project construction.
07/11/2008 PDF of Slides in Hearing re: Clear Valley Farm Wetland Banking Proposal - Testimony before Skagit County Hearing Examiner in opposition to Clear Valley Farm wetland banking proposal.
10/20/2008 Sterling Dam Presentation - Short presentation on the Sterling Dam between Burlington and Sedro-Woolley.
11/27/2008 November 2008 SC FCZD AC Discussion Documents - Arguments for/against staying in the Corps GI process.
1/20/2009 Skagit River Dredging: The Perception vs. The Truth - Short presentation for the Jan. 20, 2009 Skagit County Flood Control Zone District Advisory Committee on the history of dredging and why dredging won't work.
10/25/2010 Presentation: Low Low Water in Puget Sound vs. Mean Sea Level - Questions concerning the datum used for historical floods at Sedro-Woolley and the impacts on Ross Dam Storage.

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HISTORICAL NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

 
Date Title Summary 
10/02/2005

1800s-1919 Master Index Articles

In the summer of 2004 I was contacted by Dan Berentson and asked to assist him in reviewing all the historical Skagit Argus newspaper articles for flooding stories. That project quickly grew into reviewing the Burlington Journal, Courier Times, Concrete Herald and Skagit Valley Herald archives as well. Out of all the projects I have been involved in and all the papers I have authored none have given me more satisfaction and sense of accomplishment then putting together these decade-by-decade indexes of historical articles.  The index includes over 1,000 articles from the 5 newspapers arranged in chronological order.

1920-1929 Master Index Articles

1930-1939 Master Index Articles

1940-1949 Master Index Articles

1950-1959 Master Index Articles

1960-1969 Master Index Articles

All Articles Index: 1895-1970

5/17/2005

Recognition from the American Public Works Association

Helped Skagit County Government win "Project of the Year" award.

6/13/2005

Recognition from the Skagit County Commissioners

Skagit County Commissioners issued plaque awards for our involvement with the Historical Skagit River Flood Research.

Summer 2005

American Public Works Association - Washington State Chapter Newsletter

Awards ceremony.

10/2006

2006 Skagit County Government Flood Awareness Newsletter

Article regarding historical newspaper archive and web site by Skagit County Government.

2/25/2007

1979 Levee Improvement Project Historical Index

This index is a compilation of 30 newspaper articles from the Skagit Valley Herald concerning the 1979 Levee Improvement Project.  It should be considered must reading for all city, county, and Federal employees that were not part of the 1979 project and are currently working on the flood control issue on the Skagit River.

5/27/2007

1981-1984 FEMA-BFE Flood Research

Compilation of articles describing the FEMA flood insurance base flood elevation and floodway determination made by FEMA in 1984.

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BURLINGTON NORTHERN SANTE FE RR DOCUMENTS

Documents by Burlington Northern Sante Fe and the railroad corporation's predecessors such as Great Northern & Burlington Northern.

Date Title Summary 

9/26/1922

GNRR letter and Robert Herzog Report (1st Avon By-Pass Proposal)

This report is significant in that it was the first study devoted entirely to the Avon By-Pass concept and it was authored by private enterprise.

10/6/1922

Hogeland letter to GNRR President

Acknowledges breaking of levees saved bridge.  Felt that when levees were improved they would lose bridge.  Wanted to build bypass.

10/11/1922

GNRR Vice President letter

Acknowledges "enormous size" of floods however due to "infrequency" and "short duration" thought locals had more to lose then railroad so didn't want to get "overly" involved due to probable cost to railroad.

12/20/1923

Letter to GNRR Vice President (re flood control status)

NPRR sent Herzog to Corps public meeting in Mt. Vernon.  He reported, "Nothing of any importance transpired."  Corps only interested in navigation improvements not flood control.

11/10/1936

Letter to GNRR President (re opposition to By-Pass)

Avon By-Pass project to cost $1,832,000.  Locals said they couldn't afford it.  NPRR wanted taxpayers to pay for improvements to their bridge.

3/10/1937 Letter to GNRR President

Tells President of March 2nd meeting in which By-Pass plan was "quite unfavorable" amongst those in attendance due to the cost of the project.  Felt plan would be "indefinitely postponed".

6/8/1955

GNRR Chief Engineer letter

Corps of Engineers reported that the By-Pass proposed in 1936 did not meet their minimum cost benefit ratio.

8/23/1963

Letter to GNRR President

Avon By-Pass again being considered.  GNRR concerned about involvement of Milo Moore (Fisheries Director) in development scheme in Fidalgo and Padilla Bays.

9/7/1965

Letter from GNRR Ass't Engineer

Avon By-Pass cost soared to $23,940,000.  $1.5 million was for improvements to GNRR bridges.

9/1965 Ltr fm Seattle District to Portland District re GNRR Request to Make Bridge #36 A Fixed Bridge Seattle wanted guidance on how to respond to GNRR request to make the bridge a fixed bridge.  Elevations cited in the letter appear to be questionable.
9/20/1965

Letter to Seattle District ACOE from GNRR re swing Bridge #36 across the Skagit River

GNRR (BNSF) wanted to change the bridge from a swing bridge to a fixed bridge.  Stated in part: "The Great Northern Bridge, in closed position, has substantial clearance to the water surface, the bottom of low steel is Elevation 43.1 ...",... "The Bridge has not been opened for commercial river traffic since September 9, 1959."

8/9/1966

Letter to GNRR President

Letter discusses how Avon By-Pass plan would impact their bridges.

11/11/1966

Letter to GNRR President

Letter attaches 11/8/66 Seattle PI article re: $5,804,000 levee improvement project approved by Congress and President Johnson.  No indication in any record that project was ever constructed.

4/10/1978 Ltr to Corps fm BNRR re why they were opposed to flood project "Burlington Northern is opposed to raising the heights of levees because it will endanger our bridge and embankments in the vicinity of Burlington, Washington."

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Corps of Engineers Documents

 
Date Title Summary
12/04/1890

Preliminary Examination of Nooksack. Skagit and Snohomish Rivers, Washington

“The Skagit River is the largest and most important stream in the State. ... The principal difficulties to navigation are snags, drift piles, and shoals caused by them, also the tide fiats at the mouth.
12/11/1897

Capt. Harry Taylor Annual Report

In this report Capt. Taylor observes that the local Dike Districts are disorganized and have put the levees way too close to the edge of the river.  Also, he compares the height of the 1897 flood as compared to the 1896 flood.  His statements cast further dispersions on the accuracy of the 1923 Stewart Report.

3/2/1907 USACE Survey Map of the Skagit River in the Sterling Area

A wonderful piece of history showing depths of the river, height of the 1906 flood event, location of the Balls Riffle Ferry, pioneer farming family residences, location of the 1897 and 1907 channels, as well as surveys of land elevations.  Notice all depths are based on Low Low Water (i.e. different then sea level today).

9/19/1911

Corps Map of Hamilton Vicinity

Corps maps shows depth of river in Hamilton same in 1911 as it is today.

2/29/1912 Corps of Engineers Preliminary Examination of Skagit River “In compliance with law, I have the honor to report, also, that it is not practicable to coordinate with any improvement of the river, either flood protection or the development and utilization of water power for commercial purposes so as to reduce the cost of improvement and render it advisable.”
1/26/1914 United States Engineer Office, Seattle, Wash. January 26, 1914 Survey of Skagit River, Wash. “Along both sides of the Skagit River below Mount Vernon dikes have been constructed to protect the adjacent lands from overflow, and as these dikes are generally close to the river banks, constant work is required to maintain them, all of which is now carried on by the diking districts. It is evident, therefore, that from the standpoint of the United States there are certain practical objections to any change in the regimen of the river which may be considered as responsible for future difficulties with the dikes in this locality. In my opinion, no improvement of Skagit City bar should be undertaken by the United States unless local interests agree to cooperate to the extent of assuming all responsibility for the protection of the river banks above and below the works installed by the United States, so that no diversion of improvement funds can be urged by the diking districts for the protection of their dikes. Additional reasons for recommending such cooperation are the protection incidentally afforded the dikes at Skagit City bar by the proposed works, and the fact that the above estimate closely approximates the maximum expenditure which could be justified in the interests of navigation.”
10/10/1919

Reexamination of the Skagit River

“The river is subject to sudden freshets at all seasons of the year.  It has been known to rise 18 feet in 24 hours and a rise of 10 feet in 24 hours is not unusual.  The maximum fluctuation is about 25 feet.  . . .  The dikes on both sides of the river are dangerously close to the edges of the banks, and the land back of them is highly improved and subject to overflow for miles in case of a break in the dike.”
11/26/1924 Notice and Minutes of Public Hearing In Connection With Preliminary Examination of "Skagit River, Washington, With A View To The Control Of Its Floods" Directed By Flood Control Act of May 31, 1924

“I would like to emphasize the point, that Mr. Knapp brought out in his paper, that before any highly scientific plan can be prepared for the protection of this valley from floods, it is necessary to have more authoritative information than we now have as to the amount of water carried by the river in time of floods. ... The information that was collected by Mr. Stewart and given in his report to the committee was excellent so far as the dots that he had to work upon permitted, but that data was necessarily more or less inaccurate.” 
Colonel W. J. Barden, Colonel, Corps of Engineers Seattle District Engineer

11/26/1924 Robert E.L. Knapp, Skagit County Engineer, Testimony for 11/26/1924 Hearing
11/26/1924 J.O. Rudene, Skagit County Property Owner Testimony for 11/26/1924 Hearing
11/26/1924 H.L. Willis, Skagit River Improvement Committee Chairman Testimony for 11/26/1924 Hearing
1/31/1925 Preliminary Examination of Skagit River With A View To Control Of The Floods

This report relied heavily on the unpublished 1923 Stewart Report (See Stewart 1923 Report -- Retyped Version) and the people of Skagit County have been paying for it ever since.     ". . .the levees, to protect as much land as possible, were placed too close to the river on both sides, thus unduly restricting the channel.  A flood volume exceeding about 140,000 cfs below Sedro Woolley is likely to cause a breach in the levees.  A volume in excess of this, if retained in the floodway by higher levees, would endanger the bridge of the Great Northern Railway. . ."  . . .  "Floods of from 210,000 to 220,000 cfs may be expected about once every 25 years."  . . . "Diversion of the river would be possible at some point below Sedro Woolley, the diversion channel to run generally west into Padilla Bay."  . . .  Discharge and other data of value in connection with a study of plans for flood control are found in USGS WSP's and in an uncompleted report on Skagit River floods prepared by Mr. J.B. Stewart, of the USGS, jointly for that bureau and Skagit County, a copy of which has been furnished this office.  . . .  "No freight boats now go above Mount Vernon."  . . . "The Skagit River delta contains some of the richest farming land in the State."  100 year flood at Sedro-Woolley = 264,000 cfs.  500 year flood = 321,000 cfs. 

NOTE:  See also Notice and Minutes of Public Hearing In Connection With Preliminary Examination of "Skagit River, Washington, With A View To The Control Of Its Floods" Directed By Flood Control Act of May 31, 1924; Robert E.L. Knapp, Skagit County Engineer, Testimony for 11/26/1924 Hearing; H.L. Willis, Skagit River Improvement Committee Chairman Testimony for 11/26/1924 Hearing.

2/8/1928

Preliminary Examination of the Skagit River

"Complete discharge data are not available.  . . .. The lower river is affected by the tide to the Great Northern Railway bridge, about 17 miles above its mouth. . . . In the early days what was known as the "Old Main River" was the principal channel.  . . . In accordance with an agreement between Skagit County and the United States Geological Survey, that department has made an extensive study of the flood flow in the Skagit Valley. The report has not yet been completed, but copies of portions of it have been furnished this office. . . . The channel is also restricted by the bridges above Mount Vernon and particularly at the Great Northern Railway bridge, whichis located immediately below a right-angled bend. The dike above this bridge was broken and the railway track to Burlington was washed out during the floods of 1909,1917, and 1921, the water flowing across country to Padilla Bay along the general direction of what was apparently a former river channel.
5/1/1928 Corps of Engineers Skagit River Report to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors

See paragraph #43 on page 2 - the same measures discussed in 2008 and 2009 were discussed 80 years ago.

5/18/1928 MFR Re: Potential Dam Locations “Document identifies potential dam sites and gage locations on the Skagit and other rivers.  “The Dalles on the Skagit River.  A site for a low head dam, which would back the water up to the tailwater of Baker River plant.”
3/17/1932 Skagit River Flood Control River Enlargement and Dikes Proposal to provide for flood discharge of 220,000 cfs.  Water surface elevation 42 feet.  It was found to be impractical to confine the improvement to a system of dikes and channel enlargement.  Channel at BNSF RR Bridge would have to be widened 900 ft.  Near old highway 99 600 ft.    Again the Corps recognizes the Stewart Report as unpublished.
5/18/1932 Report on the Skagit River, Corps of Engineers, Seattle District One of the most detailed reports ever authored about the Skagit River.  Relied upon "An unpublished and incomplete report on Skagit river floods by Mr. J.E. Stewart, of the USGS, prepared in cooperation with Skagit County", to determine flood flows.
10/16/1936 Map and Plans of 1936 Avon Bypass Proposal Map showing proposed location as well as structures planned to aid creation of Avon Bypass.  Idea included widening what is known today as 3-Bridge Corridor between Burlington & Mt. Vernon.
5/29/1937 Preliminary Examination of Skagit River & Tributaries The majority of this report uses the same verbiage as the 5/18/1932 Report including but not limited to population and rainfall figures.  "Local interests do not desire the construction of the by-peas at this time because of the large contribution required of them by the terms of the flood Control Act".  (pg 1)  . . .  It is pointed out in paragraphs 60 and 117, however, that during flood periods Skagit River overflows its bank downstream from Sedro Woolley and inundates a large portion of the delta, the flood waters returning to Puget Sound through many sloughs and small channels discharging into Skagit, Padilla and Samish Bays. (pg 10)  In 1923, Mr. J. E. Stewart, of the United States Geological Survey, collected data for, and partially completed, a report on Skagit River, jointly for his department and for Skagit County.  (pg 17)  . . .  Built without a comprehensive and coordinated plan, many of the dikes are poorly designed and improperly located. In an effort to enclose as much land as possible the dikes have been placed close to the river bank with little or no consideration given to alignment, river sections or other element entering into the proper design of such a system.  As a result frequent breakws, due to overtopping and to undermining of river banks and dikes, have occurred.  (pg 36)
7/30/1940

Report on Survey For Flood Control of Skagit River and Tributaries

" . . .local interests are now unable to provide the required cooperation and that no modification of the physical features of the project will so reduce the cost to local interests as to make it possible for them to supply the required cooperation at this time."  (pg 1) 

". . .the February 1932 flood at The Dalles was measured as 147,000 second-feet, with a run-off during the 3 days of highest discharge of 602,000 acre-feet. It has been estimated that, if Shannon and Diablo reservoirs had not been in operation, the crest discharge at The Dalles would have been about 182,000 secondfeet, . . . (¶50 pg 18)  1940 LAND VALUES as determined in 1930 =". . .an average of $208 an acre." (¶56 pg 30)  The spring flood of 1894, which destroyed crops valued at $1,500,000, prompted the settlers to extend their system of dikes. The flood of 1897 washed out the roadbed of the Great Northern Railway between Burlington and Sedro-Woolley, flooded part of Mount Vernon, and caused a heavy loss of livestock and property above Concrete. The flood of 1906 caused a loss of $250,000.. The discharge at Sedro-Woolley during the 1897 flood was slightly greater than for the flood of 1906, so the damages resulting from the 1897 flood were probably on the order of $300,000. The flood of 1909 caused damages conservatively estimated at $1,500,000. It ruined many farms, destroyed several hundred head of livestock and washed out many miles of dikes and drainage ditches ,. The Great Northern Railway embankment between Burlington and Mount Vernon was washed away and serious damage done to the State highway, That part of Mount Vernon west of the river was entirely flooded.  (¶59 pgs 30-31)  River Improvement Fund -- "The work done by Mr. Stewart was also paid for from this fund."  On March 2, 1937 " . . . county officials stated that the county's financial position was such that it would be impossible at that time for the county to furnish the local cooperation required for the construction of the Avon By-pass as authorized under the existing project."  (¶77 pg 39)  It is estimated that a channel from Sedro-Woolley to Skagit Bay via the North Fork of Skagit River, adequate to carry safely a discharge of 220,000 second-feet, would require the excavation of approximately 56,000,000 cubic yards of material, and the acquisition of about 3,000 acres of agricultural land for right-of-way. (¶103 pg 47)  "...these same flood waters, under present conditions, reach Padilla Bay after flowing overland, . . ."  (¶110 pg 49)

12/1940 Flood Control Economic Justification Study Avon Bypass and Extension of Dikes to Sedro Woolley --Appraisal of Damages 1815 H.W. and 1921 H.W. -- Skagit River West of and Including Sedro-Woolley Samish River Delta -- Portions of Volume I General Appraisal Data and Maps December 1940 The document preparation began in 9/1940 and Volume 1 was completed 12/1940.  All 13 volumes were  7/1950.  "This appraisal of the Skagit River and Samish River Deltas is an estimate of damages that would result from a flood of equal magnitude and duration as the one of December, 1921, under present conditions. It is based on a peak discharge of 210,000 cu. ft. per sec. of the Skagit River near Sedro Woolley. "  . . . "GNRR 1921 H.W. mark on third pier north of steel truse" -- 37.4(pg 102)  1921 Flood Levels in Burlington 1921 H.W. 33.2 Spruce and Greenleaf  meaning water 2 feet deep -- 1921 HW 36.5 Holly & Fairhaven meaning water 2 feet deep -- 1921 H.W. 28.8  Garl (Burl Blvd) & Avon Water .2 in deep (pg 126)
See also: 6/15/1942 Appendix B to 1940 Report on Survey for Flood Control of Skagit River & Tributaries
6/15/1942 Appendix B to 1940 Report on Survey for Flood Control of Skagit River & Tributaries Appendix documents work performed by the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.)  These projects consisted of brush revetment work in the Burlington Bend area, which began in November 1935.  "A considerable amount of damage to the various revetment units has been inflicted by log raft operations on the river in connection with logging activities being carried on in this area."
See also: 7/30/1940 Report on Survey For Flood Control of Skagit River and Tributaries
4/22/1949

Letter to Skagit County re importance of Dalles Gage

Letter documents the importance of the gage at The Dalles in Concrete.
12/21/1949 Report on Skagit River Flood 27-28 November 1949 "Skagit River near Concrete rose from a flow of 30,000 cfs to a peak of 158,000 cfs in approximately 24 hours."  . . . Interruption of secondary highway travel on some of the lower valley roads begins when Skagit River flows reach about 67,000 cfs near MV." ... ". . .crest discharge of 158,000 cfs near Concrete is the maximum observed since 13 Dec 1921.. ."  $51,000 damage in Hamilton.  Levee breaks on Fir Island, Dodge Valley Road, Mill Town Levee broke.  Diablo and Shannon reservoirs had no effect on the flood because they were full at the time.  Ross had plenty of storage and held everything for five days.  Reduction at MV was estimated at 25,000 cfs. which reached a peak of 112,000 cfs.
1/5/1950 Letter to Skagit County Government Requesting Flood Fight Mapping “The Seattle District is reviewing its maps of the Skagit Valley in order to incorporate therein data which might be of assistance during flood-fighting operations.”

See Also: 1/7/1950 Reply to Corps Request for Flood Fight Mapping
1/11/1950 Corps of Engineers Involvement in Skagit River Flood Control Affairs “It appears unlikely that any project can be recommended in which the local cost will be small, and therefore if effective control of floods is to be realized in the Skagit Valley, a good measure of local financial support is needed.”
2/01/1950 Report on Derivation of Standard Project Flood

“Standard project flood was determined to be 440,000 cfs. … The standard project flood was derived for natural river conditions and assumes no regulation by the dams.”

2/15/1950 Elevations of Skagit River Gages NGVD 29 levels for Skagit River gages.
5/24/1950 Letter to Skagit County Farm Bureau, Re: Dredging “There has been very little additional material deposited in the river during the past 18 years between the south and Mt. Vernon. ... Dredging a cut-off at the mouth of the North Fork or dredging an outlet along the present path of the river from the south to deep water cannot lover flood stages at that point below the stage which would be experienced at high tide with normal flows.”
1/24/1951 Letter to Congressman "Scoop" Jackson, Re: 12/26/1950 Letter from Skagit County Farm Bureau Discussion of various diking projects for Skagit River.

See Also: 12/26/1950 Skagit County Farm Bureau Letter to Congressman Henry "Scoop" Jackson
2/16/1951 Dike Dist. Letter to Seattle District Engineer, Re: Plans to dam off Dry Slough “It has come to the attention of the commissioners that there is a project considered in your office to dam off Dry Slough at the point of "intersection" of this slough with the north fork of the Skagit. We must advise the engineer that the undersigned commissioners are in opposition to such a procedure and desire to place our objection on record and to request a hearing in the event the proposal is further pursued.”
2/28/1951 Skagit River – Rough Estimate of Flood Damages from Sedro-Woolley to Mouth of Skagit River This is a wonderful historical document drafted for the purpose of computing the 1951 flood damages however it also contains detailed information on the floods of 1949, 1932, and 1921.  What it clearly shows us is the reliance on the James E. Stewart data 10 years before it was published.
6/21/1951 Status of Emergency Repairs to Levees in the Skagit Flats Area, Washington Four months after 1951 flood, “Authorized emergency flood control repairs in Skagit Flats, Washington, have been completed by this office.”
10/3/1951 Ltr to Corps of Engineers, Re: Expansion of Dike District 12 “We are attempting to bring additional area into this Diking District, including the City of Burlington, which now has no adequate dike protection and which is not within the aforesaid Dike District.”
12/7/1951 Ltr re: Mount Vernon Revetment Impact on Flood Levels Corps of Engineers reassures upstream dike districts rock revetment in front of Downtown Mount Vernon has no impact on their flood stages.
2/21/1952 Report on Survey for Flood Control of Skagit River and Tributaries “The existing reservoirs are not effective in preventing major flooding in the Skagit Valley, Diablo Reservoir is ordinarily maintained at a high level by Ross storage and has no flood storage, Shannon Lake is likewise held at a high level if stream flow permits, but an incidental degree of minor flood protection might be available if the reservoir should be drawn down because of deficient run-off before a flood, Ross Reservoir above Diablo has a large amount of storage, primarily for power, but the Federal Power Commission has required a reservation of winter flood control storage space. Studies are under way to determine the amount of such storage, and it is believed that it will not exceed 200,000 acre-feet. Because of its far upstream location Ross Reservoir storage cannot greatly reduce major floods on the lower Skagit River, The effectiveness of Ross storage in reducing peak discharges depends upon location of the storm center and other variable storm characteristics, Estimates based on average conditions indicate that crest reductions varying between 15,000 and 25,000 second-feet may be expected at Sedro Woolley.”
2/21/1952 Excerpts from Report on Survey for Flood Control of Skagit River and Tributaries Paragraphs suggest a design of 250,000 CFS at Mount Vernon.  Skagit County failed to reconcile those statements here with their record of 11 floods from 1896 to 1960 with a flood volume of 100,000 CFS to 195,000 CFS, proving the hydrology of the Skagit River was in question as early as fifty years ago.

See: Ltr to Colonel R.P. Young, US COE, Seattle District, Re: Legislative Council Meeting
2/21/1952 Appendix to Report on Survey for Flood Control of SKAGIT RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES, WASHINGTON Excellent description of the Standard Project Flood and current (as in 1952) potential dam sites.
5/11/1952 Skagit River Report, Re: Future Skagit River Dams & Flood Storage Calculations on the amount of acre-feet necessary to eliminate Skagit River Flood Risk.
8/19/1952 Letter to Division Engineer Declares Avon By-Pass "Inactive".
12/18/1952 Memo Re: Report on Survey for Flood Control of Skagit River and Tributaries, Washington Memo on potential further damming of the Skagit River and its tributaries.
1/6/1960 MFR re meeting with Skagit County Officials The Colonel informed the group that the Corp anticipated “a new Congressional resolution authorizing the Corps to make a restudy of the Skagit River flood control problem".
2/3/1961 USACE Seattle District  Plan of Survey Skagit River Flood Control Study  With regulation at Ross and Upper Baker Dams, a 150,000 cfs flow at SW has a frequency of about 25 years. ... Flows of 210,000 cfs at SW have frequencies of about 200 years under existing conditions.  (NOTE:  REMEMBER THIS IS BEFORE ADDITIONAL STORAGE BEHIND UPPER BAKER.) ... damages from flows of this magnitude would total about $6,600,000.  ...  objective of this study is to find the most economically feasible solutions.
See also: Public Hearing on Flood Control for the Skagit River Basin, 8 February 1961
2/8/1961 Summary of Public Hearing on Flood Control The Bypass project was favored by the Dept of Game and Fisheries because it would have no effect on the existing Skagit River fishery resources.”
2/8/1961 Public Hearing on Flood Control for the Skagit River Basin, 8 February 1961

I am particularly interested in securing information on the nature and scope of the flood control improvements desired; the problems and difficulties encountered under the present conditions, and the proposed developments which would utilize the desired improvements that you would suggest.” (Col. Young, US Army Corps of Engineers)

4/1/1961 MFR Re: Field Reconnaissance, Skagit River Flood Control Survey “Mr. Johnson of the County Engineer's Office stated that boils have occurred in at least the following locations: (1) Riverbend area, rivermile 16, on the left bank; (2) North of West side (Mount Vernon); (3) South of West side; (4) Rivermile 7.2 on the right bank of North Fork; (5) Rivermile 9 on the right bank of North Fork.”
6/20/1961 Public Notice NO. P-61-73 “...There are no longer any commercial vessels navigating on this waterway which cannot pass beneath the bridges while in the closed position. None of these bridges have been required to be opened for navigation since 1959, and in two instances the bridges have not been opened since 1947.”
7/13/1962 Estimate of Public Values Skagit River Flood Plain “50-Year Trend. - Assuming the completion of a flood control project, the cities will expand rapidly into the flood plain with residential sections and outlying shopping centers.  Projecting a very slow, steady growth for the Puget Sound Region, the flats around Mt. Vernon and Burlington will be in great demand as all available coastal uplands will be utilized for residential use near dispersed industrial sites along the coast.”
10/2/1962 Letter to Division Engineer re Avon Bypass Total construction cost were estimated to be $19,000,000 with a $4,000,000 local share.
12/18/1962 Memo to Division Engineer, Re: Levee Repair, Cockreham Island, Skagit River, Washington “The breached levee is about one mile long, has a 10-foot crest, 1 on 1.5 side slopes and is high enough to protect against a flood having a frequency of about 20 years. It was built by a group of farmers some 20 years ago, appears to be adequately maintained by Skagit County, and except for the breach is in excellent condition.
12/31/1962 Memo to Division Engineer, Re: Protection of South Skagit Highway “The damage was caused by the deepening and widening of the old slough and was augmented by a temporary bridge recently constructed by a logging contractor. A debris jam collected on the upstream side of the temporary bridge causing eddies and diversion of the flow to the left bank. Prior to the flood, the roadway embankment was in good condition and had been riprapped at various locations, including the reaches just upstream and downstream from the damaged section. There is no previous Corps of Engineers work at or near the erosion area.”
1/18/1963 Feasibility Report, Skagit River, Washington (Navigation)

NOTE TO REVIEWER:  This is a very poor copy of the original and very difficult to read.  It helps to enlarge it to 125-150%.  This document looked at the history of a navigation project between Mt. Vernon and Concrete originally authorized by Congress on May 13, 1947.  The final results are in this report as well as a lot of statistical history on logging and local businesses.

"Tug operators advised that a 100-ft channel width and a 6 foot depth would be sufficient for foreseeable navigation requirements." (13) ... Approx 1,520,000 CY of material would be dredged. (15 & 21)  Estimated that annual maintenance dredging would consist of 380,000 CY.  (22b)  Two mills at SW sell annually, an average of 10,500,000 board-feet of lumber to the US Army. (27)  Total annual benefits of barge canal would be $592,000. (28)  Annual cost $474,000. (29) Amt needed to complete study $45,000. (30) The Skagit River navigation study has been authorized and intermittently underway since 1947 In view of this fact ... an effort should be made to complete the study as soon as practicable.  ... $15,000 needed to complete the study be allocated early in fiscal year 1964. (31)

See also Dredging Issue page for related documents and 4/12/1949 Minutes on Public Hearing on Skagit River, Washington, Relating to Navigation
3/20/1963 Corps MFR re Grandy Creek "Considerable opposition from State Fishery agencies to removal of log jams."  "The creek has widened to several times its normal width in the lower reach."
5/10/1963 Corps Inspection Report of County Flood Protection Works Document shows Skagit County was involved in flood control projects from Fir Island to above Concrete at Jackman Creek.
6/19/1963 Corps MFR re meeting in Burlington on Dredging of Skagit River (for navigation) '. . . navigation (project) extending downstream from Concrete to the Mt. Vernon area."  ". . . A depth of 6 feet would be provided for a river low of 9,000 cfs."  "...no united opposition from fishery interests on the proposed project. 
7/17/1963 MFR Corps Visit to Skagit County "Skagit County Engineer. . . recommended that the 1921 flood be considered for inclusion in the report. . ."  . . . "new developments encroaching on the flood plain."  . . . "Ben Martin, a MV real estate broker . . . was not familiar with the flood plain zoning concept."  Mr. A. S. Poison, Vice President of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association, the Valley's largest lender, was not familiar with flood plain zoning.  Dike District Commissioners --- info on dike breaks, maintenance practices, levee costs and year of construction, ...did not keep records of these things and the accuracy of their memories was doubtful.
8/1/1963 Lower Sauk River Dam Analysis & Pertinent Data Analysis of power requirements for potential dam on the Sauk River encompassing 712,000 acre-feet of which 200,000 acre-feet was to be used for flood control storage.
9/5/1963 Letter to Corps from Wash. Fly Fishing Club re Dredging "An estimated 30% of the steelhead in the Skagit spawn below Concrete."  The club is "concerned that a Skagit river barge channel will endanger important spawning beds for steelhead as well as salmon."
9/17/1963 MFR re 8/26/63 Corps meeting with locals re Avon Bypass The Corp attended a meeting in Burlington with approximately 50 residents owning property in the vicinity of the proposed Bypass.  Opposition to the project was based on cost, considered it a “pork barrel project” and that it would not eliminate flooding.
9/30/1963

7th District Congressman ltr to Corps re Sauk River Dam

"This proposed project would involve the building of a dam some four and a half miles above the mouth of the Sauk River. Construction of this dam would result in the destruction of a large portion of our King Salmon and Steelhead spawning grounds."
9/30/1963

List of Corps Mtgs held re Avon By-Pass

7/12/62-- 100% favorable--Best flood control project ever proposed for Skagit County.  9/30/63  Lone Star Cement Co changed plans and GNRR would lose most of their traffic if navigation became a fact. 
10/7/1963 Differences Between 1951 and 1963 Flood Damage Appraisals 200,000 cfs at SW = 1951 125 yr event; 1963 26.3 yr event
240,000 cfs at SW = 1951 500 yr event; 1963 52.6 yr event
278,000 cfs at SW = 1951 200 yr event; 1963 100 yr event
10/7/1963 DRAFT Corps ltr to Congressman re flood control planning for Skagit County Page 2 contains a paragraph citing Stewart's flood flows at Sedro Woolley.  In the final letter dated 10/21/63 those flood flows were deleted.
10/21/1963 Letter to Westland re Avon Bypass Corps advised Westland that there was no outstanding opposition to Avon Bypass.
10/23/1963 Ltr to Senator Jackson From G.A. Flanary re Avon By-Pass "This Avon By-Pass smacks of a typical pork-barrel, patronage, buy-vote deal that is becoming the trade mark of our times.  Believe me, people are in rebellion against big-government do-goodism.  Our neighbors of both political persuasions are of the same mind."
10/31/1963 Corps Internal Memorandum re Cost of Avon Bypass $23,202,000 with a local share of $4,141,000
11/1963

USACOE Avon Bypass Reactivation Report

Unregulated 100yr fld 250,000 to 300,000 cfs (pg 2); The 35-year level of flood protection provided by the Avon Bypass with levee and channel improvements would protect against 79 percent of average annual flood damages under present conditions.  These flood damages are 75 percent agricultural and only 25 percent urban.  Therefore, the project is now required essentially for the protection of agricultural lands, and the 35-year level of protection is well suited to present development.  . . .  The semi-pervious foundation conditions preclude any general raising of levees without extensive broadening of the levee sections, construction of cutoffs to reduce seepage, and relocation of the road systems adjacent to the levee system. (pg 4)  To achieve the same results as the Bypass and levee improvements, the channel would have to be widened from 300 to 600 feet from the downstream limits of Sedro Woolley to the mouth of the river, a distance of over 20 miles.  (pg 6)  ... At Mt. Vernon the 1932 flood of 140,000 c.f.s. has a 12-year frequency; the 1921 flood of 182,000 c.f.s. has a 30-year frequency; and a flood of 245,000 c.f.s, would have a 100-year frequency.  ... 278,000 at SW (Table 2)
11/08/1963 Ltr to Senator Jackson in response to ltr fm C.A. Flanery "We have considered dredging and found it to be infeasible..."  . . . "Our studies to date have confirmed that flood control measures are urgently needed in the Skagit River Valley." ... "Benefit to cost ratio estimated to be about 2 to 1."  ... Avon Bypass would increase protection from a present average 5-yr flood to 30-year flood frequency.
See also: 10/23/1963 Ltr to Senator Jackson From G.A. Flanary re Avon By-Pass
11/12/1963

MFR-Skagit River Navigation Project

MFR deals with off the record meetings with local officials re dredging for navigation project.  100 FT wide, 6 ft. deep channel from Concrete to Puget Sound, 9,000 cfs discharge.
11/19/1963

MFR Downstream levee inspection

Describes existing rip rap.
11/20/1963

Ltr to Corps fm Rainbow Anglers Club re dredging

Club was opposed to dredging and "any future proposals for dams."
11/22/1963 Corps Avon Bypass Plan Informational Bulletin Plan would create a 8 mile long cold clear lake. U.S. Fish and Wildlife developed resident trout fisheries in Bypass. Minimum flow of 100 cfs required. Lower section of Bypass would be used for migratory fish rearing.
11/22/1963

MFR re mtg with Skagit Officials

Corps discussed long range flood control "either by upstream storage or bypass".  "A motion to support the Avon Bypass was passed."
12/3/1963

Ltr to Corp fm Wa. State Parks & Recreation endorsing the Avon Bypass concept.

"Please be advised that the Commission went on record saying that, "they believed that the Avon Bypass area has a great recreational potential, and Congress should be so informed."
12/6/1963

MFR re moving intake for Avon By Pass.

This MFR shows how things really get done in Skagit County.  "Lloyd Johnson, Skagit County Engineer visited the office on 5 December.  He requested that we relocate the entrance to the Bypass about 1,500 feet to the south.  His reason was to take advantage of lower value right-of-way and to placate an influential property owner located at the present entrance."
12/16/1963 U.S. Army Corps letter to BCC re Avon Bypass and local cooperation “The Avon Bypass, together with minor levee improvement downstream of the Bypass, would increase flood protection in the area below Burlington for a flood with recurrence of once in 30 years. For the 1951 flood the Bypass would have lowered flood stages 3 to 5 feet in the Skagit River and 2 to 4 feet in the North and South Forks of the Skagit River.”
See also: 1/4/1964 Skagit County Ltr to Col Perry fm Skagit County re recreational benefits of Avon Bypass
12/20/1963

Memo Routing Slip/MRS re storage in Nookachamps

"The reduction in peak discharge . . . btwn SW and MtV for peaks of 150,000 and 400,000 cfs is approximately 15,000 and 25,000 cfs respectively."
12/31/1963 Ltr to Corps fm Wa State Hwy Commission re Avon Bypass Evidently WSDOT has the elevation of the 1909 flood event with respect to state highways.  "In all but one instance, we find that these highways have either been reconstructed within the last six of seven years or will be reconstructed within the next three of four years.  Plans for this reconstruction work provide for elevation of the highwys above the 1909 flood elevation."
1/3/1964

Memo to Portland District fm Seattle District re Reactivation Report for Avon Bypass

The lower Sauk River is the only location in the Skagit River basin at which major upstream storage is possible. At such time as other multiple purpose uses for storage require development of the Sauk site, sufficient flood control storage could be included to increase the 30-year protection that would be provided by the bypass and improved levee system to more than 100-year protection.  
1/9/1964  Daily Log Engineering Division Basin Planning Branch re Avon Bypass mtg with State Representatives The State representatives appeared to have a mildly hostile attitude about the Bypass and were reluctant to indicate that State assistance might become available to the County in meeting the local cooperation requirements. They voiced a number of concerns such as, they had not been advised of the comprehensive nature of the planning, the information bulletins were too promotional, the work should not be undertaken piecemeal, etc. 
1/10/1964 Exhibit #19 submitted to the Corps from the Bay View--Padilla Civic Association re Avon Bypass The Civic Association had many questions concerning the Bypass.   "Summing up our point of view, we would state that the recreational and fishing aspects are not needed, that they would prove costly, and that the Avon Bypass itself is detrimental to the best recreational interests of the County."
1/22/1964 Basin Description and Summary of Corps of Engineers Investigations, Skagit River, Washington Great documentation with respect to population, land valuation, employment, logging, and manufacturing in the 1960's plus past efforts by the Corp.  ,  "Encroaching on the agricultural land are the urban communities of Burlington, LaConner, end part of Mount Vernon, occupying a total of 1,270 acres." . . . 100 yr  flood = 278,000 cfs at Sedro Woolley. . . The raising of the levee system to increase the degree of flood protection is not feasible because of these adverse foundation conditions.  . . .  Under average conditions Ross Dem storage will reduce flood crests by 15,000 to 25,000 c.f.s. at Sedro Woolley.
1/31/1964 Corps Ltr to Senator Jackson re: Citizen Concerns The individual (Mrs. John Swisher), felt there was "mutual interest" between flood control advocates developers at Padilla Bay and Samish Island.  Corps manipulates information to Senator.  Left out any mention of the 725 signatures on a petition in opposition to the Bypass.  However, Seattle District corrected this in a letter dated 3/30/1964.  (See 3/30/1964 Corps letter to Senator Jackson re Avon Bypass)
1/31/1964

MFR RE: Public Water Supplies in Skagit County

Great history of the PUD, Anacortes Water Treatment Plant and refineries.   PUD - “As of 1960 the total capacity of their system was 10 mgd”  . . .  “food processing plants in Mt. Vernon and Burlington use in excess of 4 mgd”  . . .  Anacortes purchased their system in 1919...was granted water rights to Skagit in 1902 . . . pumping plant built at Avon in 1928.  Naval Air Station used 2.5 mgd.
3/19/1964 MFR re visit to Skagit County Corps officials take pictures of "buildings encroaching on the flood plain.  " We traced the alignment of a future State highway between Interstate Highway 5 and Anacortes from drawings of the Skagit County Engineer.  We also attempted to get a copy of a County flood fighting plan from the Civil Defense Director. Mr. Dahlstad was not in his office, but his assistant said they have no evacuation plan. Their only plan with regard to flooding is a siren alarm system intended to cover the entire flood plain. The County Engineer has complete control over flood fighting operations for the County.
3/30/1964 Corps letter to Senator Jackson re Avon Bypass Corps justifies Avon Bypass plan despite local opposition.  Stated that 180,000 cfs flood was a 30 year event.  In 1990 & 1995 we had 157,000 cfs and they called that a 35 year event.
5/13/1964 Corps Seattle District MFR to Portland District re Reactivation Report, Avon Bypass It appears that funding was a major problem back in 1964 like it is today.  "We are certain that in other interim report submissions now planned, no other basin will have a comprehensive plan more specific than that for the Skagit River at this time.  . . .   With respect to the Reactivation Report, we have modified our proposed funding schedule to reduce the initial year's requirements from $400,000 to $80,000.  This change has been made to undertake alignment studies necessary to establish a firm basis for local participation costs as the first item of work. After this determination is made, local interests will hold an election to vote on a bond issue to underwrite their costs. Until a positive affirmation of local interest capability for participation is received, we do not plan to undertake further studies. This revision adds one year to the completion time shown in the Reactivation Report schedule.
5/26/1964 MFR re Revision to Water Surface Profiles, Flood Plain Information Study 200-year flood = 310,000 cfs at Concrete, 325,000 cfs at SW, 290,000 cfs at Mt. Vernon.  50-year flood 225,000 Concrete, 235,000 SW, 210,000 Mt. Vernon
7/7/1964 MFR re Gages Lake Part of Gages Lake (a/k/a Goose Lake) was included within the Avon Bypass.  Corps wanted to utilize as part of recreational component.  
7/8/1964  MFR re Frequency Curves The Flood Plain Information Report will be published at about the same time as the Interim Report, but will contain conflicting information.   Mr. Gedney stated that he did not believe this situation would cause any problem as the two reports would have much different distribution.  
9/8/1964   Disposition Form re: Preliminary Sauk River storage determinations a. Storage in the amount of 134,000 acre-feet is required in the Sauk River Reservoir to control a 100-year flood to 180,000 c.f.s. at Mt. Vernon.
b. A 30-year flood, requiring 130,000 acre-feet of storage in Sauk River Reservoir, is the maximum flood that can be controlled to 120,000 c.f.s. at Mt. Vernon.
c. A 10-year flood, requiring 77,000 acre-feet of storage in the Sauk River Reservoir, is the maximum flood that can be controlled to 91,000 c.f.s. at Mt. Vernon.  
12/18/1964 Disposition Form Re: Hydrologic Studies
“The U.S.G.S. has maintained a discharge station on the Skagit River near Mount Vernon, Washington since October 1940. This gage is located on the downstream side of U.S. Highway 99 bridge. Between 1941 and 1962 the stages for flows below 30,000 cfs have raised about 2.0 feet.  For flood stages the rating curves are not so well defined, but it is estimated that there has been an increase of about 1.5 feet.”
2/1/1965

Ltr to Corps from George Dynes

Supported construction of Avon Bypass.  Invited Corps to Burlington City Council meeting where his brother was a councilman. 
2/17/1965 MFR re Corps meetings in Burlington re Avon Bypass Document contains great questions and answers concerning the flood issue.  Prior to mtg had "secret" dinner with County Commissioners and was assured of County cooperation..  "There was a hard core of about 3 or 4 persons, including Mr. Mapes of Diking District 12, who completely oppose the Bypass."  . . . "Removal of the dikes on Fir Island would only have a minor effect on flood stages in the vicinity of Mount Vernon." Cost made project prohibitive.
4/2/1965 Corps MFR Addressing Questions Raised at a Public Meeting on 3/29/65 Only 45 Skagit County residents attended the meeting.  List of those are attached to MFR.  Appears to be mostly dike district commissioners.  Example:  Question: If you levee off the Nookachamp Creek Area, how can you be assured that it will be available when we require it in a flood emergency?  Answer: The right to flood would be made a legal part of the agreement turning over the project to local interests to operate. The right to flood this type of project has been utilized many times in flood control projects of the Mississippi River.
See Also: 5/5/2011 Southeast Missourian: Floodway long a source of legal contention, 5/6/2011 Time.com After Birds Point: The Army Corps’ Missouri Floodway Boondoggle, 5/13/2011 WWLTV.com: People in bayou communities prepare for flooding from swollen river  and 5/13/2011 WWLTV.com: 'What gives them the right to flood us?' asks Gibson woman,
6/24/1965 Ltr to Corps fm State Dept of Conservation re Burlington Edison School District Elementary School Construction "On the basis of your information, we are recommending that the Burlington-Edison School District plan on building their proposed elementary school at an elevation of 25 feet above mean sea level, which will give them a 3-foot safety level above the 50-year flood level."
7/9/1965 Series of MFRs & Letters Mostly Addressing 8 Possible Dam Sites and Impacts of Wild and Scenic River Act 7/9/65 8 sites were Cascade River, Lower Suiattle River; Upper Suiattle River; Upper Sauk River; Lower Sauk River; Cooper Creek; Thunder Creek; and Faber site (on Skagit about 6 miles upstream from Baker River).  7/1/65  "A decision to commit a portion o the river basin to a Wild (and Scenic) River category appears premature at this time.  6/18/65 "One hundred year flood protection is vitally necessary for continued progress in Skagit county. 6/29/65 The purpose of this meeting was to inform Seattle Light representatives of our proposed upstream storage studies in the Skagit River basin, determine sites at which City Light has made studies, and obtain data on power studies made by the city. 4/7/65  Ltr fm private engineering company to Corps re Cape Horn.
See also: 8/12/1965 DF re Skagit River Upstream Storage Geologic Reconnaissance
7/15/1965 Ltr from Corps to Skagit County Board of Commissioners re Flood Control & Other Improvements Report "I am pleased to enclose two copies of this report for your use."  . . ."I believe completion of the report is an important first step in the development of a comprehensive flood control plan for the Skagit River basin. The improvements recommended, in combination with the authorized Avon Bypass, would provide more than 35-year protection for nearly all of the flood plain downstream from Sedro Woolley, Washington. As part of our continuing comprehensive studies for the Skagit River basin, we hope to develop a plan that will ultimately provide 100-year flood protection for the basin flood plain."
8/9/1965 Ltr to Corps fm State Dept. of Commerce & Economic Development RE: Comprehensive Planning Evidently the BCC didn't communicate very well with the planning department in 1965.  According to this letter the planning department still had not reviewed the Corps study referenced in the 7/15/1965 Corps letter.  "The County Planner indicated to us that, as yet, he has not seen the Corps' report."
8/12/1965

DF re Skagit River Upstream Storage Geologic Reconnaissance

"This report covers certain geologic phases of upstream storage -sites as viewed on a 5-day reconnaissance by Messrs. A. S. Cary, F&M Branch and W. R. McKinley, Project Planning Branch, into the Skagit drainage area."  . . . The Skagit Valley far upstream has a depth of fill near 500 feet and if the rock floors of the Sauk and Skagit are concordant, the depth is well below sea level."
See also: 7/9/1965 Series of MFRs & Letters Mostly Addressing 8 Possible Dam Sites and Impacts of Wild and Scenic River Act
8/31/1965 Corps Ltr to Clear Lake Resident RE: Erosion Problems "We recognize the damage that bank erosion does to adjacent lands and improvements, but the Corps of Engineers under its authorities for assistance in flood emergencies and in small flood control projects cannot undertake bank protection except for protection of a public facility. We appreciate that the Avon Bypass and proposed levee and channel improvements set forth in our current survey report will not have much effect upstream of Sedro Woolley, but they are a most important first step in flood protection of the 68,000 acres of valuable land in the Skagit River delta."
9/1965 Ltr fm Seattle District to Portland District re GNRR Request to Make Bridge #36 A Fixed Bridge Seattle wanted guidance on how to respond to GNRR request to make the bridge a fixed bridge.  Elevations cited in the letter appear to be questionable.
9/7/1965 Corps letter to Congressman Meeds re Avon Bypass Extensive letter justifying the Bypass concept.  Addresses why dredging won't work and setback levees too expensive.
1/15/1966 MFR re mtg in MV re Recreational Benefits of Avon Bypass Corps and Bureau of Outdoor Recreation met with Skagit County Parks Board.  Addressed dredging, Ross Dam Storage and support for recreational element of Bypass plan.
2/7/1966 MFR re levee raising instead of Avon Bypass Corps explored the possibility of abandoning the Avon Bypass in favor of increased levees. The County engineer had “no objections” to a levee alternative if the “blowout problem” could be solved.
3/1/1966 Supplement to Review Report on Flood Control and Other Improvements on Skagit River, Wa., Corps of Engineers, Seattle District Report address a myriad of flood control options including dredging, widening channel, dredging the mouth of the river and levee raising.  
5/4/1966 Ltr to Seattle District fm Bureau of Outdoor Recreation re Status of Wild & Scenic Rivers Designations " In this case, we must consider the value of the Skagit River and its tributaries nationally as a unit of a National Wild River System as compared to the benefits a single project which could adversely affect the overall values involved."  ...  " we must consider the benefits of the Skagit as a unit of a National Wild River System as superior to those of the Lower Sauk Project.
6/7/1966 Corps DF re Avon By-Pass Skagit River Widening By widening the river in the 3 Bridge Corridor the 180,000 cfs profile was lowered to approx. 120,000 cfs.
6/8/1966 Corps DF re Estimate of Cost to Raise Railroad Tracks Total cost of two plans was $1,500,000.
6/14/1966 MFR re Alternatives to Avon Bypass The most feasible alternative to the Avon Bypass and downstream levee and channel improvement was found to be raising of existing levees. The cost was estimated at $27,400,000. That cost was $4,682,000 less than the Avon Bypass and downstream levee improvements which had soared from the original cost of $9,600,000 to $32,082,000.
7/1966 Flood Plain Information Study, Skagit River, Summary Report Draft 17 page summary report of the Technical Report performed by Corps on behalf of Washington State Department of Conservation (forerunner of Dept of Ecology).
7/12/1966 Corps MFR re Meeting With Washington State Legislative Interim Committee on Water Resources in Mt. Vernon "Purpose of the meeting was to acquaint the Committee with local flood control problems, plans and road blocks to flood control solutions.  This information will be used to draw up State Legislation to remove State laws that block flood control district mergers and provide legislation that would permit an expanded State policy on flood control."  . . . However, the Interim Committee of the State Legislature, Flood Control Districts, and the representatives of the Department of Conservation all failed to indicate any specific developing theme for planning of State assistance.
8/13/1966 MFR re meeting with Skagit County re Avon Bypass The Commissioners stated that the maximum contribution that Skagit County could make toward the proposed $6,000,000 local contribution was $2,000,000. This would be accomplished by a 2-mill levy on current property assessments. The Commissioners would only support the Avon Bypass project if it was approved by the voters and the diking districts would have to sponsor the project for the County.
8/23/1966 MFR re status of Avon Bypass Plan Corps twisted arm of State Government to threaten Skagit County with withdrawal of State "band-aid" approach to flood control unless they move forward on flood control.  "Skagit County facing a flood control crisis due to lack of a county-wide flood control plan.
8/25/1966 Corps letter to County re Avon Bypass Plan Letter clearly shows frustration factor Corps had in dealing with Skagit County.  "In effect, it appears that Skagit County is facing a crisis in their planning not only for maintenance of the existing levee system but for attaining a higher level of flood protection in the valley."
11/22/1966 CORP MFR re mtgs with local interest--Purpose of meetings were to answer questions re levee & channel improvements Meetings took place in Conway & Mt. Vernon.  18 people attended in Conway.  COE told locals that if money was appropriated in 1969 the project could be completed in 1972.  Widening the channel would cause bars to build up until high flows took them out.  Corps was informed about the "quicksand" in some areas.  Corps said they would study it.  Studies would begin as soon as Congress appropriates money.  16 people attended the MV mtg.  Local cost was estimated at $237,000.
1/4/1967 Daily Log re mtg with George Dynes Dynes told Corps about basin-wide commission for consideration of flood control and other water resource developments.  Dynes also wanted to use the Avon By-Pass for dumping water from the nuclear power plant so it could be used as irrigation water.
1/27/1967 CORPS ltr in response to 1/17/1967 ltr Corps let BCC know that they were willing to work with the committee.
2/3/1967 Corps Daily Log entry re telephone conversation with County Engineer Corps wanted new flood control committee to call itself the Water Resource Planning Committee rather than a Flood Control Committee so that it could start out with an objective of having a comprehensive look at all aspects of water resources planning rather than limit themselves to flood control.
2/15/1967 Ltr to Corps fm County re mtg with Water Resources Advisory Committee ("WRAC") County offers to take Corps personnel to dinner at Max Dales.
2/20/1967 DF re Meeting With Local Interests on Skagit River Basin Planning It was Corps idea to form Water Resources Committee.  One purpose of the committee was to form countywide Flood Control District for project sponsorship.
2/24/1967 Ltr to County fm Corps in response to 2/15/67 re mtg with Water Resources Advisory Committee Corps will attend mtg with Water Resources Advisory Committee and took County up on offer for dinner at Max Dales.
5/12/1967 MFR re County's Failure to Provide Public Notice re mtg with Advisory Committee County Engineer agreed to "attend to the matter at once".
5/13/1967 Legal Notice Published in SVH re Public Meeting with Corps "The levee and channel improvement project alone would increase the minimum level of flood protection on the Skagit River downstream from Burlington to once in only eight years.  The present expected occurrence is once in three years."
6/21/1967 MFR RE: "Field Visit" During High Flows Due To Snow Melt Concrete 70,000 cfs, Mt. Vernon 77,000 cfs.  People in Sedro Woolley wanted dam on the Sauk.  Nookachamp area was inundated by backwater from the main river.  "...residential homes that have been constructed in the flood plains from Sedro Woolley to Marblemount should have added consideration for flood control."
7/18/1967 MFR RE: Baker River storage "...if an exchange of power storage for flood control use is economically feasible now, it should be even more favorable in the future."
10/19/1967 MFR re Skagit County Commissioner Attempts to Form Countywide Flood Control District Corps wanted local funds in hand by January 1, 1967.  FCZD was not formed until 9/1/1970.  See Resolution re: Countywide Flood Control Zone District.
11/01/1967 DF re Maximization Study of Avon Bypass Bypass would have maximum benefits at 83,000 cfs.  . . . Benefits were based on 1963 study.
6/7/1968 Corps Draft Response to 5/14/1968 ltr to Senator Magnuson Re: New Building Regulations for Mt. Vernon Library "Executive Order 11296 of 10 August 1966 requires the heads of executive agencies to prevent uneconomic development of the Nation's flood plains, particularly in connection with Federal lands and installations and Federally financed or supported improvements."  . . .  "The architect has given the proposed finished floor elevation of the library as 22.18 feet above mean sea level. The elevation of the protecting levee in this area varies between elevations 28 and 30 feet above mean sea level. This levee is estimated to provide flood protection with adequate freeboard for a flood having a recurrence interval of once in 8 years. With a combination of flood fighting efforts and the use of minimum freeboard the probability exists that protection could be provided for a flood having a recurrence interval of once in 15 years."
See also: 5/14/1968 Mt. Vernon Public Library Ltr to Senator Magnuson Re: New Building Regulations
7/3/1968 Corps MFR re Skagit County Proposed Land Use Plan Land Use Plan was not adopted until 1973.  (See 4/1973 Comprehensive Land Use Planning Alternatives for the Skagit River Floodplain and Related Uplands)  Flood control projects did not require a zoning change.
8/25/1968 Ltr to County Commissioners fm Corps re Avon Bypass Project ("ABP") and Diversity of Opinions Amongst Local Individuals One of the most important letters ever written on the flood issue.  ABP reactivated in 2/1965.  Study completed in July 1966.  Channel would have been located at Avon to Telegraph Slough.  Project included channel widening  upstream of Avon and extension of levees upstream of Burlington.  Same plan as 1965 except entrance was 3 miles downstream in order to accommodate Burlington area from future expansion.  Cost increased from $23,250,000 to $28,200,000 with local cost being $6,100,000.  . . . ". . .Skagit County is facing a crisis in their planning. . ."
10/9/1968 Corps MFR re mtg with Skagit County Planning Dept. re Avon Bypass "... both the Avon Bypass Project and the Levee and Channel Improvement Project are authorized for construction, but due to a lack of local sponsorship, are not being constructed."  . . . : "a change in operations at the upper Baker Power Dam could provide additional justified flood protection in addition to the two projects already authorized.
11/25/1970 DF re Avon By-pass and using trash for levee fill Locals wanted to know if they could use "encased solid waste" for levee construction.  We could change Mt. Vernons name to Mt. Trashmore.  County also wanted to know if they could "bid" on the levee projects.
6/17/1971 Corps ltr to County Commissioners re additional requirements for Corps project other than the formation of Flood Control Zone District Corps wanted to be assured of "continuing maintenance" of project and wanted county to be aware that they were responsible for additional right-of-way acquisition cost.
12/30/1971 Corps ltr to Skagit County BCC re flooding problems at Big Lake “Corps looked at concrete gated structure to control flows up to 3,600 cfs.  Such a project was not considered feasible.  Corps encouraged Big Lake residents to purchase flood insurance. ”
7/11/1972 Skagit Valley Herald article "Seepage causing great concern; hundreds of acres reported flooded" and articles addressing Grandy Creek landslide Article addresses severe drainage problems in the "River bend area".  River height not letting water drain "as long as the water is below the 13 foot level."  River hadn't been that low for 6 weeks.  "Above the 13 foot level, he said, seepage from the river is a constant menace to farmers in the area."
1974 1974 Notes on Burlington Ring Dike 1974 preliminary plan for ring dike around City of Burlington.
07/12/1974 MFR: LaConner Flood Problems 1974 discussion of potential installation of a ring dike around La Conner.
7/24/1974 Corps MFR re DOE regulation re building heights The Department of Ecology regulations required all building within 200 feet of the levees to be built at or above the top of existing levee.  A meeting was scheduled with the DOE for 7/31/1974.
7/26/1974 Corps ltr to Skagit Conservation District Corps agreed to come to meeting with SCD on September 18th to discuss Avon Bypass and Sauk River Dam.
3/1975 Public Brochure re Additional Flood Control at Upper Baker Project














Dept. Ecol. = State Department of Ecology
EPA = Environmental Protection Agency
PNWWA = Pacific Northwest Waterways Association
SWCD = Soil & Water Conservation District
Sierra = Sierra Club

A comprehensive plan, completed in 1971, called for increasing Skagit River flood control through use of reservoir capacity provided by Puget Sound Power and Light Company's Upper Baker hydroelectric power project in addition to the 16,000 acre-feet of storage space now available during the winter flood season. The detailed feasibility investigation being completed by the Corps of Engineers was in follow-up to the comprehensive study and undertaken under the same authority.  . . .  Land use zoning, development restrictions, flood proofing and early flood warning are flood plain management elements of this alternative which would be continued by Skagit County and the State of Washington.  . . . Baker Lake would be lowered to provide a total of 74,000 acre-feet of flood control storage between 15 November and 1 March each year.  . . .  Although increased flood control capability has the potential of creating increased development pressure on flood plain lands, especially those close to urban areas and those now protected by dikes and levees, this pressure is expected to be minimal.  . . . However, the application of stringent flood plain management techniques and flood plain zoning by Skagit County, as called for in the recommended plan, should reduce the likelihood and severity of such losses.  . . . The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service late in the study asked that flood control drawdown occur earlier than necessary for flood control in order to benefit Baker Lake salmon production.  This earlier drawdown would increase power losses and, therefore, would have to be justified by fishery enhancement benefits. No current provision exists in the FPC license for such a project operation change.  Because of this and the lack of data on fish production, the Corps study did not evaluate the early drawdown proposal.  . . .  Detailed engineering, economic and environmental impact studies were conducted over the past 2 years . . . Land use. The increased flood protection provided by this alternative (additional 58,000 ac ft storage) would not be sufficient to allow relaxation of current restrictions on intensive developments in flood hazard areas. Therefore, no effect on land use is expected.

COMMENTS RE ADDITIONAL STORAGE

False sense of security. Encourages development of flood plain for uses incompatible with flooding.  (Sierra) Would create a false sense of security which could induce continued building in floodprone areas. (R. Hammond, SWCD)  . . .  Not enough protection. Only corrects about 8 percent of the total flood damage of the basin. (Dept. Ecol.) Watershed above Upper Baker includes less than 7 percent of area of the Skagit at Mt. Vernon and about 10 percent of runoff volume. This degree of control would be small under severe conditions.  (SWCD)  . . .  Storage will increase. The additional flood storage could make the difference between the (a) disaster or high river stage. (PNWWA) Additional flood storage at Upper Baker will not adversely affect the environmental values of Skagit Valley. (EPA) It is only a start on the overall control program for Skagit, and its benefits will more than justify the costs.  (SWCD)

4/29/1975 Corps letter to County re request to undertake preconstruction engineering studies for the authorized Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvement Project ...Flood plain management as now implemented by both your county and the State of Washington, Department of Ecology. has given us confidence those residing in the flood plain are. and will continue to be aware of the actual flood risk, and that development is regulated, consistent with this risk.
5/1/1975 Corps ltr to Senator Magnuson re response to County ltr to Senator 4/1/1975 "...the Pacific Northwest River Basins Commission did not recommend a plan for the Skagit basin..."  "The Corps of Engineers has not conducted feasibility studies of such a project" (i.e. Sauk River Dam).
5/7/1975 Congressman Meeds ltr to Corps re scenic river classification and feasibility study Congressman wanted to know if such a study had been done and didn't feel Wild and Scenic classification would be done before 1978 or 1979.
5/19/1975 Corps ltr to Congressman Meeds ltr to Corps re Sauk River dam "The studies that were undertaken as part of the comprehensive investigation were preliminary in nature and not intended to determine the feasibility of the Sauk project."
6/16/1975 Corps ltr to developer re building on an island near Marblemount Corps did not charge for floodplain elevation certificate evaluations.
7/17/1975 Series of letters re Congressman Meeds inquiry re changes in the deferred to active project list. Congressman used recycled paper for his stationary.  BCC wanted to activate the 1966 Levee and Channel Improvement project; achieve additional storage behind Baker Dam; have a study done on the feasibility of the Sauk River Dam; agreed that if Sauk not feasible then would look at Avon Bypass.  "We, as a Board, know that we are sitting on a "Time Bomb" in the Skagit Valley.
7/23/1975 Draft Corps ltr to Representative Meeds re response to BCC ltr re 4 potential flood control projects in the Skagit Valley Corps was waiting on Congressional approval of 58,000 acre feet of storage behind Upper Baker dam; expected levee project to become "active" in the near future; waiting of Senator Magnuson to request feasibility study for Sauk Dam; Avon Bypass to be kept in "deferred" status pending a change in position by the county.
8/11/1975 Corps ltr to SC Planning Dept re flood frequency elevations at mile post 59-60. 100-yr flood 200 feet and 205.5 feet at mile post 59 and 60.  1951 flood was 15-year flood downstream of Sedro-Woolley, however only about 7 year flood at mile post 59 and 60 or 193 feet and 198.5 feet.  

See also: 6/16/1975 Corps ltr to developer re building on an island near Marblemount
9/10/1975 Corps response ltr to 8/14/1975 Seattle District Recommended Additional Flood Control Storage At Upper Baker.  Also working on correspondence to reclassification of levee project from "deferred to active."  Further action on the Sauk study lies with the congressional delegation.
10/16/1975 Corps internal communication re "Reclassification of Authorized Skagit River, WA, Levee and Channel Improvement Project "The subject project (authorized in 1966) would provide flood protection to some 68,000 acres of delta flood plain at the mouth of the river. The improvements would increase the level of protection from once in 3 to 10 years, to a minimum of once in 8 years.  The authorization report noted that if the levee improvements were constructed- with the Avon Bypass, protection would be accomplished for floods with an expected recurrence of once in 35 years. To avoid a false sense of flood security, the report concluded that the levee and channel improvements should be constructed as an integral part of a basin plan for flood control, which as a minimum should include provision for construction of Avon Bypass project or upstream storage."
10/29/1975 Corps "FACT SHEET" on Skagit River Basin Document looked at Upper Baker Storage; Levee and Channel Improvement; Avon Bypass; and the Lower Sauk Project.  Characterized the Avon Bypass as "authorized in 1936 as a "make work" project.
1/7/1976 MFR RE Skagit River Flood Fight for Dec 26 1975 high water River was predicted to reach 29 feet on Dec 27 and locals were concerned about the breaks in the levees on Cockreham levee.  Corps "plugged" five breaks in the levees at an estimated cost of $12,000.
4/1/1976 Handwritten note by Corps Staff re one of the first strategy sessions for the 1979 project. "New survey report but do under GDM outcome -- solution to problem.  . . . Finish in 78 . . . Can't rule out non-structural"
4/22/1976 Corps DF re Environmental Assessment of Levee Repairs After 1975 Flood Event Repairs took place on Cockreham Island.  Skagit floods "characterized by sharp rises of relatively short duration from October through March."  . . .  "The Skagit River system produces more runoff than any other river basin in the Puget Sound area."  100 year flood 266,000 cfs 50-year flood 224,000 cfs.  Zero damage 60,000 cfsPresent levee system with 2ft of freeboard 84,000 to 130,000 cfs or 3 to 11 year protection.  . . . Ross Dam controls about 30 percent of the basin's runoff with 120,000 acre-ft of storage space. . . . During the 1972-1973 collection period,  nearly 14,400 salmon were captured,  trucked, and  released into Baker Lake and adjoining artificial spawning beaches . They consisted  of 10,000 sockeye , 4, 000  coho, 250  chinook , and 30  chum.  In  addition, 50 steelhead trout were captured and released.  . . . The damaged areas at the   town  of Hamilton, and the  four damaged portions between Hamilton and Lyman occurred  where the  high water flow  was  either restricted or at a sharp  change in direction without adequate floodway area to handle the  resulting turbulence.  The floodwater was most destructive where the levee was breached; in some of these cases the water velocity cut a channel from the river through the vegetated bench and beyond into the agricultural area. . . . The greatest loss to fish will be the loss of eggs placed in the gravels by spawning fish prior to the flood.
6/23/1976 Corp MFR re Skagit County Flood Insurance Study -- Corps Projects “. . .levee work was authorized via a 1965 report on the Skagit River, with the proviso that upstream storage is provided first.  Now that the Baker Lake storage project is authorized, the levee project will be revived.”
6/23/1976 Corp MFR re Skagit County Flood Insurance Study -- Delta Flooding "Lloyd Johnson agreed, with the exception that he would like to see a more "realistic water surface profile, i.e., "a waterfall", where the floodwaters emerge through the dike area rather than a gradual drop as we had shown in our 1973 report."
9/29/1976 USACE Work Request for Wilderness Village (Concrete) Dept of Ecology wanted Corps to re-evaluate water surface profiles based on highwater data recently recovered by the developer.  Developer had written affidavits from residents in the area who witnessed high water in 1909.
10/15/1976 ACOE MFR RE Levee and Channel Improvements "...authorized in 1966"  . . . "includes the following elements: (a) raising low spots on riverbank levees to provide a minimum of 2 feet of freeboard, (b) -increasing top widths to a minimum of 10 feet, (c) flattening overly steep Side slopes to a maximum of 1 vertical to 2 horizontal, (d) - the-addition of riprap at critical locations, and (e) channel widening 'improvements at three locations to remove obstructions to flood flows."    . . .  " Providing a minimum of 100-year protection for urban areas will be considered with a possibility of higher protection provided by Upper Baker storage or other measures ."
1/14/1977 Draft letters to the President from Dept. of Agriculture and the ACOE

The documents represent what happens when there are one too many agencies trying to comment on a flood project when one of the agencies doesn't know anything about the flood issue.

The Dept. of Ag stated, "In addition, the Department of the Army, in their response to the study report, pointed out that designation of the Sauk River would preclude construction of, a flood control storage project on the river. However, alternatives to the Sauk River site exist which would provide the same degree of flood protection for downstream areas.

The ACOE responded ORIGINALLY with, "We have never provided such information to them.  From a practical standpoint, approx. 40% of the unregulated flow in the lower Skagit river basin comes from the Sauk RiverLevee system's heights in the lower Skagit basin are limited by foundation conditions.  Accordingly, it is considered that there is no alternative to flood control storage on the Sauk River.  We would suggest that the above quoted sentence be deleted."  Upper level management tuned it down a little, see Insert A.
1/27/1977 ACOE MFR RE telephonic conversation with Commissioner Jerry Mansfield re funding for the flood control project Project Manager advised Commissioner Mansfield to have local interest write their Congressmen and Senators to show a "continued interest" in the project.  He suggested writing separate letters to each representative.
1/27/1977 ACOE MFR re telephonic meeting with Commissioner Norris One of Commissioner Norris's first official acts after having just been elected was to contact the ACOE and he noted, "that flood control for the Skagit River is one of his primary interests..."  Throughout the years and especially during his term as Mayor of Mt. Vernon Bud Norris remained true to his primary interests.
2/23/1977 ACOE DF ("Disposition form") re meeting to review the hydrology and hydraulics information available and the needs of flood plain and flood control studies "During the discussion ... three things became clear.  (1) Existing data is not sufficient.  (2) Data needed for the flood plain study is different data than needed for the flood control study; (3) difference of opinions exist regarding the needs for the flood control study.

"Lack of capability to perform timely hydrology studies should not place limits on extent of flood protection considered and study schedule should be established to agree with District priorities and capabilities. An early meeting should be scheduled with Chief, Engineering Division to consider any needed reordering of priorities or delays of study."
4/13/1977 ACOE MFR re: status of Skagit River Levee & Channel Improvement Study Although the hydrology study had not started yet there was no need to seek additional funds "(beyond existing $100,000)".
4/13/1977 Ltr to County Commissioner Howard Miller fm ACOE re Skagit County Flood Insurance Study be expedited Results of Skagit River study scheduled to be completed July 1, 1978.  The entire study of the basin scheduled for completion in September 1979.
5/6/1977 ACOE District Engineer ltr to Portland District Headquarters re:  scope and design for the Levees and Channel Improvement Project reformulation ". . . primary concern of the Levees and Channel Improvement Project should be urban flood damage reduction for Mount Vernon, Burlington and Sedro Woolley areas . . .   " . . .  During the last decade, conditions in . -the area have changed considerably and the scope and level of flood damage reduction should be reevaluated  "  . . .  "In order to accommodate this need for considering a higher level of flood protection for the urban areas, more extensive surveys, foundation investigations, hydrology, hydraulic and economic studies will be required than were previously anticipated."
5/9/1977 ACOE MFR re: Avon Bypass Deauthorization - Meeting with Skagit County Engineer We told Mr. Johnson that we would be sending out a letter alerting local officials to the deauthorization study.  We told Mr. Johnson that the first element of work which we would be getting underway would be a survey contract to map the existing levees and provide topography for use in our hydrologic and hydraulic studiesNOTE:  This strongly suggest that the entire $4 million dollar GDM was done in two years.
5/19/1977 ACOE ltr to local resident of Skagit Valley re: information he requested "We have completed most of our field surveys and foundation exploration and are currently developing the hydrologic model to determine the exact extent of the 100- and 10-year flood plain. As stated in the public brochure, the alternative cost estimates were not based on detailed studies, but were preliminary engineering estimates of the range of casts that could be involved for each of the alternatives."
5/19/1977 ACOE MFR re: Skagit County Flood Insurance Study Work list for study.  "They plan (GDM Study) to do the kind of analysis of delta flooding that we rejected for the Skagit County FIS because it would cost over $100K. If their plans gel, we could ask FIA if they want us to include the analysis in the FIS. We hadn't planned to re-study the delta for the FIS.  "
5/25/1977 Executive Order 11988 Executive Order from the Carter Administration that among other things, agencies “shall consider alternatives to avoid adverse effects and incompatible development in the floodplains. ” 
6/1977 U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Report on Floods of December 1975 and January 1976 Partial report containing sections pertinent to the Skagit River.  Storm began on 29th of November and lasted to the 4th of December.  "Baker River Basin amounts to 11 percent of the Skagit river drainage." . . ."Outflow from Lake Shannon continued to increase. . .24,800 c.f.s..". . . "Without flood control regulation by Ross Dam and the Baker River Projects, the flood peak would have been about 39.9 feet (147,000 c.f.s.), 3 feet higher than the observed peak."  Third highest peak since 1940.  One of the more interesting things about this report is the areas they had to sandbag to keep the levees from failing.
6/8/1977 ACOE DF re: All Hands Meeting to agree on the "plan of study" for the 1979 Levee and Channel Improvements Study. ". . .no significant problems are known at this time."  . . . ". . .during the last decade, urbanization has increased considerably and the scope and level of flood damage reduction should be reevaluated for the urban areas."  NOTE:  This is an amazing document that shows us that as of June 8, 1977 the GDM had not been started, yet it was published in 1979.  
6/15/1977 ACOE MFR re: Meeting to agree on the "plan of study" for the 1979 Levee and Channel Improvements Study which took place on June 13, 1977 " . . . of the $28,000 listed for report preparation,$6,000 would be used by Drafting Section to prepare the final plates  "  . . . "Regional Planning Section in coordination with Civil Design Section will start work on design in April 1978 and complete in September 1978."  . . .  " After the design is completed about: 3 months will be required to prepare the draft General Design Memorandum and another six months to complete the final GDM for submittal to NPD. The schedule for submittal of the Draft GDM would be December 1978 and for the final GDM May 1979."
6/24/1977 ACOE  Headquarters in Portland ltr to Seattle District Engineer re: extending Levee project upstream through Mt. Vernon and Burlington ". . .Assuming the Avon Bypass is not deauthorized, your report must include a "last added" analysis of each element of the overall protection plan of the basin.  Your proposal to extend the study scope upstream through the areas of Mount Vernon, Burlington and Sedro Woolley does create a separate set of problems  ". . . ". . . extension of the. project that far via a phase 1 report would require a significant Post Authorization Change report requiring Congressional action."
6/24/1977 Northern Pacific Division (Portland) Headquarters ltr to Seattle District re Skagit River Levees and Channel Improvements

". . . based on a review of the authorizing document and assuming such extension is justified and desired by local interests, extension of the project that far via a phase 1 report would require a significant Post Authorization Change report requiring Congressional action." . . . An alternative course of action would be to proceed with a GDM report covering the general project area reconsidering the degree of protection to be provided. At the same time preauthorization studies could proceed on the area upstream under the authority of the PSFAW study or under Section 216. Such a procedure would permit early construction capability and at the same time cover the full flood control needs of the area."

7/1/1977 Ltr to Corps North Pacific Division Engineer fm Seattle District re Skagit River Levees and Channel Improvements The alternative course of action suggested in enclosure 2 involves considering areas upstream of Mount Vernon in a preauthorization study under authority of PS&AW. ... We feel the proper method of determining the best plan for the Skagit River Delta is through the General Design Memorandum.
7/5/1977 Skagit County Existing Land Use Plans and Regulations Applicable to the Proposal (i.e. Proposed Interpretive Center) as interpreted by the Corps The 1968 Comprehensive Plan map designated Fir Island, the site of the proposed Interpretive Center Complex, as "Agricultural Floodway," and the area riverward of Wiley Slough and Freshwater Slough as "Floodway." However, the Comprehensive Plan text is very general and provides no specific definitions or policies for these designations.  ... Skagit WRA is laced with sloughs of Skagit River, which are considered associated wetlands of the river.  ...  The proposed interpretive center program would serve citizens from all of the State of Washington. Statewide interest and public awareness of shoreline resources and their value would be served by the interpretive center program.  ...  The proposed interpretive center program would increase and enhance recreational opportunities on these shorelines.  In conclusion, the proposed interpretive center would be in compliance with all regulations and policies of the Skagit County Shorelines Master Program. It is, in fact, encouraged by many of them (such as policies for shorelines of statewide significance).
7/11/1977 Corps ltr to Skagit County Planning re deauthorization of the Avon Bypass project

Document contains attachments:  Avon Bypass Information Sheet; Project Deauthorization Review; Basin Map
'. . . a. Additional Flood Control at Upper Baker Project. The Upper Baker Project recently received congressional approval. The operation of the Upper Baker Dam will be modified for flood control purposes by providing up to 58,000 additional acre-feet of flood control storage by increasing reservoir drawdown in the period 1 November to 15 November of each year. Implementation of the project will not require structural modifications to existing facilities. Coupled with flood plain management, the project will increase flood protection in the Skagit River flood plain below Concrete, Washington, by decreasing peak discharges from those now experienced.  . . . b. Levee and Channel Improvements  . . . the project involves raising and strengthening existing levees downstream from Burlington and Mount Vernon, Washington, and making minor channel improvements to increase minimum channel capacities.  In conjunction with the Upper Baker Project, the levee and channel improvements project, if constructed as authorized, would increase the minimum level of flood protection in areas downstream from Burlington, Washington, from 3 years to an average recurrence interval of 11 years, with 3-foot freeboard.  Together with the projects mentioned above, the Avon Bypass Project would increase minimum flood protection from 11 to 59 years for the area downstream from Burlington. ' . . . The county has developed a comprehensive flood control plan for the Skagit Valley,  one element of which is the Avon Bypass. However, local cost sharing requirements currently are beyond the means of the county.
7/11/1977 Corps Regional Planning Branch Work Request "Request you proceed with the following:  Hydrograph analyses at Sedro Woolley: Develop design quality 25-, 50-, 100-, and 200-year flood hydrographs for Skagit River at Sedro Woolley. These shall represent the present river condition and 74,000 acre feet of flood control storage in Baker-Lake.  Hydrologic analysis of interior drainage; Routing, combining and backwater analysis."
7/11/1977 Corps Study Manager ltr to local Dike District Commissioner on Fir Island Corps promises to determine the social economic and environmental effects of each alternative as well as the engineering, design and cost estimates
7/15/1977 Corps MFR re Skagit Levees Document describes trip to Skagit for the purpose of locating drainage and control structures and other critical design features which might be impacted by levee project.  ...  Generally the trip served as a design orientation exercise for both Regional Planning and Civil Design Section representatives. Civil Design representatives will prepare a separate photo reconnaissance and field notes on the trip.
7/18/1977 Letter to Corps Headquarters from Congressman Lloyd Meeds re Sauk River dry dam. Asked the following questions: 1)How much flood protection would be provided; 2)Will a dry dam on the Sauk be engineeringly sound, economically justified and environmentally safe?; 3) What type of time frame needed for study.
7/22/1977 Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvements -- Project Schedule December 1978 Draft GDM; Final GDM April 1979; June 1980 initiate Construction
7/27/1977 Corps MFR re responses to 7/18/1977 letter from Congressman Meeds re "Dry Dam" on Sauk River A "dry dam" for FC only would be "engineeringly sound." The economic justification has not been determined in any studies and would not be available until after re :on level survey studies. We do not understand the term "environmentally safe" but do believe an "environmentally acceptable" project could be formulated.  A detailed study of the Sauk could be completed in 4 years at the cost of $400,000. Checkpoint 1 could be reached in 1-1/2 years at a cost of $150,000.
7/29/1977 Outline for Briefing District Engineer on Skagit River Flood Problems Draft notes on what needed to be done for formal briefing to District Engineer.
8/15/1977 Corps Draft Maps of the Avon Bypass Two sets of maps with different intake locations.
8/17/1977 Corps "River Mile" maps March 1965 maps.
8/23/1977 Corps Portland Division Headquarters MFR to Corps Headquarters in Washington DC re Reclassification of Avon Bypass Project Agreed with Seattle District that Avon Bypass should be reclassified from deferred to active.  "... Avon Bypass Project authorized by the 1936 Flood Control Act would be constructed as a part of an overall Skagit Valley flood control plan. The authorized project includes construction of the by-pass in the vicinity of Avon as well as construction of upstream levees in the vicinity of Sedro Woolley. and Burlington.NOTE:  As of this date studies needed for project had not yet began.
8/23/1977 Ltr fm Corps DC Headquarters to Division Engineer (Portland) re Reclassification of Authorized Skagit River, Wa Avon Bypass Project This document provided the authority for the Corps Seattle District to expand the study to include the area from I-5 to Sedro-Woolley. "The Avon Bypass is a separable element in a 3-element flood control plan for the Skagit River below Sedro-Woolley."  . . . Previous reclassification of this element to the "deferred category was based on local interests unwillingness to provide the required local cooperation." . . .  "Therefore in the absence of any reasonable expectation of obtaining local cooperation in the near future, the rationale for reclassification of the bypass at this time is not apparent since conditions have not changed."
8/31/1977 Corps Letter to County re studies of the Levee & Channel Improvement Project. “There has been extensive development in the Burlington-Sedro Woolley area since our flood control studies in 1964, and flood protection for this area now appears to be urgently needed.”
8/31/1977 Corps ltr to SCBCC re Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvements Project Current authority for project does not include the Burlington-Sedro Woolley area.  Corps wanted to use the 1936 authorization for the Avon Bypass.  Bypass had been in "deferred category since March 1972."  Corps told County to send a letter asking that the Avon Bypass project not be deauthorized.
9/27/1977 Corps ltr to Seattle Times re inaccuracies in their 9/16/77 editorial title "Ray's Ill-Advised Dip in Skagit River Issue" in which the Times reported that the Skagit had experienced a "100 yr flood" The levees along the Skagit River passed the 10-year peak flow in December 1975 only because of the successful flood fighting efforts of citizens and local, state, and federal agencies.. flood damages in the Skagit River Basin were estimated at $3,247,000.  Damages from a 100-year event would have been about $35,000,000," based on 1975 price levels.  Utilizing the authorized flood control storage behind Baker Dam will raise the level of protection to between 5 and 21 years. Adding the authorized levee and channel improvements would raise the protection to between 11 and 100 years. Addition of the authorized Avon bypass project that passes 60,000 c.f.s. to Padilla Bay would raise the protection to between 55 and 100 years.
11/14/1977 Seattle District MFR re 11/9/77 meetings with local Skagit Officials  Corps officials came to Skagit County to give them draft letters for the BCC, cities and towns and Ports to send to Corps showing local cooperation.  
11/29/1977 Corps response ltr to Whatcom-Skagit-Island Contractors Association  “We are in an early state of our studies and cannot determine how many contracts would be involved in comp1eting the project - construction would be initiated in fiscal year 1980 if continuity of funding is maintained.”
See also:  11/15/1977 Ltr to Corps fm Whatcom Skagit Island County Contractors Association requesting jobs go to local companies for levee project, 1/13/1979 Corps ltr to County re use of local contractors
12/1/1977
Corps Seattle District ltr to Division Engineer (Portland) re Office of the Chief of Engineers ("OCE") Reclassification of Avon Bypass Project  OCE rejected Seattle District request to reclassify the Avon Bypass from a "deferred" to "active" status.  Seattle District did not "wish to rebut the OCE decision on Avon Bypass Project."  . . .  " We support the local assessment of need, and believe the lower Skagit valley is the most serious flood threat in western Washington."  . . .  We are proceeding with base surveys, hydraulic and hydrologic studies for the Mount Vernon to Sedro Woolley reach because this information will be needed for the authorized project, as well as any extension of the authorized work. Foundation and exploration work and detail layouts and estimates will be proceeding after the first of the year.  
12/23/1977 Corps MFR re Skagit River Levees Planning Division needed, " Estimate of the additional cost over the authorized project to improve levees from Mount Vernon to Sedro Woolley".
12/23/1977 Transcription of telephonic conversation between Corps officials Discussion was about how cost estimate of additional levees was to be calculated.  ". . . "The authorization for flood protection on the Skagit River, Washington, contained in Section 203 of the Flood Control Act of 1966, Public Law 89-789, 80 Stat. 1422, is hereby  modified to include levee and channel improvements in the vicinity of Sedro Woolley authorized in Section 5 of the Flood Control Act of 1936, Public Law 738-74tt Congress, at an estimated additional Federal construction cost of $6,000,000."  . . .  "maybe we can simply take a million dollars a mile and go from there."
1/26/1978 Corps MFR re value of land at Burlington Interesting computation of how Corps values property.  Document shows us that when property is protected by a levee its value increases by 25%.  With levee improvements Burlington was valued at $82,000,000.
2/1/1978 Corps MFR re Formulation of Alternatives--Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvement Project

This document walks you through the 1st and 2nd iterations of Corps thinking on proposed projects.

"This project is one part of the comprehensive basin flood control plan. The other two parts are potential upstream storage and the authorized but deferred Avon Bypass (due to lack of local assurances).  . . . Both the Avon Bypass and the upstream storage have serious problems and may never be built."
2/9/1978 Corps MFR re Formulation of Alternatives Early discussion of the hydrology, Sauk River Dam; flooding the Samish; Avon ByPass: and levees for the 1979 levee improvement project.  Hard to see much difference from what is being considered today. 
See also: 5/9/2012 Corps of Engineers GI Study Presentation
2/13/1978 Corps "Fact Sheet" justifying an Amendment to Skagit Levee and Channel Improvement Authority The Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvement Project was authorized by Section 203, Public Law 89-789 dated 7 November 1966 "The Avon Bypass Project was authorized by Section 5, Public Law 74-738, dated 22 June 1936."  It was designed to handle 60,000 cfs, ironically the same amount of cfs that Dike District 12 is currently sending downstream towards Mt. Vernon and Fir Island.
2/14/1978 Corps MFR re Wild & Scenic Rivers Act Status "Further, Mr. Mead is proposing that a clause be written under the Values Section of Burton's bill that states that future riprapping be permitted to protect farmland along the upstream Skagit River reaches. The proposed Recreational classification does allow existing riprap to remain but precludes future placement.  . . . Of the five structural alternatives to be presented at the public meeting for the Skagit Levee and Channel Improvement project, the two which contain upstream storage are incompatible with the subject proposed legislation as currently written."
2/21/1978 Corps MFR re Meeting with Dike and Drainage District Commissioners re reactivation of the Skagit Flood Control Council Corps answered questions re: legislation which is currently proposed in Congress to extend the authority for the project upstream to Sedro-Woolley, using set back dikes, dredging the river channel, the basin flood control plan, funding source, local responsibilities, the actions the diking districts should take this summer to repair their dikes, and the status of the Avon Bypass project.
2/22/1978 Corps Amended "Fact Sheet" justifying an Amendment to Skagit Levee and Channel Improvement Authority We expect that the estimated cost, given in the proposed legislation as $12 million, would be offset by an attendant incremental rise in benefits. Based upon updating of information from old reports, the benefit-to cost ratio of the levee extension is about 1.3 to 1. The detailed flood damage appraisal which is being performed as part of the Levee and Channel Improvement Project may increase the flood damage reduction benefits due to increased development in the area. In any event, each levee increment will be economically justified.
3/1978 Corps Public Brochure re Skagit River Levee and Channel Projects See also Public Meeting Transcript and 3/23/78 SVH for a meeting summary.  Pg2...The 100-yr flood at SW is estimated at about 215,000 cfs.  Pg3...The existing levees below Burlington vary in level of protection ... from 84,000 cfs to 130,000 cfs with a minimum 2 ft levee freeboard.  Pg7...The two "PSE" dams on the Baker river provide flood control for the Baker River Basin which amounts to approximately 10% of the Skagit River drainage  ... Skagit River flood damages in Dec 1975 totaled $3,247,000... Skagit County has considered a comprehensive flood control plan to guide future planning and has formed a county-wide flood control district to enable the county to sponsor flood control improvement projects.  (See 1973 Comp Plan Alternatives for the Skagit ) which was clearly never enforced.
4/1978 Corps Questionnaire to Diking & Drainage Districts Only one answer to this questionnaire has been located in the files as of 1/37/2013.  (See Dike District #3 letter to Corps re Fishers Slough and Responses to Corps Questionnaire Dated April 1978)
4/12/1978 Corps Colonel Poteat Speech to the Builders Association re Levee Project This document provides us with a great bit of history of the Corps of Engineers.."The corps of engineers was organized in 1775 as part of Washington's continental army. Some years later, in 1802, we were charged with operating a military academy At west point. For 64 years west point remained a corps' installation, and for a quarter of a century it was the only engineering school in the nation."
4/13/1978 Corps MFR re coordination meeting on GDM on 3/30/1978 The effects of the tide on the floods are being considered as part of their present study. . . . Skagit River is one of the few projects which we have been given a high priority on by the District Engineers. We will be burned unmercifully if we do not fulfill our obligations.
4/13/1978 Corps Telephone or Verbal Conversation Record re t/c re Wild & Scenic Rivers Classification Nuclear Power Plant could have still been constructed under the proposed designation of the Skagit as Wild and Scenic.
4/17/1978

Corp MFR re Field Trip Meeting with Local Officials

Corps officials met with local officials.  Discussed possible alignment for a floodwall at Mt. Vernon.  "Corps would coordinate study with WSDOT for the SR20 freeway along the river.
4/19/1978 Corps MFR re Meeting w/County Officials With Attached Agreement County primarily interested in the available survey data and mapping Corps.
4/21/1978 Corps ltr to Skagit County Engineer re support shown at 3/22/1978 public mtg and needed assistance in coordinating the collection of data “Since we are gathering basic data, the questionnaire is only a guide. If a group knows about some past history, present conditions, or future plans that could affect our project or be affected by it, please have them provide it to us.”
4/27/1978 Corps response to Swinomish Executive Director re his comments on the Swinomish Channel Maintenance Dredging DEIS

Your letter of 9 April 1976 provided detailed comments on the Swinomish Channel Maintenance Dredging draft environmental statement. Your comments concerning the draft statement were not included in .the final environmental statement because we received them approximately 8 months after the deadline for public comment. Although we have discussed the comments with representatives of the Swinomish Tribal Community and various resource agency personnel, we delayed our formal response until we had examined all sources of information which were available.. . . .Response: The Goat Island dike, built in 1937, reduced the amount of Skagit River 'water reaching the fishtraps and oyster beds on the southern and southwestern shores of the reservation. Furthermore, the amount of Skagit River water flowing through the Swinomish Channel. was greatly reduced.    "For the period 1890 to 1970, and especially since 1937, most of the sediment from the North Fork of the Skagit has passed between Goal and lka Islands, fanned out, and come to rest on the cast bank of. Saratoga Passage."

"Average per trap catches of Coho salmon from both Indian and non-Indian fishtraps in Skagit Bay, while showing large annual fluctuations, began declining in the early 1930's, several years before the Goat Island jetty was constructed.  Catches of Chinook salmon also declined in the early 1930's, increased in 1936, and then decreased again."
4/27/1978 Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvement Project -- Interim Foundation and Materials ""F&M") Report The existing levees are predominantly fine sands and silty sands of loose-to-medium compaction. Foundation soils are very similar to the levee materials in most cases, and are composed of alluvial and estuarian marine sedimentary deposits consisting of fine sands, silts, and clays, with wood debris and shells.  . . . River-bottom materials investigated consist mostly of sands and silts with seashells, wood debris, and logs, except near the mouth of North Fork. In this area, gravels and bedrock were encountered in the channel bottom between R.M. 3.9 to R.M. 4.2, so additional shallow wash borings were made to define the areal extent of gravels and rock.   '. . . vicinity R.M. 12.5, where debris from a sanitary landfill was encountered.  A/C NOTE:  No analysis or mention of volcanic soils.  What the analysis does show us is that the soils are the same in Sedro-Woolley as they are on Fir Island.
4/28/1978 American Canoe Association ltr to Corps re Skagit River & Channel Improvement Project  "We were pleased that alternative 3 received the greatest support from those attending the hearing.  We would also support alternative 3. Our greatest concern is with alternatives 4 and 6 which include construction of upstream storage facilities on the Sauk River."  A/C NOTE:  Very opposed to Sauk River Dam project.  
5/15/1978 Corps MFR re mtg with Skagit County Personnel "On 15 May 1978, Messrs Brooks, Erlandson, and Williams met with Mr. Ray Skrinde and Mr. Don Nelson of Skagit County to discuss the surveys we have completed and the methods Skagit County could use to locate property along our levee alignment."  A/C NOTE:  Ray Skrinde used to work for the Corps.  No conflict of interest here.
5/26/1978

Corps reply ltr to Edna Breazeal re Avon Bypass

The Avon Bypass project, as authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1936, included a bypass channel to divert excess Skagit River floodflews from the main river near Burlington through a bypass channel to Padilla Bay and also an improvement and extension of the right bank levee from Burlington to Sedro Woolley. The Flood Control Act of 1966 added recreation as a project purpose.  Preconstruction planning studies were started in Fiscal Year 1966 and stopped in Fiscal Year 1968 because of lack of a local sponsor.  
6/26/1978 Dike District #3 letter to Corps re Fishers Slough and Responses to Corps Questionnaire Dated April 1978 During the high water of December 1975, water of the Skagit River was high enough in this area that it was running over the top of a wooden bulkhead attached to the west side of this state highway bridge_ (530-4), and flowing east in Fishers Slough to add more stress on the dikes protecting the surrounding lands.  Our concern is that with the anticipated raising of the river dikes in this area some planning needs to be taken into account on this structure, otherwise we do feel these floodgates and surrounding bulkhead will present a major problem in this district in the event of any high water period.”  . . .  “Average top width 12' to 18'.  . . . Major levee repair work done since December of 1975 has been to raise and widen the dikes located on Fishers Slough, which were in serious threat of overtopping in December, 1975, and which had also had a break several years prior to that time, which the Corp helped repair.  In addition, there was a break or overtopping of the dikes at the outlet of Fishers Slough in December 1975 which nearly washed out SR530 at that location and did disrupt Burlington Northern R.R. traffic for several days.  . . .  Seepage is also of major concern in our district during times of high water due to the porous nature of much of the soil along the river, as well as to the material used to construct the dikes.”
6/30/1978 Corps MFR re coordination mtg with Skagit County Dike Districts up to this point at least did not cooperate with Corps for information.  Only answer up to this point that we have identified was Dike District #3 (Please see 6/26/1978 Dike District #3 letter to Corps re Fishers Slough and Responses to Corps Questionnaire Dated April 1978)  Corps determined it was less expensive to raise the existing dikes than to build a new 100-year cutoff levee across the Big Bend.  Corps "determined that if a levee were constructed riverward of the Moose Hall, it would cost approximately $350,000 more than a levee constructed landward of the Moose Hall."
6/30/1978 Corps MFR re coordination mtg with Skagit County Dike Districts up to this point at least did not cooperate with Corps for information.  Only answer up to this point that we have identified was Dike District #3 (Please see 6/26/1978 Dike District #3 letter to Corps re Fishers Slough and Responses to Corps Questionnaire Dated April 1978)  Corps determined it was less expensive to raise the existing dikes than to build a new 100-year cutoff levee across the Big Bend.  Corps "determined that if a levee were constructed riverward of the Moose Hall, it would cost approximately $350,000 more than a levee constructed landward of the Moose Hall."
7/3/1978 BNRR ltr to Corps re Bridge #36 "One of the men who worked in this office and who is now retired remembers in the early 50s when flood waters almost crossed our track at about the point where the dike comes into our embankment at right angles several hundred feet north of our bridge over the Skagit River. At the time of the flood, our maintenance forces raised track and built up the shoulder of the embankment to keep flood waters from crossing our track."
7/6/1978 Bureau of Mines ltr to Corps re minerals from 22 locations from mouth of Skagit to Sedro Woolley.  Also contains list of 87 mining sites in Skagit County "According to the Bureau of Mines Mineral Industry Location System (MILS) files, past mineral production has come from 22 operations in the drainage area from the mouth of the Skagit River to Sedro Woolley. Mineral commodities produced have been asbestos, basalt, clay, gemstones, and sand and gravel."  The only site that produced asbestos in Skagit County was Burlington Hill. 
7/28/1978 Corps routing slip with attached 100 yr flood levels with levees from SW to Fir Island 100 yr flood levels with levees from Sedro-Woolley to Fir Island.  Levee height at SW would have been almost 50 ft. elevation.  Compare these elevatons to what was observed during the 1995 flood event.  See Skagit Surveyors & Engineers 1995 Flood Elevations,
8/2/1978 Corps MFR re Interior Drainage It was tentatively concluded that since the Corps project in the agricultural areas would not significantly alter existing drainage patterns or enlarge ponding areas, there would be no need for flowage easements in the lower basin and no need for exact detail in defining areas.
8/7/1978 Corps MFR re Seepage General discussion was then conducted on the seepage associated with the Skagit Levee and Channel Improvements Project.  . . . is there a legal problem, because Federal dollars would be used in continuing a possible illegal situation (i.e., landowners being flooded by existing ponding areas?  Vern Cook stated that he had talked to Office of Counsel on 1 August 1978 and that the response to that question is "NO". Any claim that a landowner might have had has long ago gone by the board. In regards to the interior/drainage for the agricultural lands, the GDM will contain the rationale for confirming that the interior drainage runoff, rainfall plus seepage, does not cause significant flooding, which would negate the benefits realized from the levee improvement project.  For the urban levees, where we will be blocking the existing drainage channels, a more rigorous determination will be required.  See 5/2/1979 NPD MFR re induced damages and requirement of local governments to purchase flowage easements.  See also 4/13/1979 NPD Portland MFR referencing 3/13/1979 Portland Headquarters comments on Seattle District draft GDM and mtg with General Wells re discussion on Draft GDM. and Flowage Easements
8/17/1978 Corps DF re cost estimates Recommended segments of levees to prevent overflow to Samish.  . . . They will not try to eliminate or even significantly reduce the existing seepage since in this area there is significant lag time, and we do not have a Marmes-type situation.  . . .
8/21/1978 Corps MFR re Project Meeting to Discuss Project Hydraulics "Purpose of the meeting was to review the hydraulics work that has been accomplished to date and decide on what additional work will be required.  . . . The basic assumption made in the analysis was that levee failure would occur when the water surface was 2 feet below the top of the levee.  50-yr flood at Mt. Vernon 160,500 cfs; 100-yr flood 185,000 cfs levee breaks at Avon.  The runs shown were clearly before the Corps realized that the flood waters did not go between Burlington and Sterling Hills.
8/21/1978 Corps Memo re Determination of Land Values and Relocation Cost References 8/2/1977 DF and discussion held on 8/16/1978.  “Estimates of relocation costs should be determined using most likely course of action (i.e., demolition and removal, relocation, etc.) in e4ach particular case.”  . . .“direct charges not to exceed $2,400...”
8/21/1978 Corps MFR re Project Meeting to Discuss Project Hydraulics with attached maps showing assumed levee breaks “The purpose of the meeting was to review the hydraulics work that has been accomplished to date and decide on what additional work will be required.” ... “The basic assumption made in the analysis was that levee failure would occur when the water surface was 2 feet below the top of the levee.”  . . .“Existing conditions at Mt. Vernon  . . .94,000 cfs river stays in bank; 120,000 cfs Fir Island fails; 130,000 cfs flooding in downtown MV; . . . 50 yr. 160,000 cfs overflow to the Samish and additional breaks right bank near railroad bridge and left bank into Big Bend (DIKE 17); 100 year 185,000 breaks through Avon”...“It was concluded that we should consider closing off Avon with high levees while keeping the Samish open.”  However, the case of closing off both the Samish and Avon was eliminated because of the extreme increase in downstream flows and the associated impacts.  NOTE:  Map shows 100 yr. flood at SW as 229,000 cfs.
8/22/1978 MFR Re: Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvement Project - Meetings With Local Officials [About Flood Risk to Burlington & Sedro-Woolley] “Mr. Hansen said that, in the past, downtown Burlington had usually not been flooded. We discussed what would happen under existing conditions, and both agreed that the danger to Burlington comes from the existing dike being encircled by a flood which would then get into Gages Slough and flow through the city of Burlington and then toward Avon or Samish Bay.”
8/23/1978 USACE MFR re Meeting with local sponsor We also talked about the problems of Skagit overflow to the Samish, potential levee alignments, channel excavation locations and the briefing of the new Skagit County Engineer, Gene Sandley, on 28 August.
8/24/1978 USACE ZERO DAMAGE compilation in cfs Samish River basin 140,000 cfs, Riverbend 142,000; Fir Island 100,000 cfs; Downtown MT Vernon 123,000.  Remember all these figures are in 1978 based on the condition of the levees at that timeNOTE:  No damage figures shown for Sterling, Clearlake or Nookachamps.
8/24/1978 USACE ltr to Elverfeld Construction, Inc re info on proposed flood control measures "Construction of all of the levees would probably involve two or more separate contracts, with the first construction starting in spring or summer of 1980. The construction work would take about 3 years to complete."
8/25/1978 USACE draft notes on Alternatives "Public input received at the public meeting was almost entirely in favor of detailed studies being undertaken for alternative #3."  Alternative 3 was then divided into 4 separate alternatives which later became 5 alternatives.  "The sketches also show the discharge values at Sedro Woolley, at Mt. Vernon, North and South Forks, and the overflows to the Samish basin and at Avon."  Based on the 100 year event.  Had attached table showing cost and lineal feet of levees that were under consideration.  "MUCH OF THE COUNTIES TAXING BASE RELYS ON THIS WATER.(Anacortes Water Treatment Plant)  Shows 100 yr flood as 225,000 to 229,000 cfs at SW,
8/28/1978 USACE MFR re bi-weekly review mtg " It was noted that Alternative 3B - Ring Dike for Burlington, West Mt. Vernon and Mt. Vernon (Avon High and Samish Low) was the most probable alternative at this point in the formulation.
8/28/1978 USACE routing slip re alternative 3B Values reported included 2 ft of freeboard and 1.8 ft maximum sediment allowance.
8/31/1978 USACE MFR re mtg with local sponsor The briefing covered the history of water resources development in the lower Skagit basin including Upper Baker Dam, the Avon Bypass and the presently authorized Levee and Channel Improvement Project. The sequence of steps leading to the construction of the project was also covered as it relates to the proposed legislation to extend the authorized project. Specific project details which were then covered included alternative levee alignments; alternatives for protection of the Mt. Vernon Moose Hall; local cooperation requirements particularly relocations, lands and easements and the timing of these requirements; potential recreation development as part of the levee project and timing of local workshops and public meetings.
9/5/1978 USACE DF re Environmental Input to Design of Downstream Levees Of major concern to the resource agencies is the placement of riprap into the -river as it modifies shoreline habitat and can be detrimental to salmon resources for which the shore zone is the primary migration and rearing area. A second major concern is the removal of existing riparian vegetation which provides food cover and other benefits to fish and wildlife. These concerns are the basis for which the following recommendations are made. In developing them, it has been assumed that there will be no channel improvements on the North Fork or on Freshwater Slough.  . . .  1) That a minimal amount of riprap be placed into the river.  2) That in certain cases where the placement of riprap is necessary, a relatively large size be utilized in -the river to provide some replacement of habitat for fish.  That riprap placement he avoided on the inside bank of bends in the river.  These areas provide shallow, lower velocity resting and rearing areas for migrating juvenile salmonids.
9/5/1978 USACE Environmental Input to Design of Downstream Levees and Field Notes fm 8/30/1978 Field Trip It appears that all the Corps did was mirror the comments of the fish and game people.  See Dept. of Fisheries memo to Corps re Project and Washington State Department of Game ltr to USACE re Comments on Game Fish Concerns
9/6/1978 Corps MFR re higher flood levels to the Samish ". . .the volume is the controlling factor.  Alternative 3b has 11,000 acre-feet more volume than existing conditions after 12 hours of flooding.  This results in increases of up to 3-4 feet in water depths over existing conditions.
9/6/1978 Handwritten notes concerning meeting on 9/6/1978 "...the controlling factor is the volume."  Notes contain info about overflows into Samish as well as  Big Bend to Padilla Bay and LaConner.
9/13/1978 Corps MFR re meeting with County officials re potential recreational facilities "The County's primary concern is to preserve the existing recreation facilities along the levee alignment.  Of primary concern is Lions Park where there may be substantial impact from the proposed project."  . . . "There is no interest, at this time, in developing a complete trail system along the levee."
9/15/1978 Corps MFR re 3rd Biweekly Review Meeting for Skagit Levee Channel Improvement Project "The latest negotiations with the Fish and Wildlife Service have resulted in the projected submittal of their draft report in conformance with the project schedule. . . . Available information will be furnished to the Fish and Wildlife Service and they will have another 60 days to complete their evaluation, which means it will not be completed until mid-November (1978) after the draft EIS is scheduled for completion."     (See USFW Final Report to Corps  dated 4/6/1979.)  "Writing of the report has not started."   
9/18/1978 Corps Hydrology Division 100 year flood water surface profiles with Avon blocked off and Samish flow controlled by weir River levels for 100-year flood from Sedro-Woolley to Fir Island.  Compare this document to Skagit Surveyors & Engineers 1995 Flood Elevations. and 1977 Corps "River Mile" maps.
9/19/1978 USACE notes re project assignments “This project has been designated high priority.”
9/21/1978 USACE MFR re Project meeting to Discuss Real Estate Input “USACE MFR re Project meeting to Discuss Real Estate Input”
9/28/1978 Corps MFR re meeting with County officials re riprap and levee heights ". . .agencies are primarily concerned about removal of riparian habitat and placement of riprap within the river. Where that is not possible, the placement of large pieces of riprap can provide needed shelter for small fish."  ... We explained that we had selected the levee height for the downstream levees (the 120,000 cfs profile+ 6 feet). This design would include about 1.8 feet for aggradation and 2 feet for freeboard. '  . . . We then discussed the problems of the Samish overflow (peak overflow discharge with levees would be about the same but the volume would be greater because of a longer duration."
9/29/1978 Corps MFR re 4th Biweekly Review Meeting for Skagit Levee Channel Improvement Project "Hydraulics is currently running the 50-year water surface for Samish weired Avon closed and downstream levee improvements.  . . .The modification of Alternative 3b with the Samish weired is now the preliminary selected plan."
10/1978 Corps Draft Inventory of Wetlands Lower Skagit River Lots of discussion concerning what the different types of wetlands are however in my personal opinion the worst "inventory" of wetlands I have ever read.  Basically they identified "Skagit Flats, South Fork Skagit River Delta; Fir Island and Upriver Cutoff Sloughs; Hart Island; DeBays Slough; and the Skagit River.  The only mention of Gages Slough, the old channel of the Skagit River is found in paragraph 81:   Fir Island, located between the north and south forks of the Skagit River, is bisected by several sloughs which no longer carry running water except in times of flood. Upriver are several similar areas, in particular Britt and Gages Sloughs. Each slough is a complex pattern of open water ponds, Phalaris dominated dry beds, and wooded channels. These various units are connected by culverts beneath roads and driveways which are often too high to allow year-round water flow."  What a waste of taxpayer's money.
10/2/1978 Corps MFR re problems with downstream levee project "Several weeks ago the 120,000 cfs profile +6 feet case was selected for the top of levee.  However, this did not include allowances for wave action and super elevation."  Identified solutions for Fisher Slough:  " (1) Place levee on outside of railroad, leave road and railroad as is and install pumping plant gravity drain through the levee; (2) raise existing levees on Fisher Slough as required and raise road and railroad to pass over levees (similar to the scoping analysis by the A/E); and (3) raise the existing levees on Fisher Slough as required, put gates/ stoplogs and/or flood fight gaps at road and railroad levee crossings and modify bridges to reduce impediment to flow."
10/6/1978 Corps Gross Appraisal on Skagit River Levee. . .(Burlington Area) Reconnaissance Studies "Good level farm land inside the flood plain sells for $2,500 to $3,500 per acre.  Building lots ready for construction sell for $10,000 per site.  Average sites contain 10,000 square feet.  Commercial land sells for $40,000 per acre or $1.00 per square foot."
10/6/1978 Corps MFR re Environmental Coordination Corps had meetings with DOG, DOF and Skagit System Cooperative.  " The agencies are pleased with the reduction in the amount of riprap from that shown them on 29 August and with the removal from the project of any plans for channel improvements. It is noted that in several locations where riprap is to be placed, riprap exists under current conditions; therefore, one could expect the impacts of additional placement to be less than in areas where riprap currently is not present."  "Fisher Slough... All indicated that this is a prime cutthroat fishing area with spawning occurring both in Fisher and Carpenter Creek Drainages.
10/16/1978 Corps handwritten notes depicting the history of the decision making process of the 1979 levee project This document presents us with a great look into the evolution of the Corps thought process for the Skagit Levee Process.
10/27/1978 Corps MFR re Fifth Bi-Weekly Meeting Good discussion on how the District handles problems when they don't know what the President or Congress is going to do.
10/30/1978 Corps MFR re Sixth Bi-Weekly Meeting "Vern Cook brought up a question that was raised at the meeting with the County Engineer concerning the county's liability for areas between the levees where the depth of flooding will be increased. It was concluded that there is an undefined liability that must be considered and it would be a part of the county's local cooperation responsibility.  We would be required to furnish the county data on the additional flooding heights and they would be responsible for securing the necessary easements. It was noted that the largest impact area would be the trailer court at Mount Vernon."
11/1/1978 Corps MFR re 10/27/1978 mtg with Skagit County ". . .discussed the FY 1979 Appropriations Bill and the 1978 Omnibus Bill. President Carter signed the substitute FY 1979 Appropriations Bill and this will cause no impact on the Skagit project. The Omnibus Bill, which contained additional legislation for the Skagit project, did not pass Congress this session.  . . .five different ways to proceed. . . questions dealt with how the county was going to raise cash for their part of the project and, if bonds are issued, details concerning the county's bonding limit and other bonds currently outstanding.  . . . (Subsequent to the meeting, Mr. Nelson requested that we brief the county commissioners prior to the meeting with the flood control council.)  . . . "  NOTE:  Isn't a mtg with two or more commissioners on a public project supposed to be considered a public meeting?
11/3/1978 Corps letter to Skagit Valley Herald re Alternative #3E The attached map is the first know map of Alternative #3E which is what the voters turned down in 1979 and what the Dike Districts are currently trying to ram down the throats (and pocketbooks) of the people of Skagit County today. 
See Also: 11/7/79 SVH, Decisive defeat at polls –Flood control future unclear
11/6/1978 Corps letter to Dike District 12 re river cross sections above and below BNSF bridge It will be interesting to see how many changes there will be with new maps for the new project.
11/7/1978 Corps MFR re mtg with BCC and staff as well as a mtg with the Flood Control Council (Diking & Drainage Districts only) Ray Skrinde (former corps employee) and Lloyd Johnson (former County Engineer) were presented as "consultants" to the County".
11/7/1978 Corps MFR re mtg with County on 11/3/1978 "Mr. Sampley and Mr. Nelson said that what little reaction they had received since the 1 November 1978 meeting of the Skagit Flood Control Council was favorable."
11/9/1978 Corps MFR re Interior Drainage Three solutions for Fisher Slough..  "c.  Rebuild the floodgates in Fisher Slough, improve the creek levees as necessary to handle the Carpenter Creek flow, and add a controlled ponding area."  (See Fisher Slough Fact Sheet and Fisher Slough Project Maps dated 2/2009).
11/13/1978 Corps Telephone Conversation Record Skagit County did not want greater than 10-15 year protection for ag land because higher protection would make it more difficult to restrict development of the farmland.
11/15/1978 Corps MFR re Flood Plain Development ". . .county records show that between 1973 and March 1978, 15 residential structures were built and five mobile homes were located on agriculturally zoned flood plain land in the Avon area. No attempt at flood proofing was evident to me from a quick look at these structures.  In addition to the Avon area, development in the flood plain is currently taking place in west Mount Vernon (commercial and residential), George Hopper I-5 interchange, just north of Mount Vernon city limits (commercial), and in east Burlington (residential). With the exception of the George Hopper interchange area and east Burlington, which are expected to develop faster with flood protection, our project is not expected to induce flood plain development."
11/18/1978 COE legal opinion re liability issues for induce flooding "The alternative that will probably be selected as the recommended plan involves improving the levee system in the Skagit River downstream of Mount Vernon to provide protection from the 50-year Skagit flood, and improving the levees at Mount Vernon and Burlington to provide 100-year protection to the urban areas."  Under the statute cited liability on the US would not be created...However... the dike might establish liability on the part of the local cooperating agency ... "
11/20/1978 Corps Rough Draft of Chapter 3 of DEIS "...fill would no longer be required. Hanson said that in the past developers have maintained that fill costs have made it too expensive to build in Burlington and therefore some increase in building activity might be expected with the flood protection.  The portion of Burlington near the freeway is the lowest, and therefore has required the most fill in the past (six feet in some places).
11/21/1978 Corps Seattle District ltr to Division Engineer re status of Levee Project "The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the course of action we are following in the advance engineering and design of the Skagit Levee and Channel Improvement Project in order to maintain the scheduled construction start in Fiscal Year 1980.  . . . The most desirable plan is to increase the level of protection for agricultural areas downstream of Mount Vernon to approximately 50-year protection and provide 100-year or more protection to the urban areas of Burlington and Mount Vernon."  This document shows that the Corps did not have authorization to build the project.
12/1978 USACE Levee Improvement Study Studygram December 1978 Analysis of proposals to improve levees from the 3-Bridge Corridor to the delta for the 1979 Levee Improvement proposals that failed at the polls.  One alternative, 3D, would provide, 29,700 acres of land with rural protection (50-year), and 22,000 acres of land would be provided urban protection (100-year). The project would prevent 100-year Skagit floods from overflow to the Samish. However, flooding would still occur due to Samish River flows on 14,500 acres. The Nookachamps-Clear Lake area would experience an increase in the 100-year water surface elevation of about 4.5 feet. 
See also: 1979 Levee Improvement Project Historical Index
12/12/1978 Division Engineer to Seattle District re conf call with Headquarters in WA DC. "Specific Congressional authority will be required to extend the Skagit River Levee project upstream to provide urban flood protection to the Burlington and Sedro Woolley areas."
12/12/1978 Corps MFR re mtg w/US Fish and Wildlife Other ideas for mitigation discussed were the establishment of a preservation area where the land is currently reverting to wetlands on the right bank of the North Fork just south of the North Fork bridge around Station 1000 and the reestablishment of a riparian vegetation zone on the left bank of the South Fork on Georgia Pacific Corporation's island (Stations 1150-1040).
12/15/1978 Corps Seattle District request of Portland District for more money Project "...would provide 100-year or more flood protection fr urban areas and lesser protection (about 50 years) for rural areas."  This increased the federal cost of the project from "$16,300,000 to about $45,000,000."  Also increased benefit to cost ratio from about 1.5 to 2.5."
12/18/1978 Corps MFR re mtg w/Skagit County Officials Recreational facilities were discussed.  Bike trails were removed.  County flood engineer presented Corps with letter fm Barb Austin re additional flooding in the Nookachamps.  Mt. Vernon wanted to know what effect will the project have on building codes or insurance.  Corps did not have answers on local cost.
12/20/1978 George Dynes ltr to Corps re Levee and Channel Improvements “My own personal feelings are at this time for the money that I feel will be available on a Federal Level, that we should go back to Alternate #2 or Low Levees with the extension of the Levees from Burlington to Sedro Woolley.”
See Also: 12/20/1978 Partial Transcript of Corps Skagit Public Workshop
12/20/1978 Corps Colonel directive to staff re completion of Draft GDM Corps Colonel directive to staff re completion of Draft GDM.
See Also: 12/20/1978 Partial Transcript of Corps Skagit Public Workshop
12/20/1978 Soil Conservation District ltr to Corps “Consideration needs to be given to those who will sustain damage due to the additional flood waters in that area.”
See Also: 12/20/1978 Partial Transcript of Corps Skagit Public Workshop 
12/22/1978 Corp Study Cost Estimate “Prepare an estimate of the time and money required to more accurately determine the with and without project (3E) in the Nookachamps-Clear Lake area and to evaluate alternative flood damage reduction measures or that area and others that lie between the proposed levees.”
12/22/1978 County ltr to Barbara Austin re impacts on Nookachamps (1 to 2 feet of extra water.). “We assure you the Skagit County Commissioners, the Skagit County Engineers and the Army Corps of Engineers are responding to this concern.”
See also: Graphic Summary of Increases in 1990 Flood Levels Due to Levee System
12/27/1978 Johnson Dairy ltr to Corps re impacts to Nookachamps For flood protection to be totally effective on the Skagit, Alternative 2 low levees combined with either upstream storage or Avon bypass channel must be constructed.
1979 Non-Structural Alternatives Computation of what the annual cost/benefits would be for non-structural approach.
1/2/1979 Skagit County BCC ltr to Corps Seattle District re Skagit River Lower Levee Project -- Nookachamps Study Request As a result of the public meeting held December 20, 1978 in Mount Vernon regarding the Lower Levee Project, Skagit County does hereby request the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform a study of the Nookachamps area in which backwater from the Skagit affects this area in flood stage as a result of the Lower Levee Project.
1/3/1979 Corps Task Force Meeting Minutes One room was dedicated to just materials for the GDM.  They had $700,000 for FY 1979.
1/11/1979 Corps MFR re Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvements MFR describes 3 mtgs: Al Swif in his Everett office, a luncheon with the Elks Club, and the County Commissioners .  Corps gave Congressman draft legislation for 79 Omnibus Bill on Skagit.  Congressman told Elks Club mtg that they had to choose between levee improvements, Avon Bypass or Sauk Dam because only one stood a chance of making it through Congress.
1/11/1979 Corps Frequency Curve for the Skagit River near Mt. Vernon using unsteady flow model. Unregulated curve was based upon 52 years of gage readings, Stewarts 1815, 1856, 1909, 1917 and 1921 estimates and bulletin 17A.  Regulated curve based upon 120,000 acre feet at Ross and 74,000 at Upper Baker; observed regulation of dams after 1959 for discharges less than 100,000 cfs; regulation of dams discharge greater than 90,000 cfs at Concrete.  All waters over 150,000 cfs flow toward the Samish.
1/13/1979 Corps ltr to County re use of local contractors Corps tells county they will give full consideration to using local contractors.  Corps wanted meeting with local contractors to discuss bidding process in the fall of 1979 as by that time more detail would be available.  County wanted payback plan to be over 50 years.  Corps provided draft legislation to county for congressional approval. 
See also:  11/15/1977 Ltr to Corps fm Whatcom Skagit Island County Contractors Association requesting jobs go to local companies for levee project, 11/29/1977 Corps response ltr to Whatcom-Skagit-Island Contractors Association 
1/15/1979 Corps Seattle District ltr to Division Engineer in Portland re City of Seattle's application for a new major license for Skagit River Project Seattle District states "Article 36 requires the licensee to provide 120,000 acre-feet of flood control storage between October 1 to March 15.  By reference Article 36 included "Details of Regulation for Use of Storage Allocated for Flood Control in Ross Reservoir, Skagit River Washington revised May 25, 1967.  Reference states that "In the event that the high dam is constructed at Ross (1725-foot pool) or any appreciable change in the economic development of the valley takes place which would necessitate a lower control flow at Concrete, a maximum of 180,000 acre feet of flood control storage may be required Corps confirmed the need for 180,000 behind Ross Reservoir."
1/30/1979 Corps MFR re Skagit River Levee Study, Nookachamps/Clear Lake Area "The project would have no affect (sic) on water levels of flood events equal to or less than that which occurred in December 1975. Should another flood equal in magnitude to the one in February 1951 recur with the proposed project, the Nookachamps/Clear Lake area may experience about 1/2-foot higher water levels.  The proposed project is estimated to induce about 1-1/2-foot higher flood stages to the hypothetical 50-year and 100-year floods."
See also: 12/1982 Dames & Moore Report, Graphic Summary of Increases in 1990 Flood Levels Due to Levee System, Skagit Surveyors & Engineers 1995 Flood Elevations
1/31/1979 Skagit System Cooperative ltr to Corps re Levee Impacts on the Fishery Resource "The interest of the Skagit System Cooperative is to maintain natural production of salmonids in the Skagit basin at least at the present levels. In fact, some populations are gradually increasing."
2/2/1979 Corps MFR re Field Reconnaissance of Nookachamps Area on Skagit River "The high-water elevations were estimated to be about 41.7 feet for 1951 high water and 39.8 feet for 1975. (Estimated water levels are: 42.5 feet for 100-year flood without project, 44 feet for 100-year flood with project at day 1, and 44.5 feet for 100-year flood at end of project life.)"  . . .  Mr. and Mrs. Don Austin told about having 3 inches of water in their house in 1951 and in 1921 water was up to the window sill (about 2 feet of water in the house). "
2/7/1979 Seattle District MFR to Portland District RE: Status of Studies "Increased level of flood protection for MV to standard project flood (SPF) level and other urban areas to 100-year or more without threat of catastrophic flooding for floods up to SPF.  ... Estimated total cost about $55,000,000. ... Just upstream of suburban area of Avon a reduced freeboard area will be provided that would permit overtopping prior to other urban levees being overtopped  ... By raising the levee height 0.4 foot around Mount Vernon, standard project flood protection has been provided."  There will be 2 feet of clearance under the BNRR bridge during the 100-year event after allowances for bridge swellhead and debris blockage are included.
3/9/1979 Corps Seattle District Ltr to North Pacific Division re Additional Funding The $113,000 was used to complete preliminary review of all alternatives within the area affected by the project. The 267,000 is being used to template the expanded scope of general design memorandum (GDM) studies in the project area due to increased levels of flood protection.  During the time from mid-December 1978 to early February 1979, much of the technical work on the GDM was being completed. A public meeting on the final alternatives was held 20 December 1978 which resulted in a selected plan. ; the local sponsor called a special meeting on 8 January 1979 which resulted in requests for supplemental studies for the Nookachamps area and areas riverward of the proposed levees at West Mount Vernon and Sterling.   . . .  Additional authority will be needed to construct the selected plan of improvement.
3/10/1979 Corps new language for draft GDM Elimination of Channel Improvements:  The authorized project recommended channel improvements (excavation and widening) to increase the hydraulic capacity of the Skagit River below MV. . . . Total proposed excavation was $1,466,600 cu yds over a total length of 2.5 miles. . . . The channelization features of the authorized project met with opposition from resource agencies and members of the public.  . . .  Major environmental impacts. . . to fisheries due to the loss of shallow vegetated shore zone habitat, critical rearing area for juvenile anadromous fish during their out migration; impacts to water quality. . . alteration of sediment deposition patterns as a result of channelization. . . . any significant impacts to fisheries as a result of the propose channel improvements.  Loss of fish could impact upriver Bald Eagles.  Channel improvements also would have unacceptable impacts on set net fishing areas used by the Swinomish Indian Tribe below the North Fork.
3/12/1979 Ltr to Town of Hamilton fm Corps study manager re impacts of proposed project on Hamilton. "The backwater effects from the Skagit levee project on Skagit River floodflows diminish rapidly upstream from the project and zero out at approximately river mile 26.0 which is just upstream of Sedro Woolley. The town of Hamilton is at approximately river mile 40.0 so the town would he approximately 14.0 miles upstream from the end of env project effects."
3/23/1979 Portland Headquarters comments on Seattle District draft GDM The Standard Project Flood (SPF) discharge at Sedro Woolley is 397,000 second-feet.  The final GDM should address the economic feasibility of providing SPF protection for urban areas. . . . The GDM and EIS presently recommend a plan that OCE has ruled is beyond the discretionary authority of the Chief of Engineers. Although authorization of this plan may be provided by Congress in the near future, OCE indicates that they would process the report in a normal manner in the event that this does not occur. Accordingly, the u:-1 and EIS must he revised to support ) ,A staged construction that can be started in FY 1980 and result in a completed project also protecting Burlington. OCE feels that the 1-5 bridge is the approximate upstream limit to OCE's authority to approve changes in scope.  . . . 3. We also recognize-that we must consider the problem of induced flooding when a levee is constructed on one bank. For this reason, the district may choose to .recommend maintaining equal levels of protection on adjacent banks without an economic analysis as described above. Such a recommendation must be supported in the final GDM as to why this economic analysis of subareas is not appropriate.
3/28/1979 Corps draft page for GDM re Diking District's “Chart shows us the Corps estimate of what the levees could withstand in 1979.  Dike District 12 was 142,000 cfs, Dike 17 was 135,000 cfs.  In 1990 and 1995 the Skagit River experienced 152,000 cfs and 141,000 cfs respectively between the two Dike Districts.”
See also: Historic Flood Flows of the Skagit River 
4/11/1979 Corps Transmittal Slip re BCC concern over ltr fm SCD and project manager stopping by before pig roast. "They do not want the Samish to be a relief valve for the whole Skagit system and do not want a weir."
See also: 4/4/1979 Ltr fm Skagit Conservation District to County Commissioners re Alternative 3E of Corps Project
4/13/1979 NPD Portland MFR referencing 3/13/1979 Portland Headquarters comments on Seattle District draft GDM and mtg with General Wells re discussion on Draft GDM. “Discussion included a control structure at Avon Bend to discharge flows exceeding the 100-year event; requiring flowage easements downstream of Avon; independent plans for Stanwood; and adding recreation as a project purpose.”
See also:
3/23/1979 Portland Headquarters comments on Seattle District draft GDM
4/20/1979 Ltr fm Portland District to Seattle District re Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvements Project was not authorized to include Burlington but because downstream work would have "significant induced damages" on Burlington, the city was included.
4/30/1979 Ltr fm Seattle District to Portland District re copies of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) 100 yr protection to Urban areas, 50 year for rural.  Total estimated cost $50,270,000.  $40,720,000 federal cost, rest local.  Benefit-cost ratio was 1.4 to 1
5/2/1979 NPD MFR re induced damages and requirement of local governments to purchase flowage easements "Compensatory measures may consist either of engineering remedies or of payment for damages caused."  . . ."there is a Federal interest in identifying 'expected detrimental effects of project implementation. In addition a plan to mitigate these effects should be formulated. In formulating a plan, consideration should be given to structural solutions when practicable and economical, as well as, easements and/or requiring the local interests to hold and save."
5/8/1979 Seattle District Floodplain Management Section comments on DEIS Determined that "50-year protection will increase the pressures for development."
5/8/1979 Nookachamps/Clear Lake, Sterling, Lower Sedro Woolley and West Mt. Vernon Structural and Non-Structural Alternative Studies Report references Corps MFR re Field Reconnaissance of Nookachamps Area on Skagit River  Levees were looked at for both Sterling and Nookachamps.  Rejected in part to additional cost of raising downstream levees for loss of the "reservoir space".
5/9/1979 Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission comment ltr on DEIS Project would have no impacts on property owned by Commission.
5/11/1979 Telephone or Verbal Conversation Record from FEMA to Corps FEMA was going to blast the DEIS due to the fact that it violated Section 3(a) of EO 11988 by raising water on unprotected lands i.e. Nookachamps.
5/23/1979 US Dept. of Agriculture comment letter to Corps re DEIS "The economic wellbeing of the agricultural community is very dependent on drainage improvements."  "Considerable seepage now occurs through several reaches of dike during high river flows."  "The magnitude of a weir that will spill 60,000 cubic feet per second during a 100-year flood event should be more adequately addressed...". . .Farmers should have the opportunity to install subsurface drainage system's in proposed ponding areas before dikes are constructed north and west of Burlington."5/23
5/23/1979 WSDOT Ltr to Corps re DEIS "The selected route for SR 20 has not been determined yet."
6/1979 Several Public Comments on June 1979 Levee Improvements The issues presented in this document will be the same issues that have to be dealt with in 2013.  The comments from the Nookachamps Attorney and the BNRR are most interesting.
6/1979 Skagit River Levee Improvement Public Brochure 52 pages of critical historical documentation on the Skagit River Flood Risk dating to 1979.  Also includes multiple public comment letters.
6/3/1979 Corps MFR re mtg w/Skagit County BCC and residents of the Sterling and Samish River Areas “...erosion control sills were necessary to avoid a possible channel change from the Skagit Channel into the Samish Basin during a very large flood.”
6/11/1979 Corps Addendum to DEIS dated May 1979 Proving that the Corps can move with precision and speed the addendum to the DEIS was published within 30 days of the DEIS.  It will be very interesting to compare this document with what the Corps comes up with the current study because under today's regulations the project within this document would not be allowed.
6/15/1979 Ltr fm NW Regional Council to Corps Endorsed improved levees fm Sedro Woolley to mouth of Skagit.  50-yr rural  south of MV; 100 yr  for Urban areas.
6/18/1979 Ltr to Corps fm MV Chamber of Commerce. “...the majority wished for Board to go on record as being in support of the Skagit River Levee Project”
6/19/1979 Corps District Engineer Remarks and Project Study Manager description of measures evaluated and reasons for being dropped from consideration This is a wonderful document that shows us exactly what was considered in 1979.  See also Transcript of Public Hearing where these comments were made.  Most importantly compare what is currently being "studied" by the Corps (5/9/2012 Corps of Engineers GI Study Presentation) to what was "studied in 1979 and rejected.  If it was rejected in 1979 BY THE CORPS, why are we "studying" the same proposals again?
6/19/1979 County Commissioner Chairman Bud Norris speech to the Corps at public meeting "...there is no perfect solution..."
See Also: 6/19/1979 Transcript of Public Hearing
6/19/1979 Skagit Regional Planning Council testimony to Corps The Swinomish Tribal Community was a member of the SRPC.  "We strongly support this project for early construction as a minimum measure for providing flood protection for the lower valley and the urban areas up to the city of Sedro Woolley."  The chairman was the Mayor of Sedro Woolley.
6/20/1979 Skagit County Public Works ltr to Corps re proposed levee project County was concerned about "considerable numbers of property owners" who voiced concern over road construction.  No mention of "considerable numbers" who were impacted by higher water levels.
6/25/1979 Corps handwritten notes from mtg w/Samish farmers 43 people in attendance.  Favored doing nothing vs Corps project.  Question about how funds would be raised persisted back then as they do today in 2012.
6/27/1979 Skagit Soil Conservation District comment letter to Corps on DEIS Drainage of our agricultural land is very important in Skagit County.  . . .  Many of these systems were installed with Federal assistance, both financially and technically and represent a sizeable investment to the farmers.  . . .  We cannot afford to loose anymore farmland than is absolutely necessary.  . . .  We now feel we could support an alternative that will give Skagit County better flood protection but people and property must not be left with a worse flood situation than prior to the project.”
6/27/1979 Washington State Dept of Fisheries DEIS comment letter to Corps “The Skagit River is the single largest producer of salmon in the Puget Sound region and the Department is vitally interested in maintaining the present level of salmon production.  . . .  While sewage outfall, agricultural practices and siltation can affect fish production, they are not major factors within the project area.”
6/28/1979 Attorney letter to Corps re impacts to Nookachamps residents “ . . . the residents in the Nookachamps area now submit this letter in the hopes that the Corps will do everything in its power to prevent flood damage where at all possible and to fully compensate each and every landowner for the risks they will take to benefit all of the residents of Skagit County. ”
6/29/1979 BNRR letter to Corps re 1979 levee project At Gages Slough at about our MP 18 between Burlington and Sedro Woolley , your engineers state that the 100 Year Flood would inundate 4,000 feet of track if levees were constructed as proposed by Alternate 3E.  Inundation of track leaves the ballast full of silt and this is not satisfactory.  It appears that we should raise our track and provide a bridge for passage of flood waters."  . . . We find that local people raise the dikes when they are in danger of being overtopped (and the Army Engineers sometime help them in this) . When flood waters recede,  the material brought in to raise the dike is left on top of the dikes and thus , they are gradually raised.”
See also: 4/10/1978 Ltr to Corps fm BNRR re why they were opposed to flood project
7/1979 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Corps 1979 Project This is the final Environmental Impact Statement for the Corps 1979 project.
7/6/1979 Department of Ecology DEIS letter to Corps “The Dept. of Transportation has expressed a desire to work with your office on the feasibility of incorporating SR 20 into the levee system.
7/9/1979 Corps letter to US Fish & Wildlife re changes to levee project “The intent of the proposed levee project is to protect existing development, not to promote the undesirable development of agricultural land, and no project benefits have been claimed for any higher or more intensive use of any of the protected areas.”
7/18/1979 Corps letter to Nookachamps attorney in response to meeting in Seattle Construction of a highway on continuous fill along the river between Burlington and Sedro Woolley could increase water surface levels in the Nookachamps area by 4 to 5 feet in a 100-year flood.
See also: 6/28/1979 Attorney letter to Corps re impacts to Nookachamps residents
7/24/1979 Corps ltr to DOE “...require the State of Washington to contribute an estimated $2,750,000 in cash toward project construction. ... The combined non-Federal share would be 25 percent of project first costs.
7/25/1979 Corps ltr to BNRR We plan to investigate the feasibility of opening the waterway under the north bridge approach to lower the water surface for large events under the bridge and in the area upstream of the bridge.
8/9/1979 Corps Statement of Findings re 1979 FEIS The remaining 9,500 acres is undeveloped land which will incidentally be provided highlevel protection as a result of measures taken to reduce existing flood damages in the urban areas of Mount Vernon, Burlington, and Clear lake. The provision of 100-year or more protection to undeveloped areas could result in significant secondary impacts from increased pressure to develop in the protected flood plain. The extent of impact will depend upon the degree that existing local land use regulations are enforced.
11/26/1979 Corps MFR re electon results Citizens of Skagit County, on 6 November 1979, voted 28.1 percent for and 71.9 percent against providing County Commissioners authority to obtain required local funding to construct the Skagit River, Washington, flood damage reduction project. District effort will be deferred on the project. Work in the various elements was examined to determine requirements for funds and time to complete activities. Funds requested by the various elements will be used to wind down the project and leave it in good condition to perhaps be continued sometime in the future.
12/06/1979 Corps Letter to Skagit County Commissioners discussing future of flood control after voter rejection “You indicated that the voters rejected Proposition 2 on flood control because they were reluctant to approve a raise in taxes, were dissatisfied with the proposed plan, or a combination of both.”
1/17/1980

MFR re changes needed to 1979 Levee Improvement Project (GDM)

MFR documents changes needed to the 1979 Corps GDM for the 1979 Levee Improvement Project
1/17/1980

Colonel Moraski Ltr re winding down of 1979 Levee Improvement Project

Colonel Moraski Letter to Headquarters re the winding down of the 1979 Levee Project due to local voter rejection of the project.
9/8/1980

MFR re meeting in Skagit County re Floodway Designations

MFR documents 9/3/80 meeting in Skagit County re Floodway Designations. Impacts of filling in Burlington on Port property discussed. Burlington worried about “no-growth mandate.” Suggestion was made to let the Flood Control Advisory Committee come up with floodway designation. Corps concerned about filling around the Sterling Hill area. Burlington not sensitive to the filling problem.
12/5/1980

Ltr to Corps from FEMA re Floodway Designations

Letter states probable failure points (PFP) not reliable for designating floodways. Decision made to use 1972 overtopping of entire levee system.
12/10/1980

MFR re Floodway Designation Methodology

MFR documents discussions between Corps, FEMA and Skagit County re proper method of designating floodways. 1972 study vs. 1000 foot setback from levees discussed.
5/27/1981

MFR re Floodway Designation help from HEC

MFR discusses “density” floodway study being financed by FEMA and getting help from HEC in California on floodway problem for lower Skagit Basin.
6/8/1981

Ltr to Mt. Vernon re Level of Protection for Urban Areas

Letter explained to Ron Maynock, Mt. Vernon Building Official, current levees only provided 11-17 year flood protection. 100 yr protection for Urban areas insufficient for flood control projects and Corps must use SPF (Standard Project Flood or 500 yr protection).
6/9/1981

MFR re Floodway Designations

MFR documents discussions between Corps and FEMA re floodway designations. Equal conveyance method in lower valley politically unacceptable. FEMA not considering lost storage effects in FIS. Density floodways considered. 40 acre lot size in County could accomplish same thing as density floodway. Corps needed more detailed topography. Potential development between Burlington and Mt. Vernon could eliminate floodway and cause damming effect upstream. Suggested using “C-10” language in FIS.
1/19/1987 Handwritten Notes by Brown and Caldwell Employee for Comprehensive Flood Control Management Plan (CFCMP) Handwritten notes (HWN) include notes that “whole county plan - highest priority problems” and “no modeling in plans - not lots of money & effort”.
2/25/1987 Skagit County Public Works Contract Activation Letter to Brown and Caldwell for Comprehensive Flood Control Management Plan (CFCMP) Work Letter to Brown & Caldwell with “executed copy” of the scope of work Brown & Caldwell did for the 1989 Skagit River CFCMP.   Includes line on last page of “Computer costs at $10.00 per hour.”
4/19/1988

Conversation Record re Reactivation of 1979 Levee Project

The document memorializes conversation between Corps and Mt. Vernon City Engineer John Wiseman re reactivation of the 1979 Levee Improvement Project. What is somewhat amazing about this document is that 17 years later two Skagit County men would be at the same organization meeting receiving an award for a Historical Project and we still do not have a flood control project. Corps wanted resolutions from County and Cities requesting reactivation of levee project.
6/7/1988

MFR re meeting on reactivation of 1979 Levee Project

MFR announces a meeting to discuss reactivation of the 1979 Levee Project as well as a meeting with the City of Mt. Vernon to discuss a project just for the City of Mt. Vernon.
7/7/1988

MFR re meeting with City of Mt. Vernon

MFR documents meeting with City of Mt. Vernon. Levees raised and strengthen since middle 1970’s. Blamed the “Hill People” for the overwhelming vote against the 1979 Levee Project. Truth of the matter is that even the City of Burlington voted against it. City officials appeared to be overwhelmed by the complexity of flood control projects. Any project to protect just downtown Mt. Vernon would have adverse impacts in other areas of the river.
7/28/1988

Conversation Record re Mt. Vernon request to reactivate 1979 project

Documents conversation wherein City of Mt. Vernon decided to ask Corps to reactivate the 1979 Levee Project. Corps volunteers to draft letter for Mt. Vernon. (See 9/22/88 letter from Mt. Vernon)
9/29/1988

MFR re meeting with Mt. Vernon re reactivation of 1979 Levee Project

Corps attended meeting wherein Mt. Vernon officially asked Corps to reactivate the 1979 Levee Project. Told City Engineer that the earliest they could start would be 1991. Corps talked to County Engineer who stated that the County preferred to have residents “push them” into requesting flood control project.
7/18/1989 USACE MFR Re: Skagit River Flood Control Study “This led into a discussion of the capabilities of the existing levees on the Skagit. In 1975, the last major flood on the Skagit which reached flows at the town of Mount Vernon of 130,000 cfs, levees were not overtopped but the flood stage of the river was within 6" of the top of the main levee system at Mount Vernon. Since 1975, Skagit County has improved the levees downstream from Mount Vernon protecting agricultural land. The levees are built to a height equivalent to the water surface elevation of the 50-year flood event. They have something in the neighborhood of a 25-year level protection if you consider a need for freeboard.”
5/31/1991

MFR re amounts of material "dredged" out of the Skagit River

This MFR documents the historical “dredging” performed by the Corps. In reality the Corps never really dredged anything. The process was called “side-casting” which put the sand obtained from the bottom of the river up on the river banks where it proceeded to be washed back into the river during the next freshet.
3/15/1993 Ltr fm Corps to Larry Kunzler with attachments Attachments show 10yr to 100 yr. flows at Sedro Woolley and Mt. Vernon as of 8/21/1978, and report on first flood of 1990.  "In addition to the above amounts, Ross Dam reported a 24-hour rainfall amount of 9 inches which is nearly a 100-year rainfall event."
8/27/1993

MFR re cumulative impacts of fill from County BNRR bridge area project

MFR clearly documents the Corps refusal to do a cumulative impact analysis of fill in the floodplain.
4/6/1994 Seattle District USACE Public Testimony, Re: Burlington Land Use Practices “One example of poor flood plain management is the Gages Slough floodway in Burlington. Historically this floodway has seen flows from 30,000 to 60,000 cfs with significant flooding in Burlington and out to Padilla Bay and Samish Bay. This floodway has been blocked by road fills, malls and Interstate 5. This development will cause significant damages to itself and increased damage to the rest of Burlington. The current plan recommends an Urban Growth Area (UGA) right across the upstream end of this floodway. ... There is significant pressure to increase the tax base of the cities and the county by developing the flood plain.  Hopefully this leadership will be enlightened and visionary enough not to recommend any further development within the flood plain.”
2/29/1996 Corps Ltr to Tribal Representative Wasserman First suggestion that flood control should be combined with ecosystem restoration.  Past study efforts have failed because of the high cost of desired project features and/or studies.
4/16/1996 Memorandum for Record (MFR), responses to questions from Skagit County.. "Literature review (general). This needs to be the first task completed, and a report should be generated to illustrate scoping changes as a result of findings. Existing studies should be utilized as much as possible."  . . .  U.S. Fish and Wildlife. How is this report utilized?  There appears to be some duplication between this report and the FWCA report. Part of the confusion is because there are two units of FWS that are being dealt with, the Fisheries Research Office (FRO), and the Ecological Services Office. FRO or their agent (most likely the Skagit System Cooperative) would conduct the fish studies.
4/16/1996  Skagit Flood Control & Ecosystem Restoration Study (AKA GI Study) Coordination Meeting Minutes Official Corps document showing the name of the Skagit Project as including "Ecosystem Restoration". 

“The primary purpose of the meeting was to clarify Corps’ understandings about sponsor’s expectations and then begin working on the study details. Before the Corps of Engineers works with the County to rescope the study, we need to clearly understand what the Local Sponsor(s) hope to get out of the study/project process, including both flood control and ecosystem restoration features. How much are potential Local Sponsors willing to commit to this study? How much are the Local Sponsors willing to pay for “the project”?”
4/17/1996 MFR SUBJECT: MEETINGS ON SKAGIT FLOOD CONTROL STUDY

These minutes show the wish list of the participants on that day.  Among many other things that have not been accomplished are the following:  A 3 year study;  A study cost of $2.5 to $3.0 M; Look at relocation of highway 20; Look at incorporating other purposes such as recreation trails; Consider up river communities; Don’t recommend a project so large it requires a vote of the citizens of Skagit Co- stay within the limit of the Commissioner’s authority.  Now why wouldn't anyone want the people of Skagit County to vote on the project?

8/1/1996 Risk-Based Analysis for Flood Damage Reduction Studies Corps of Engineers manual that "describes and provides procedures for risk" of "exposure to a chance of injury or loss" "and uncertainty" "in choice of the hydrologic, hydraulic, and economic functions" "for Corps of Engineers flood damage reduction studies."
10/10/1996 USACE MFR Re: Skagit River Levee Repairs “As long as any repairs we make to the Skagit River levees replace them in kind, we comply with the standard. If we raise the levees or add material to their riverbank or landward sides, then in my opinion, we must conduct an analysis to comply with the standard.”

See also:  FEMA letter re denial of appeal filed on Burlington FIS
10/15/1996 Wynn Letter to Leonard Halverson "I also realize that for every change man makes to a river's levee system, a change in the river may result."
8/21/1997 Skagit Fisheries Investigation Feasibility Study It has been inferred that the massive loss of slough habitat in the lower Skagit River has reduced overwintering productivity of the river and placed increasing pressure on the few remaining sloughs.  A survey should be completed to quantify the amount of slough habitat currently open to fish passage along the project area and to quantify any further loss of slough habitat due to the proposed project.  If  losses occur beyond the current condition, engineering solutions to retain adequate fish passage should be devised.
7/24/2001 Flood Damage Reduction Project [GI Study] Schedule EIS completion projected by mid-2003, public vote planned for November 2003, construction was planned to start in 2006.
2/6/2002 Scope of Work: Geomorphology and Sediment Transport Study of Skagit River Flood Hazard Mitigation Project “Physical modifications to the channel and floodplain may interrupt or change ongoing geomorphic processes.  Similarly, geomorphic processes may affect the function and effectiveness of the proposed flood hazard mitigation project.  The geomorphic assessment and sediment transport analysis will provide a basis for evaluating the potential interactions between ongoing geomorphic processes and each alternative for flood hazard mitigation.”
4/17/2002 Features of Basic Skagit River Damage Flood Reduction Alternatives (No Mitigation) The existing levees will be removed and setback.  Existing levee maintenance standards will be followed with regular mowing of the levees.”
7/9/2002 News Release Showing Partnership between Corps of Engineers and Nature Conservancy Interesting to note there was no mention of the Baker River Dams which later the Nature Conservancy worked to make sure no additional storage would be made available for flood reduction impacts on the landowners along the Skagit River.
7/9/2002 Series of e-mails expressing concern over TNC/Corps Joint Press Release “If that is not possible we can do damage control with Seattle City Light (Ross, etc.) and Puget Sound Energy (who operates the Baker River projects) but it benefits neither USACE nor TNC to create the impression that we are going to conspire to dictate operational changes to dams neither of us owns.
9/6/2002 Memorandum thru Deputy Commander, Seattle District for Commander, Seattle District re: IR Audit Report NWS-IR 2002-09

There have been many of us that have wondered for almost a decade now why our Federal partners started giving Skagit County the cold shoulder around the same time that the County hired Pacific International Engineers. (See DC Trip Experience and at the urging of a former Mt. Vernon Mayor see also  Concerns about Pacific International Engineering (PIE).)

It is now my firm personal belief that based on this document, that should have been relayed to Skagit County a decade ago, (either by the Corps or by PIE),why we received no cooperation and in some instances outright hostility from Federal agencies.  You be the judge.
11/20/2002 MFR for USACE Re: Policy and legal issues created by a diversion alternative that directs floodwater to the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (PBNERR) and CZMA The purpose of this memorandum is to discuss whether the designations of a Marine Protected Area and a National Estuarine Research Reserve impose protections on Padilla Bay that would be relevant to a diversion alternative which directs floodwaters to PBNERR. After careful review, it is the legal opinion of this office that the designations enjoyed by Padilla Bay present significant legal issues with regard to the viability of the proposed diversion alternative.
See also: 12/20/2002 County e-mail killing diversion channel efforts
2/28/2003 [GI Study/Skagit River Feasibility Study] Project Update E-mail from Seattle District

E-mail chain explaining Corps process.

“Mitigation might also be required under the Endangered Species Act or the Clean Water Act. If the mitigation features are necessary to get the permit or concurrence they might be shifted into the basic project features account. The reason is that the project cannot legally be built without these features.”

See also: 12/20/2002 County e-mail killing diversion channel efforts
5/2/2003 May 2, 2003 Skagit River Feasibility Study Status Report “Two weeks of computer run time, together with verification, will be required to then produce the new flood inundation maps for 10-, 25-, 50-, 75-, 100-, 250-, and 500-year events. With the lead hydraulic engineer scheduled for a conference in Portland next week, we anticipate having the existing condition model outputs available during the last week in May.”

That's May of 2003.  It's now November of 2009.  Where are the flood inundation maps?
5/15/2003 Pentac Environmental Memo, Re: Draft Scope of Work for the Phase II of the Geomorphology and Sediment Transport Study of Skagit River Flood Hazard Mitigation Project Skagit County, Washington Update on geomorphology study.
6/6/2003 June 6, 2003 Skagit River Feasibility Study Executive Committee Status Report “The existing condition hydraulic models (UNET and FLO-2D) have undergone independent technical review (West Consultants, Inc). Levees throughout the system were recently field inspected and reanalyzed based on new survey data, resulting in significant changes in probable levee failure and non-failure elevations. This revised information has been inputted to the hydraulic models. Accordingly, new inundation maps for the 10-, 25-, 50-, 75-, 100-, 250-, and 500-year events are now being formatted and are scheduled to be completed this week.”
12/11/2003 October 2003 Skagit River Flood Control Presentation
“What If...
• Only the authorized amount of flood control space had been available in the dams.
• This storm had been preceded by a normal summer/fall, rather than a drought.
THEN
• The dams would have filled close to the top early in the storm.
• Flooding would have been nearly as bad as if the dams had not been there at all.”
1/5/2004

Hydrology Presentation re: Skagit River

While this presentation would be a lot more accurate if they were using the 80 years of gage records at The Dalles in Concrete instead of the Stewart “estimates” it is a very good presentation on the seriousness of the Skagit River flood issue.
12/01/2004 Skagit County Public Works Director Letter to Corps of Engineers Seattle District, Re: Skagit River Flood Reduction Project Request to Corps "to work within the framework of the FERC NEPA process to meet its NEPA responsibilities regarding the flood control elements of the settlement agreement" and independent review of the Pacific International Engineering (PIE) hydrology & hydraulics (H&H) model of the Skagit River.
1/3/2006 Risk Analysis for Flood Damage Reduction Studies "This regulation provides guidance on the evaluation framework to be used in Corps of Engineers flood damage reduction studies."
2/18/2006 Seattle District Corps of Engineers Press Release Once again, no money in Corps budget for Skagit County.
12/11/2006 Corps of Engineers Levee Certification Requirements Document addresses questions which have arisen as to the policy governing levee certification by USACE for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), particularly as regards the application of risk analysis.
1/24/2007 Skagit River Flood Damage Reduction Study Presentation Presentation in Adobe Acrobat PDF by Linda Smith, Project Manager and Ted Perkins, Hydraulic Engineer regarding Skagit River Basin hydrology and options for further flood control.
2/22/2007

Skagit River Basin, Washington Revised Flood Insurance Study - Draft Hydraulics Summary

Latest Corps of Engineers Hydraulic Study for FEMA Flood Insurance Maps.

2/27/2007

Presentation by Col. Mike McCormick to Skagit County On February 27, 2007 the new District Commander Colonel Mike McCormick came to town with his Corps staff and the staff pretty much gave the attached presentation.  It was perhaps staffs most embarrassing performance to date.  They didn't even know the name of the Skagit Project.  (See page 5) (See also 4/16/96 entry above.) Staff totally rejected any more work on the hydrology issue stating flatly, "We're done with that."  "We're using our hydrology."  To date they have spent $6,600,000 and have accomplished almost nothing and they want another 3-4 million dollars to complete their study over the next 7 years.  (See pages 10-12)
8/9/2007 Skagit River Revised Flood Insurance Study
Levee Scenario Discussion
PowerPoint presentation (converted to PDF) by Ted Perkins, Hydraulic Engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District
2/14/2008 Corps of Engineers Seattle District Flood Risk Assessment 5-page discussion of the flood risk for the Pacific Northwest and notes that, "Heavy, intense rainfall is the primary driver of flooding. Snow melt, from rain on snow, does not increase the risk of major flooding, but can affect the severity."
5/01/2008 Skagit River Basin, Washington Revised Flood Insurance Study Hydraulics Summary

“The simulations performed represent a fixed bed analysis so erosion and sedimentation in the floodplain are not modeled. Culverts under roads are also not modeled. The reason that culverts are not modeled for overland flow is that the capacities of the culverts are small compared with the overbank discharge. The FLO-2D model does not contain any sea dike failure scenarios and do not account for pump stations or any other flood fighting techniques to reduce the flood damage.”

8/2008 Corps and County Flood Study Cost

Listing of where our money has been spent.

8/18/2008 Skagit River Flood Damage Reduction Study Preliminary Measures Presentation

PDF of 123-slide presentation to August 2008 Skagit County Flood Control Zone District Advisory Committee explaining potential options to reduce the Skagit River Flood Risk.  Video is also available from Skagit21.

10/31/2008 Letter to County from Corps re: financial info on GI Study

Shows what the Corps spent their time and money on during 4th quarter fiscal year 2008.

11/21/2008 Col. Wright Letter to LJK, Re: Comments on Corps GI Process

“Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your comments on the Skagit River General Investigation Preliminary Measures. The team is evaluating all of the comments and responses will be posted. . . . The team intends to use the comments in refining the 37 preliminary measures and combining the best measures into alternatives and a recommended plan.”

6/2009  Skagit River H&H Technical Review Summary An Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District summary of Skagit River Hydrology & Hydraulics.
6/17/2009  Corps of Engineers Historic Discharge Position Summary “The City of Burlington has stated that the accepted discharges of the historic floods are statistically extremely unlikely. Statistically, this would be all the more reason to include them, as we are defining the magnitude of the expected extreme events. However, we are not just dealing with statistics; we are dealing with a large river and the weather systems that drive its flood peaks. This means we have climate cycles, such as the Pacific Decadal Osolation, El Nino, and climate change, which influence our flood events. Other rivers in the Pacific Northwest also experienced floods of record during the same time period as the historic Skagit River floods.”
6/17/2009 Skagit River Flood Damage Reduction Study Hydrology Background

Overview of Corps of Engineers Seattle District's attempts to address Skagit River hydrology.

7/2/2009 MFR: Skagit Basin Hydrology Technical Discussion “USGS notes that there is potential for inaccuracy for these floods. Data from USGS is accepted by the Corps without corps reproducing the same data.”
7/10/2009 Memo Re: NHC/PIE investigation Recommendations “We find that the PIE and NHC investigations into High Water Marks (HWM’s), survey results, and HEC-RAS modeling provide less than compelling evidence that the USGS historic flood peaks should be adjusted downward. The following suggestions describe how the investigations could be strengthened. It should be noted that these suggestions, if adopted, may improve the quality of the results, however they may not result in compelling evidence that would justify revising the four historical flood peaks.”
7/24/2009 Draft Executive Order of Obama Administration for Floodplain Management “Floods have caused a greater loss of life and property and have devastated more families and communities in the United States than all other natural hazards. Despite the expenditure of billions of tax dollars trying to manage floodwaters and guide wise use of floodplains, flood damages continue to increase and every year billions are spent in response to flood disasters. In addition, natural floodplains contain numerous inherent values that are of great importance to the Nation. The federal government must therefore strengthen its commitment to reducing the loss of life and property caused by floods and to protecting and restoring the natural resources and functions of floodplains.”
8/2009 Skagit River Flood Risk Management and Ecosystem Restoration Project Feasibility Study (aka GI Study) Feasibility Scoping Meeting Read-Ahead Report Documentation of “technical studies and findings of the Skagit River Flood Risk Management and Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study ... to study flood risks in the Skagit River Basin and to evaluate the feasibility and justification of alternative flood risk management alternatives.” The report also “evaluates opportunities to pursue ecosystem restoration.”
9/2009 Skagit River Flood Risk Management and Ecosystem Restoration Project Feasibility Study Project Management Plan - DRAFT Revised September 2009
(aka G.I. Study)
“The purpose of the evaluation and screening of measures is to methodically narrow down the range of individual project elements so that funding and analysis is focused on those measures that have the highest potential to qualify as a Federal interest. A Federal interest for flood risk management measures is determined by a positive benefit-to-cost ratio, environmental acceptability, engineering feasibility, acceptable risk, and acceptable socio-economic impacts.”
9/15/2009 USACE Levee Safety Program - Presentation to NORFMA 2009 43-slide presentation on the history of levees and Corps of Engineers plans to inspect, screen and certify levees.
9/16/2009 Agreement for Flood Control and Replacement Power Between Corps of Engineers & Puget Sound Energy (Amendment at Amendment No.1 Agreement For Flood Control And Replacement Power) “Puget shall operate the Upper Baker Development to provide (i) 16,000 acre feet of flood control storage space between October 15 and March 1 and (ii) an additional 58,000 acre feet of storage space between November 1 and March 1 of each operating year during the Tenn. Such flood control operations shall be at the direction of the Corps on terms and conditions to be mutually agreed upon by the Corps and Puget.”
10/14/2009 Letter re: Request to Revise Water Control Manual “A final EIS for the Baker River Hydroelectric Project was issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on September 8, 2006. As noted in the EIS, the Corps cannot take advantage of any earlier storage provisions in the license or additional storage beyond that contained in H. Doc 95-149 (as authorized by P.L. 89-298) until it completes a study and receives Congressional authorization for taking such additional action (see EIS at 3-52).” 
10/08/2009 Amendment No.1 Agreement For Flood Control And Replacement Power (An amendment to Agreement for Flood Control and Replacement Power Between Corps of Engineers & Puget Sound Energy) “Puget shall operate the Upper Baker Development to provide (i) 16,000 acre feet of flood control storage space between October 15 and March I and (ii) an additional 58,000 acre feet of storage space between November 15 and March 1 of each operating year during the Term. Such flood control operations shall be at the direction of the Corps on terms and conditions to be mutually agreed upon by the Corps and Puget. It shall be the intent of this Agreement to comply with the flood control objectives specified in House Document No. 95-149, while minimizing spill at the Upper Baker Development to the extent that it is feasible. ” 
9/29/2010 Skagit GI Field Tour Documents Many public employees and consultants went “to familiarize the PDT [Project Development Team] with the areas where the proposed flood reduction measures and restoration activities are located.”  A proposed funding schedule is on page two and proposed projects is on page three. 
11/2010 DRAFT Skagit River Flood Risk Reduction Study, Environmental Without-Project Condition Report “Two volcanoes, Mt. Baker and Glacier Peak, are located in the upper watershed. Previous eruptions of Glacier Peak have generated lahars that traveled through the Skagit River to Puget Sound. Mt. Baker eruptions have deposited pyroclastic and lahar material in the Baker River watershed, but have not deposited substantial volumes material in the Skagit River floodplain (Gardner et al. 1995). Future large eruptions could form thick fills of lahars and pyroclastic-flow deposits in the upper valleys near the volcano. Lahars from Glacier Peak could reach the delta, or there could be induced flooding due to temporary damming of watercourses in the upper watershed. Subsequent incision of volcanic deposits could fill riverbeds farther downstream with sediment for many years after the eruption, thereby affecting the capacity of stream channels and locally increasing flood heights (Waitt et al. 1995). These effects would be especially significant for the extensive low-lying areas of the Skagit river floodplain and delta. Although not a direct volcanic hazard, the increased susceptibility of lowland areas downstream of volcanoes to earthquake generated liquefaction is enhanced by the thick deposits of volcanic lahars, sand, gravel and generally saturated conditions in many of those areas.”
...
Today, the majority of the riparian zones below Sedro-Woolley are either entirely devoid of trees or consist of sparse, narrow, and patchy strips of small to medium sized cottonwood, willow, and alder. Approximately 48 miles of levee participate in the PL 84-99 program and are therefore subject to the Corps levee vegetation maintenance requirements. The riparian vegetation that is downstream of Sedro-Woolley is located on these levees. This required vegetation removal results in the majority of the banks being covered with grasses and invasive species (i.e. blackberry, knotweed, and reed canary grass). Upstream of the delta, 32 miles (62 percent) of the mainstem channel edge was hardened with riprap within about 200 feet of the channel’s edge.
2011 National Corps of Engineers Investigations Budget Skagit GI Study is next from the bottom of page 4.
1/31/2011 Shannon & Wilson: General Investigation Report Skagit River Basin Levees Skagit County, Washington “Our scope of services was to identify subsurface geotechnical, geologic, and hydrogeologic conditions for the existing levee and underlying foundation soil along the Skagit River. This information would be used as a first step in procuring subsurface information for levee failure analyses and in identifying opportunities for the development of a flood reduction project. Our research was limited to the information collected by the USACE Seattle District from Skagit County, the City of Burlington, and other USACE projects. ...
“Early settlers in the area individually constructed dikes to protect their holdings. During the late 1890's Dike Districts were formed and by 1963, levees had been constructed from the cities of Burlington and Mount Vernon to Skagit Bay. In general, the existing levee material consists of very loose to medium dense, clean to silty, fine to medium sand and slightly sandy to sandy silt. Occasional to numerous organics were locally identified. Coarser grained material consisting of silty sandy gravel, rock spalls, and cobbles were used at select locations for levee repairs. ...
Except for the recent work along 4.6 miles of levee adjacent to the city of Burlington, the available foundation and levee composition information along the Skagit River is not adequate to prioritize where levee improvements are most needed. The subsurface information collected by the USACE provides background information that will assist in the development of an exploration program for levee characterization, but it is our opinion that the provided information is outdated and could prove misleading. Flooding and repair along the levees since the explorations likely have resulted in changed ground conditions by loosening the soil, altering the levee geometries, and changing the levee composition. Additionally, no comprehensive assessment of the levee and its protective measures was available for review. Updated information such as the current levee geometry, levee and foundation composition and consistency, erosion protection, and seepage control measures are necessary to perform geotechnical and hydrogeologic seepage and stability assessment of the levee system.”
1/31/2011 Shannon & Wilson: Skagit River Levee General Investigation (GI) Levee Risk and Reliability Analysis Skagit County, Washington A highly technical analysis of the risk of levee failure along the Skagit River.
3/2011 Skagit River Basin Skagit River Flood Risk Management Study Draft Report Hydraulic Technical Documentation “This report documents the work conducted for the Skagit River Flood Risk Management Feasibility Study to develop hydraulic computer models and to establish existing without project hydraulic conditions.  . . .  The emphasis in this report is on hydraulic modeling for the lower Skagit River downstream from Sedro-Woolley. The damage reaches that are evaluated start at Sedro-Woolley and extend down to the mouth at Skagit Bay.  . . .  Revisions to the hydraulic models used for the Flood Risk Management Study and preparation of the present 2011 update to the Hydraulic Technical Documentation were carried out by Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Inc. (NHC) under contract to the local sponsor, Skagit County (contract C20080424, Task Assignment 4, authorized 15 October 2009).” 

Report also discusses impacts of bridge debris, potential levee breaches and hydraulic model calibration & validation.  Page 37 of this report (page 41 of the PDF) is devoted to debris loads at the BNSF RR Bridge.
4/11/2011 Congressman Rick Larsen Letter to Commanding General US Army Corps of Engineers, Re: Cease Work Order on Skagit GI Study I have serious concerns about reports that work on the Skagit River General Investigation Study (Skagit G.I.) has been stopped. To abruptly halt forward progress on the Skagit G.I. without exhausting every option available is irresponsible to the mission of protecting lives and property. The Skagit G.I. has taken over thirteen years and has endured numerous scheduled completion date revisions to get to the point where it is today. The Skagit community cannot afford another delay. For more than a decade the people of the Skagit Valley have looked to the Corps to provide the basis on which they can begin completing flood control projects that will increase safety for those living in the Skagit River valley.”
4/15/2011 Flooding in Western Washington: The Connection to Atmospheric Rivers “This study utilizes multiple decades of daily streamflow data gathered in four major watersheds in western Washington to determine the meteorological conditions most likely to cause flooding in those watersheds. ...  The flooding on the four watersheds occurred during the landfall of ARs [Atmospheric Rivers] within the warm sectors of extratropical cyclones that were accompanied by warm advection, lower-tropospheric temperatures 4-6°C above normal, strong low-level water vapor fluxes from over the Pacific, and low-level moist-neutral stability. The enhanced onshore vapor fluxes and weak static stability provided a favorable environment for orographic precipitation enhancement across the region’s steep terrain. More generally, all peak daily flows that exceeded a 5-year return period on non-consecutive days in each of the four basins of interest between WY1980-2009 were associated with landfalling ARs.”

One of those basins of interest was the Sauk River.
4/26/2011 Mississippi River Commission Information Paper: Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway “The call for floodways marked a necessary turnaround in the engineering policy practiced prior to the 1927 flood. The flood had forced that change, but even in the wake of its widespread devastation a controversy emerged over the reality of actually implementing the floodways. Residents within the floodways were ill-prepared for that reality, which assured that private land once protected by levees would now be subject to inundation to reduce flood stages elsewhere in the valley. Under the Jadwin plan, the Birds Point-New Madrid floodway was designed to do just that.”
5/2011 Seattle District Hydraulics & Hydrology MFR on Skagit River Levee Repairs Analysis of the Summer 2011 Skagit River levee repairs currently being photographically documented.  Notes that fish habitat creation with LWD (large woody debris) must not interfere with the 25-year flood protection the levee system currently provides.
7/13/2011 Army Corps of Engineers News Release: Corps Repairing 2.5 Miles of Damaged Levees Along Skagit River “The Skagit River levee system is bustling with activity these days as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers repairs two and a half miles worth of levees at 27 individual sites, within five diking districts, at a cost of approximately $8 million.”
7/29/2011 Federal Register: Notice of Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Skagit River General Investigation Study Notice begins on bottom right of 1st page of PDF.  Great summary of the goal, alternatives and impacts of the Skagit River General Investigation/GI Study.  “The goal of this project is to identify the National Economic Development (NED) plan, the flood-risk management alternative that provides the maximum net economic benefits. In accordance with USACE policy, minimization of ecosystem, cultural, and socio-economic impacts will be a significant project consideration (Reference: ER 1105–2– 100, Planning Guidance Notebook).”
8/4/2011 Skagit River General Investigation - NEPA Scoping Meeting “The purpose of the GI is to better identify the problems and opportunities that exist to relieve flooding and reduce flood risks and to develop a flood-risk management plan. A DEIS is being prepared because of the potential for impacts on environmental resources, particularly salmonid habitat, and the intense public interest already demonstrated in addressing the flooding problems of the Skagit River.

“Public involvement will be sought during scoping, plan formulation, and preparation of the DEIS in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) procedures. A public scoping process has been started: (1) To clarify which issues appear to be major public concerns, (2) to identify any information sources that might be available to analyze and evaluate impacts, and (3) to obtain public input and determine acceptability for the range of measures to be included within potential alternatives.”
8/10/2011 Skagit River General Investigation Study: NEPA Scoping Meeting Agenda of the Skagit River GI Study Scoping Meeting.
8/31/2011 List of Potential Measures List of all 38 potential measures - with potential additional variations - under consideration by the US Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District for the Skagit River.
9/1/2011 Skagit River GI Path Forward Alternatives Formulation Strategy “The purpose of the Skagit River GI Path Forward Alternatives Formulation Strategy is for the PDT to establish an alternatives formulation process that efficiently utilizes time and resources.”
9/1/2011 Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Skagit River Basin Narrative September 2011 The purpose of the Skagit River Basin Narrative (narrative) is to provide a watershed description of the Skagit River Basin (Basin) and to provide a general narrative of flooding in the Basin during flood events per HQUSACE comments to the 2009 Skagit River GI Feasibility Scoping Meeting Read-Ahead. The narrative was developed from a narrative produced by Skagit County.”
9/1/2011 Revised Text to Section 5.3 Without Project Conditions Economics of the 2009 FSM Read-Ahead Report “An economic analysis was conducted to estimate the expected future without-project flood inundation damages for the study area. The analysis is based upon geotechnical assumptions regarding levee performance and associated hydraulic modeling results.”
11/23/2011 Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Study, NWS 2011 Response to HQUSACE Comments to 2009 Feasibility Scoping Meeting (FSM) Read Ahead Packet “The subject document has undergone review by Headquarters USACE (enclosure). Based on the District's work since the June 2011 reset meeting and the findings of the Headquarters review team, I recommend that the District schedule a FSM.”
1/31/2012 Congressman Larsen Press Release: Larsen, Skagit County to Army Corps: Commit to Funding the Skagit GI The Skagit Valley community is united behind the Skagit G.I. which provides the basis for comprehensive flood control projects. The Skagit G.I. has been progressing for more than fourteen years, funded primarily by Congressional appropriations each eligible year.  With a long history of devastating floods, the communities along the river have been looking to construct flood control projects that will increase safety for those living in the Skagit River valley. The Corps itself has recognized how important this G.I. study is.  Through the Reset Initiative the Corps gave the Skagit G.I. a much needed higher priority level to bring about its completion in a fiscally responsible manner.  An interruption to the forward progress of the study due to a stoppage in funding would be a disservice to the residents of the Skagit Valley.  Less than $4 million is needed to complete the investigation.  Allowing the Skagit G.I. funding to lapse would waste the $6.5 million of federal funds already invested in addition to the matching funds contributed by the local community.  
1/31/2012 REVIEW PLAN: Skagit River Basin Flood Risk Management General Investigation “This Review Plan (RP) defines the scope and level of review for the Skagit River Basin Flood Risk Management General Investigation, Skagit County, Washington. ... Flood damages have been reduced in recent years with a well-maintained local levee and dike system on the Lower Skagit River, and a well organized and effective flood fighting effort. The purpose of the feasibility study is to formulate and recommend a comprehensive flood risk management plan for the Skagit River floodplain that will reduce flood hazards and damages in the urban and rural parts of the basin. ... The public will be invited to comment directly to the PDT through informal and formal public scoping meetings and public review comment periods programmed into the feasibility schedule. This includes but will not be limited to documents developed for the FSM, AFB, and NEPA documentation. The Draft and Final FR/EIS will be made available for public comment either when the document is submitted to, or is being reviewed by, the Type I IEPR team. A public meeting may be scheduled. Additionally, the public will be provided with the opportunity to nominate reviewers.”

Document also covers on pages 4-5 of the PDF “challenges and controversies” plus “It is expected that flood fighting, which is utilized to protect against flooding, will not be able to stop larger hydrologic events and there is potential for devastating flooding throughout the valley. The District Chief of Engineering has determined a significant threat to human life exists in the study area.
2/7/2012 Congressman Rick Larsen: Army Corps Commits to $700,000 in Funding for Skagit G.I. “This is great news for Skagit County, and shows the strength of the Skagit G.I. and the community’s united support for the project,” Larsen said. “This is a major commitment from the Army Corps and it means the Skagit G.I. is moving forward. I made it clear to Assistant Secretary Darcy last week that the G.I. is at a critical stage. This funding pushes the study toward completion, bringing the entire Skagit Valley community one step closer to constructing flood control projects that will protect the lives and the property in the community.”
3/13/2012 Skagit River FRM, Washington Feasibility Scoping Meeting (FSM) “The FSM is an important milestone in the planning process that brings the USACE vertical team- HQ/NWD/NWS + the sponsor together to reach agreement on the problems and solutions to be investigated during the Feasibility study, it identifies the future without project conditions, and it identifies the scope of analysis required.”
4/16/2012 Skagit River General Investigation Study Public Outreach on Preliminary Range of Alternatives Blank survey form for public comment on 4/25/2012 Skagit River General Investigation (aka GI Study) Preliminary Alternatives Presentation Read-Ahead, April 25, 2012 & 4/25/2012 Skagit River General Investigation (aka GI Study) Preliminary Alternatives Presentation Read-Ahead, April 25, 2012
4/16/2012 Corps of Engineers Presentation Skagit River General Investigation Preliminary Alternatives 22-slide presentation explaining the GI Study and current alternatives.
See also: 4/25/2012 Skagit River General Investigation (aka GI Study) Preliminary Alternatives Presentation Read-Ahead, April 25, 2012
4/25/2012 Skagit River General Investigation (aka GI Study) Preliminary Alternatives Presentation Read-Ahead, April 25, 2012 “The primary purpose of this meeting is to present the preliminary alternatives and to discuss natural resources issues/concerns relating to the preliminary alternatives. ... It is likely that the final set of alternatives will look different from the preliminary set of alternatives presented today. Agency and public input will be considered in the refinement of the preliminary alternatives into a range of alternatives that will be carried forward to a 10% level of design. Additional analysis (hydraulic, economic, environmental, and policy) will be performed on the refined range of alternatives. Agencies and public will have several opportunities to review the alternatives throughout the remainder of the study. ”
See also: 4/16/2012 Skagit River General Investigation (aka GI Study) Preliminary Alternatives Presentation Read-Ahead, April 25, 2012, 4/16/2012 Skagit River General Investigation Study Public Outreach on Preliminary Range of Alternatives
5/7/2012 USACE Seattle District Skagit River General Investigation Preliminary Alternatives Presentation Basic presentation given to various interest groups in Skagit County.  States the project's objective is to "Reduce flood damages in the Skagit River Basin over the 50 year project life."
6/2012 Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Comment Received (April 2012-June 2012 Outreach) Report “This report documents comments received in response to outreach efforts to gather public feedback on preliminary alternatives for the Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation (GI) in Skagit County to the public and stakeholders during the months of April 2012-June 2012.”
See also: 4/16/2012 Skagit River General Investigation Study Public Outreach on Preliminary Range of Alternatives, 5/9/2012 Corps of Engineers GI Study Presentation, 5/20/2012 LJK Response to Skagit GI Public Outreach on Preliminary Range of Alternatives, 9/26/2012 Summary of Comments In Response to 4/16/2012 Skagit River General Investigation Study Public Outreach on Preliminary Range of Alternatives,
9/26/2012 Summary of Comments In Response to 4/16/2012 Skagit River General Investigation Study Public Outreach on Preliminary Range of Alternatives Summary of comments received about the Skagit River GI and proposed alternatives for Skagit River Flood Risk reduction.

See also: 4/16/2012 Skagit River General Investigation Study Public Outreach on Preliminary Range of Alternatives, 5/9/2012 Corps of Engineers GI Study Presentation, 5/20/2012 LJK Response to Skagit GI Public Outreach on Preliminary Range of Alternatives
4/5/2013 Congressional Letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works On January 11 we met with elected officials from Skagit County, the cities in the Skagit Valley and stakeholder groups. They had one clear and united message: the study must be completed. The Skagit G.l. has been progressing for more than fifteen years, funded primarily by Congressional appropriations each eligible year. ... We applaud the Army Corps of Engineers' decision to fund the Skagit G.J. with agency discretionary dollars through FY 2012. The Corps' decision to continue forward progress on the Skagit G.I. sent a clear message that the federal government was committed to holding up its end of the agreement to produce tangible results for the people of the Skagit Valley, and the local communities responded by shoring up Skagit County's funding with their own cities' contributions. We ask you to continue your efforts to see that the study is completed on time.
8/2013 Skagit River Flood Risk Management Feasibility Study: HYDROLOGY TECHNICAL DOCUMENTATION FINAL REPORT 67 pages of technical documentation of the Corps of Engineers' hydrology that will be used in the Corps' GI Study.
5/2014
NEW
Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Skagit County, Washington Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement They get 14 years and 14 million dollars to prepare this and we get 45 days to comment on - counting appendices, 1,602 pages of documentation full of governmental abbreviations & acronyms about a $230,699,000 100-year flood protection proposal.  There should be several public meetings not just one.

The CULI [Comprehensive Urban Levee Improvement] Alternative is the tentatively selected plan. It is the alternative that most cost-effectively meets the objectives of reducing flood risk and risk to life safety.
. . .
The Upper and Lower Baker Dam Operational Modification Measure are included in the optimization of the TSP, CULI [Comprehensive Urban Levee Improvement] Alternative. The analysis examined early seasonal storage at Upper Baker Dam and flood storage at Lower Baker Dam, consistent with Article 107 in the Settlement Agreement for the Baker River Project. Upper Baker Dam is currently operated for flood control with full flood storage capacity of 74,000 acre feet available on November 15. The Upper Baker Dam operational measure includes flood storage capacity of 74,000 acre feet on October 15. Approximately 30 percent of floods occur between October 1 and November 15. Lower Baker Dam is operated with Upper Baker Dam for hydropower generation and currently is not operated for flood control. An analysis conducted by Puget Sound Energy (PSE) determined 20,000 acre feet of assured flood control space could be available during the flood season. The TSP also includes 20,000 acre feet of storage at Lower Baker Dam from October 15 to March 1. Both dams were evaluated on their own and in combination.”
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Appendix A - Plan Formulation

“The following criteria were used to evaluate the preliminary array of alternatives:

 Does the alternative address the objective of reducing flood damages?
 Does the alternative address the objective of reducing life safety risk?
 Does the alternative minimize adverse impacts to environmental and cultural resources?
 Is the alternative cost effective (based on preliminary evaluation of costs and professional judgment)?”
5/2014
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Appendix B - Hydraulics and Hydrology

Anthology of four hydraulics & hydrology reports used to prepare the 5/2014 Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Skagit County, Washington Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement
5/2014
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Appendix C - Economics

“The CULI [Comprehensive Urban Levee Improvement] Alternative is the alternative that is the most cost effective, has the least real estate impacts, has the least potential infrastructure impacts, has the least adverse impacts to environmental and agricultural resources, and is the most likely to be supported by the sponsor and the public. Evaluation and comparison of the final array of alternatives indicates that the bypasses alternatives are likely to have considerably higher construction and real estate costs than the CULI Alternative.  ... The combination of both the Upper and Lower Baker Dam operational modification measure resulted in the greatest downstream benefit, with a 17,000 cfs flow reduction for the 1% ACE flood at Concrete and up to approximate a 1 foot stage reduction in the Nookachamps area. These measures are consistent with language in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) No. 2150 relicense dated October 17, 2008 which allows for additional flood control operations if a number of conditions are met, including compensation to PSE for forgone hydropower generation and dependable capacity. PSE estimates generation and dependable capacity losses to be approximately $861,000 on average each year using April 2012 energy prices..”
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Appendix D - Environmental Appendix

CULI [Comprehensive Urban Levee Improvement] Alternative
“The reduction in riparian vegetation and the loss of nearshore roots and undercut banks will reduce fish and wildlife habitat. The use of riprap along the banks such as the proposed toe protection perpetuates a design that is considered detrimental to fish and wildlife habitat, especially ESA-listed salmonids. The existing vegetation along the revetments would be removed where the riprap is placed. Substantial direct effects to riparian habitat would potentially occur. Mitigation for this effect could include planting along a levee bench, planting riparian vegetation, set back levee, construct side channel, install habitat weirs, and/or anchor root wads to restore fish habitat values by providing vegetative cover, hydraulic diversity, nutrient input, and instream cover.”
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Appendix E - Geotechnical Appendix

“Levee Risk and Reliability analysis was performed by Shannon & Wilson for USACE, as part of the Skagit River GI project, with completed reports submitted January 31, 2011. This information helped to determine 15% and 85% Probable Non-Failure Points (PNP) and Probable Failure Points (PFP), respectively, for the levees along the Skagit River at various locations. Eight such locations were analyzed, as determined by each Skagit County Dike District. The 15% and 85% points were provided in the form of a water surface elevation below top of levee that corresponds to 15% and 85% likelihood of failure. The 15% point corresponds to a very low likelihood of failure (non-failure), while the 85% point corresponds to a likely failure, when the river reaches that elevation at that section.”
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Appendix F - Real Estate

Real estate costs are estimated to be $29,265,000 for the Comprehensive Urban Levee Improvement (CULI) Alternative.
5/2014
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Appendix G - Cost Estimate

“Project length depends upon the level of protection that best fits the Nation Economic Plan (NED). However, projected durations are 22 months, 24 months, and 26 months for the 75, 100, and 250 year levels of flood protection, respectively.”  The fully funded amount for 100-year flood protection is “$230,699,000”.
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Appendix H - Civil Design

“The Tentatively Selected Project is the Comprehensive Urban Improvement Levee Alternative. This alternative primarily improves the existing levee system also adding three new levee/floodwall segments. The alternative also provides non-structural improvements to the Sedro Woolley Waste Water Treatment Plant and the United General Hospital at Sterling. Most of the work described below supports the refinement of this alternative.”
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Appendix I - Public Involvement

 1. Notice of Intent for the Skagit River Flood Damage Reduction Study, 20 November 1997
 2. Skagit River GI Scoping Summary Report, October 2011, revised February 2012
 3. April – June 2012 Public Outreach Report
 4. Public Comments and Responses on the Draft FR/EIS (pending)
6/25/2014
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Poster 02 - Skagit River GI Investigation Vicinity Map

Map showing American side of Skagit River floodplain.
6/25/2014
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Poster 03 - Without Project Condition Inundation

What a 100-year flood would do to the lower Skagit River Basin without new flood protection.
6/25/2014
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Poster 04 - With Project Condition

Showing what areas - mostly urban - would be protected from flooding by the proposed project in the Skagit River GI.
6/25/2014
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Poster 05 - Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP): Comprehensive Urban Levee Improvement (CULI) Alternative

New levees, levee improvements and improvements to Baker River Dam operations.
6/25/2014
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Poster 06 - Index/Levee Breach Locations

Shows where in simulations for GI Study calculations levees were breached to calculate flood damages.
6/25/2014
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Poster 07 - Skagit River GI Economic Benefits and Costs for Comprehensive Urban Levee Improvement Alternative

Economic justification for Corps GI Study Comprehensive Urban Levee Improvement (CULI) Alternative.  Benefit-Cost Ratio is 1.8 and net benefits are perceived to be $8,479,000 over 50 years from 100-year flood/1% ACE protection.
6/25/2014
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Poster 08 - General Investigation Comparison of Final Array of Action Alternatives

Explains how much levee material would be necessary for each final alternative under the GI Study.
6/25/2014
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Poster 09 - General Investigation Next Steps

Schedule of completion of the GI Study.  Construction is projected for 2020, “subject to Congressional authorization of project and funding appropriations.”
6/25/2014
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Poster 10 - Comparison of Environmental Consequences (A)

Claims the Corps GI Study Comprehensive Urban Levee Improvement (CULI) Alternative has the least worst environmental consequences of the three alternatives studied.
6/25/2014
NEW

Poster 11 - Comparison of Environmental Consequences (B)

The Corps GI Study Comprehensive Urban Levee Improvement (CULI). Alternative states, Beneficial impact in urban areas; potentially adverse impact limiting access to Burlington and hospital.
7/11/2014
NEW
City of Sedro-Woolley Resolution on GI Study Draft Feasibility Report Whereas, the City of Sedro-Woolley was an active partner in the Corps of Engineers General Investigation of flooding on the Skagit River until recently when the City was no longer included in meetings and discussions about flood reduction alternatives including the process for identifying the Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP), ... Section 1. The DEIS is inadequate to allow the City and the community to understand the TSP as it fails to provide post-project modeling which is necessary to fully describe the impacts to the people and infrastructure of the City of Sedro-Woolley including impacts to the environment, economic losses, lives, property, on-going future risk and reductions to quality of life and impact on low-income households who may be at risk of losing their homes as a result of consequential changes to the base flood elevation from the TSP that may trigger mandatory participation in the federal flood insurance program and other intended and unintended consequences.  Section 2. The City Council of the City of Sedro-Woolley has grave concerns about the possible transfer of flood risk from historical and traditional flood prone areas which have been heavily developed in recent decades to areas that developed over a century ago and which have never been at significant risk of flooding as may be possible if the TSP is constructed. Section 3. The City Council of the City of Sedro-Woolley requests Skagit County and the USACE to fully study the impacts of the TSP on the City of Sedro-Woolley and include the results within the scope of the final environmental impact statement and to further include as part of the finally selected plan all necessary measures to ameliorate the harm to the people, property and infrastructure of Sedro-Woolley that result from the finally selected plan. Section 4. The City Council requests personal follow-up from Skagit County and USACE regarding these critical issues.
See also: 5/2014 Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Skagit County, Washington Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement, 5/2014 Appendix B - Hydraulics and Hydrology, 7/11/2014 Sedro-Woolley Mayor Anderson & City Council Message to Residents & Property Owners, Re: Skagit River General Investigation Study Comment Period
7/11/2014
NEW
Sedro-Woolley Mayor Anderson & City Council Message to Residents & Property Owners, Re: Skagit River General Investigation Study Comment Period The Sedro-Woolley City Council and Mayor Anderson are very concerned that providing taller levies for Burlington and tying those levies to higher ground will back water up to Sedro-Woolley, causing flooding where none has existed in the past and forcing property owners who have never been in the flood zones to purchase federal flood insurance($$$). The draft report does not have adequate detail to understand the possible transfer of risks and impacts to Sedro-Woolley. The City Council adopted Resolution 902-14 on July 9, 2014 which provides the City's comments on the plan. As a resident or property owner on the south side of the city, you are encouraged to provide your comments and questions as part of the process. The deadline for comment to be received by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is July 21, 2014. A form is attached and may be mailed or comments may be emailed to Hannah Hadley at Skagit.River@usace.army.mil; she may also be contacted at (206) 764-6950.”
See also: 5/2014 Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Skagit County, Washington Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement, 5/2014 Appendix B - Hydraulics and Hydrology, 7/11/2014  City of Sedro-Woolley Resolution on GI Study Draft Feasibility Report
7/15/2014
NEW
Dike Districts 17 & 3 Comment Letter The Districts endorse the concept of preparing for a flood that exceeds the 1% chance standard. Rainfall and snowmelt vary widely year to year. The Chehalis River experience shows that our region can receive 20 inches of rain in a 48 hour period. Preparing for such an event increases the chance of surviving without loss of life and the chance of sustaining property damages that are manageable. It cannot eliminate all risk. Those who live on the floodplain and in particular those who operate diking and drainage facilities want those facilities to be resilient and capable of functioning in extreme circumstances to limit damages. The primary way of limiting property damage in such a flood is to limit the maximum rise and duration of high water surface elevation on the flood plain.”
See also: 5/2014 Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Skagit County, Washington Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement, 5/2014 Appendix B - Hydraulics and Hydrology,
7/17/2014
NEW
Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District Announcement of Extended Public Comment Period for the Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Study “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is extending the public comment period for the draft integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (draft FR/EIS) for the Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation study. This extension will provide interested persons with additional time to prepare comments on the draft FR/EIS. ... During the comment period, requests to extend the comment period were received. In response to these requests, the comment period for the draft FR/EIS has been extended through August 5, 2014.
See also: 5/2014 Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Skagit County, Washington Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement, 7/11/2014  City of Sedro-Woolley Resolution on GI Study Draft Feasibility Report
7/21/2014
NEW
Ross O. Barnes, Ph.D. of Earth Science Comment Letter to Army Corps of Engineers Skagit River GI Study Draft Feasibility Report “The HEC-RAS model simplifies a real world river by mathematically straightening all the bends of the river into a straight line and thus ignores the cross channel flows, cross channel elevation differences and related velocity variations associated with the real dynamics of a meandering river. The surface elevation of a real river rises on the outside of a meander bend and the cross channel slope of a real river produces the centripetal force that forces the river to flow around the bend. This proposal confuses the flow averaged cross channel elevation output of the HEC-RAS model with the elevation profile of the real Skagit River and thus places the whole flood control scenario at risk of failure as enumerated in previous comments in this letter.
See also: 5/2014 Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Skagit County, Washington Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement, 
     

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2012 Public Outreach Comments on Preliminary Range of Alternatives

Date Title Summary 
4/30/2012 E-mails to/from Corps/ Swinomish Environmental Policy Manager Swinhomish: "I think not incorporating an analysis of climate change related hydrology is a fatal flaw from a NEPA perspective, and a think the development of a clear pathway to address this issue would be timely."  Corps:  "I would also add that we are not attempting to build a Flood Risk Management project that meets any specific protection goals such as 100 year protection. As stated when we last met, we will be designing to the level of protection that aligns with the Benefit Cost Ratio that we think makes us competitive at a national level for approval and funding and meets our project goals.
5/1/2012 E-mail to Corps fm Eric Hall “I am looking at a PPT that was presented at the 4/16/12 Flood Control Zone District Advisory Committee meeting.   I am just coming up to speed on this concern and realize that this document may be the tip of an associated-studies iceberg. Please forgive me if my questions have already been addressed in another document.”
5/7/2012 E-mail to Corps fm Anacortes Public Works Director “The alternative involved a bypass channel essentially east of the Anacortes plant through the River Bend area traversing what used to be the Ledger Lake location.  The proposal involved a meandering continuous flow channel with the ability to increase capacity during flood events with a removable structure on the upper end. There were low flow channels, ponds and opportunities for salmon habitat and a host of other aquatic uses [duck hunters etc]. Except for the continuous stream, the area could remain in productive farming during non flood events.  . . .  Admittedly does not provide much relief for the bridge corridor or the downtown MV area but it might be worth looking at, in lieu of widening in the vicinity of the plant and the intake. ”
5/7/2012 Comment sheet to Corps fm George Wells Dredge & remove debris from the north & south forks of the Skagit.
5/7/2012 News article submitted by Carol Ehlers titled "Dam failures predicted -- Old study warned of chain-reaction breakdowns" Article addresses dam  that were determined 25 years ago to be unsafe and in July 2004 “almost a dozen failed”.  Evacuation plans “to evacuate did not come until hours after a wave of water rolled through hixs neighborhood.”  Spillways on the dams were inadequate to handle floodwaters from a 100-year storm.
5/7/2012 Comment sheet to Corps form from Burlington City Councilwoman Tonya Bieche "I prefer Alternative 5:  Urban Area Protection.  It is hard to decide without estimated cost and time concerns.  The options also lack the amount of water expected to flow thru the alternative and the resulting flow thru the rest of the system."  .... The City of Burlington has provided its Skagit Basin hydrological analysis to the Corps pursuant to the Corps Scoping Report.  How will the Corps use this information.
5/7/2012 Comment sheet to Corps fm Bob Helton What's happened to the Draft Executive Order on Floodplain Management dated 5/10/2009?
5/9/2012 Swinomish Tribal Concerns RE: Skagit General Investigation Study Tribe is concerned about changing hydrology due to climate change; Baker River Dam Operation and Storage; floodplain growth patterns due to flood control efforts; water rights; Fir Island Bypass; leaving existing levees after building setback levees; alleged shortcuts “to the analysis of Treaty-reserved fisheries resources.”

Furthermore, “We are concerned that although we have been involved .in this process since 1993, it is only now, after an expenditure of millions of dollars, that the necessary environmental studies are being identified. It is unclear to us how studies associated with impacts to fish, fish habitat and consequences of climate change, can be accomplished in the next few years and with the limited budget that your staff has identified. In the past, when inadequate resources were available to undertake studies, assumptions mutually agreeable to the Tribe, federal agencies and the Corps of Engineers ("Corps") were identified to expedite environmental review. It is unclear to us how the Corps intends to fill in these gaps at this point in time. Having stated this overreaching concern, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (the "Tribe") would like to identify the following concerns that may constitute "fatal flaws":”
5/10/2012 E-mail fm Robert Dow to Corps re Save the Nookachamps “What I don’t want to see is a plan that puts excessive water on a single area to protect special interests who have the money and power.”
5/11/2012  Comment Sheet to Corps fm Josef Kunzler  “I absolutely favor the non-structural alternative coupled to dam storage. We need dam storage as the most cost-effective, environmentally friendly flood protection measure. Only those advocating for dam removal, profits before people or fish before people could possibly oppose logical drawdown and storage requirements for public safety. We also need to limit development in the volcanic floodplain for safety & agriculture, which is what the nonstructural alternative does.  ... Even if dam modifications have to be made to Lower Baker Dams, a thoughtful contribution from Puget Sound Energy to this project is arguably in the long-term interests of Puget Sound Energy shareholders to ensure the dam’s long-term viability and continuing returns to Puget Sound Energy shareholders.”
5/20/2012 E-mail to Corps from Dennis Clark 

...alternatives I prefer and why: 

Preliminary Alternative 2 Non-structural and dam storage: I like that there is minimal impact to the urban areas and the prime agricultural land downstream of the cities. It seems that this approach would also allow for more salmon habitat restoration upstream of Burlington.

Preliminary Alternative 3 Joe Leary Slough bypass: I like that the floodwaters are diverted away from Burlington and Mt. Vernon.

*Features ...I least prefer:

Preliminary Alternative 2  No features of concern.

“Preliminary Alternative 3 It seems there is potential for substantial environmental harm to the resources of Samish Bay, even if only on an episodic basis during the biggest floods.  I am concerned that the floodway would detract from agricultural production and effectively reduce agricultural acreage in the county.”
5/20/2012 Comment Sheet to Corps fm Larry Kunzler

The non-structural alternative is one that takes care of a lot of the problems that man (not Mother Nature) has created.  (See  The Realities of Flood Control in Skagit County)  Nookachamps/Sterling area people would not have flood waters in their homes due to the actions of Burlington and Mt. Vernon dike districts.  Additional storage and/or modification of dam operations is the one component of the GI Study that should be given priority over all other alternatives due to the fact that it is the one component that will benefit everyone in the floodplain.  Key in this study will be to answer the question did the Corps of Engineers use the wrong hydraulic figures in computing the Ross Lake amount of storage and should storage begin in October.  (See 8/14/1953 Corps document)  While we are on the subject of hydraulic figures, paramount to the completion of the GI Study should be a serious consideration that when the Corps changed its computations from Extreme Low Water to Mean Sea Level did the Corps fails to adjust the gage readings appropriately for historical flood events? (See Low Low Water in Puget Sound vs. Mean Sea Level)

5/29/2012  Letter to Corps fm Skagit County Dike District #17  Through the evolution of the GI District 17 along with District numbers# 12, #I, #3, and #22 have created a perceivable set of goals for flood risk management on the Skagit River delta.  . . .  The Corps in our opinion must study potential ways of increasing conveyance or divert water volumes during such an event. We believe the opportunity to divert and covey waters further up the river system will be more productive. Impacts further up stream conveyance changes are made, the greater benefit to flood control structures downstream.”
6/15/2012 E-mail to Corps fm USFWS  “We encourage the Corps to draft alternatives that include promoting setbacks wherever possible, appreciable restoration or enhancement of functional riparian corridors, restoration and/or construction of high quality and fish friendly side channels (that are designed avoid stranding or other impacts to aquatic organisms), and removal of hard shoreline armoring (to reduce edge habitat impacts, constriction of the stream, preclusion of riparian buffer establishments, and other effects). . . . reach-based analysis for determining stability and indirect effects of a given feature, and adequately determine and avoid downstream and across-stream negative effects from the features.”
7/13/2012 Letter to Corps from Farms, Fish and Floods Initiative ("3FI") 

Mission:  To create and advance mutually beneficial strategies that support the long-term viability of agriculture and salmon while reducing the risks of destructive floods.

Goal 1: Restore estuary habitats and functions in the tidal Skagit Delta needed to meet the Skagit Chinook Recovery Plan goal (approximately 2,380 acres is the remainder needed).

Goal 2: Reduce the risk of destructive flooding by implementing flood risk reduction alternatives that maximize river and estuary habitats and functions whenever possible and minimize the conversion of farmland.

Goal 3: Protect and improve agricultural land base and infrastructure (20,000 acres protected through agricultural easements and drainage structures are maintained and enhanced). 
7/13/2012 Public Outreach Comments Received Report Table of "all" comments received by the Army Corps Seattle District on the GI Study.
     

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Baker River Dam Storage Documents

All documents in this section show records of investigations and attitudes towards providing flood control storage behind Upper and Lower Baker Dams over the years.
 
Date Title Summary 
1/23/1950

Letter to Puget Power from Corps of Engineers

Corps of Engineers felt flood control storage in Lake Shannon was "worthwhile" looking into.  Methods suggested was to either raise Lower Baker or to lower lake level.  Important to remember is that Upper Baker Dam was not constructed until 1959.
2/15/1966

MFR re: Corps Investigation of Existing Baker Sites

Corps approximates that Baker River dams could not provide 100 yr protection.  Would require 90,000 acre feet to control 200,000 cfs flow.  However, could control 50 yr flood (180,000 cfs) by providing 50,000 acre feet of storage.  Would require considerable study to determine power loss.
9/21/1967

Corps Memorandum re Lower Baker River Storage Projects

Corps admits investigation into Lower Baker dam storage has only been "on a very preliminary basis".  Gross storage capacity of Lake Shannon 160,000 acre feet.  142,400 ac ft being used for power production.  Upper Baker dam gross storage is 298,000 ac ft and utilizes 220,000 ac ft for power production.  Important to note is that at this time only Upper Baker provided 16,000 ac ft of storage however both dams had major impacts on flood flows.  Corps recognizes that 28,500 ac ft of storage was available behind Lower Baker in Lake Shannon for flood control.  Flood prevention benefits would far exceed the cost of power reductions.
12/13/1967

Corps Memorandum re Preliminary Report on Baker River Regulation

Corps investigated 3 scenarios.  1-drafting Upper Baker to 720.6 ft to provide 16,000 ac ft of storage.  2-drafting Upper Baker to 709.8 ft to provide additional 50,000 ac ft of storage (current requirement 707.9 by Nov. 15th).  3-drafting Upper Baker to 701.3 to provide additional 84,000 ac ft of storage.  In all 3 scenarios Lower Baker was kept at elev. 437 which is 1 1/2 ft below being full.  "In all cases, with the exception of 2 years in #3, Upper Baker could refill by the end of April."
7/23/75

Corps draft letter to Rep. Meeds re Flood Control Projects

Corps recommended additional 58,000 ac ft of storage.  Trade offs of power generation for flood control are economically and environmentally feasible.
9/15/76

Corps Draft "Read Ahead" for Meeting with Rep. Meeds

Documents 1975 flood event damages at $3,247,000.  Had Upper Baker additional storage (more than 16,000 ac ft) been in effect at that time, could have saved taxpayers $520,000.
6/1977

Partial Corps Report on 1975 Flood Event

Documents Upper, Lower Baker Dam and Ross Dam operation during 1975 flood event.  Ross Lake stored 104,000 ac ft or 87% of allocated 120,000 ac ft.  Baker Lake was 19 ft below full pool at start of flood event.  Lake Shannon was 1.5 ft below full pool.  In 14 hrs Lake Shannon filled.  At peak of flood PSPL was dumping 24,800 cfs into Skagit.  Storage used in Baker Lake was 53,900 ac ft or 37,900 ac ft more then they were required to do.
7/11/1977

Corps Letter to Skagit County

Congress authorized an additional 58,000 ac ft of storage behind Upper Baker dam.  Would reduce flooding during "major events".  Ltr also addresses possible "deauthorization" of the Avon By-Pass project and the possible construction of a levee improvement project which would give lower valley 11 year protection with 3 feet of freeboard.
9/9/1977

Corps Memorandum re Additional Storage

Documents SCL plans for Copper Creek Dam and possible dams on Newhalum and Thunder Creek.  States that PSPL had no plans to provide additional storage behind Baker River Upper Baker or Lower Baker dams. 
11/22/1978 Baker Lake Reservoir Flood Control Negotiations Ltr and Notes from Skagit County Engineer to Skagit County Commissioners Negotiations are faultering (sic) over the method of reimbursement to Puget Power for power loss due to this agreed draw-down. Puget Power is indicating to the Corps that they want reimbursement in power, rather than in financial remuneration. This in turn involves Bonneville Power Administration in a very complicated 3-party negotiation process.”  PDF also includes notes from and about the Corps of Engineers' role in Baker River dam storage.
2/17/1983 Corps of Engineers Seattle District Presentation to February 17, 1983 Skagit River Flood Control Committee on Dam Storage Slides showing how Army Corps of Engineers operated Upper Baker Dam and Ross Dam in December 1980 flood. “Dams provide flood damage reduction.  But dams cannot eliminate the possibility of flooding.
8/14/2001

Informational Briefing

Document provided talking points and concerns re informational briefing on Skagit River project.  Corps main concern on FERC Relicensing process was that they had limited funds $300,000 to devote to studying Upper Baker storage and FERC process.  Corps felt risk was that BPA could pull out of funding flood storage and that FERC could delete current storage requirement.  20 yr compensation agreement with PSE expired in 2000.
5/8/2002 Biological Assessment of Proposed Interim Conservation Measures for Puget Sound Chinook Salmon Pending Relicensing

Construction of an extensive system of levees and revetments, in combination with flood control by the Skagit and Baker Projects has allowed continued development of the former floodplain. Land uses such as agriculture, urban and residential development, and construction of infrastructure (roads, bridges, drainage systems) have permanently altered the valley landscape. The operation and maintenance of existing flood control facilities by Skagit County is dependent on flood control operations by the upstream hydroelectric projects.

3/7/2003 Tribal Concerns about the Reanalysis of Storage in Upper Baker “Larry Wasserman … expressed concern that the Corps would only look at the economic/flood benefits in making our recommendation and not at the potential environmental impacts.”
5/21/2003 Responses to Questions Posed by Mr. Mike Sato on May 2, 2003 Regarding the Status of the Skagit River Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Feasibility Study “A very preliminary assessment was completed in April and has demonstrated that there could be additional flood control benefit that could be provided with additional storage at the Baker River reservoirs.  However, the assumptions of the analysis need to be refined, and the proposed modifications better defined before the study proceeds to a full hydraulic and economic benefit analysis as well as undertaking NEPA scoping and environmental evaluation, as well as preparing engineering design modifications and cost estimates.”
5/30/2003 Corps of Engineers Responses To Questions Relating to Implementation of Additional Flood Control Storage at Baker River Hydroelectric Project, FERC No. 2150 “In any event, a decision document submitted by the Corps’ Seattle District office would be required to support the recommendation for authorization for the Corps to operate Upper Baker for additional flood control storage. This decision document would have to demonstrate a Federal interest in additional flood control storage at Upper Baker ... [and thus would] have to demonstrate that the recommended plan is economically justified (i.e., flood damage reduction monetary benefits exceed project costs). The recommended plan would have to be demonstrated to be consistent with protecting the Nation’s environment, pursuant to national environmental statutes, applicable Executive Orders and other Federal planning requirements.”
6/9/2003 Scope of Work for Skagit River Flood Damage Reduction Feasibility Study’s Baker River Dams Storage Evaluation Research into finding maximum utilization of Baker River Dams’ flood storage capabilities.
5/28/2004 Draft Biological Opinion for Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation for the Baker River Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2150).  NOAA Fisheries Consultation No. 2002/01040.

Dam storage is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the Puget Sound chinook salmon.

8/9/2004 Seattle District Corps of Engineers Letter to FERC, Re: Baker River Project, Project Number P-2150-033 Corps requests "to be a cooperating agency in the preparation of the environmental documentation" of the Baker River Project, Project Number P-2150-033.
11/24/2004 Baker River Hydroelectric Project, FERC No. 2150 -Baker River Hydroelectric Project Comprehensive Settlement Agreement

The Settlement Agreement is a negotiated compromise worked out among the parties concerning extensive protection, mitigation and enhancement measures for the Project that address aquatic, terrestrial, recreational, cultural, and other resources. The Settlement Agreement reflects a consensus of all active participants in the relicensing, in regard to a wide variety of issues identified through the alternative licensing process.

12/21/2004 Army Corps of Engineers reply to FERC Comprehensive Settlement Agreement

"Without the completion and Congressional approval of the GI study, the Corps does not have the authority to regulate any additional storage at Upper or Lower Baker Dam."  "...The Corps considers this section of Article 107 as a place holder for possible future action."

12/22/2004 Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife reply to FERC Comprehensive Settlement Agreement "We have participated in numerous meetings since 1999  regarding the relicensing of this hydroelectric facility. In the past year alone, we have attended more than 105 Baker River Project relicensing meetings to address issues associated with wildlife, fish, recreation, and the language of the settlement agreement." . . .

Because the additional flood storage requires several significant approvals outside of the authority of the Federal Power Act before it will become a reality, it is WDFW’s view that the proposed license language for additional flood storage is a place holder that allows for a future possibility of an action by the Corps."

12/22/2004 Puget Sound Energy reply to FERC Comprehensive Settlement Agreement "PSE acknowledges the dispute between the County and other Parties regarding the NEPA process for Proposed License Article 107(b). It acknowledges that the Settlement does not determine such process. However, that omission is customary for flood control provisions under the control of the ACOE, which generally does not participate as a party in any relicensing proceeding, including settlement. The Parties did not purport to determine the ACOE's process on its behalf. Notwithstanding this process dispute, PSE fully supports the Settlement as drafted, signed by the Parties, and filed with the Commission as being a truly comprehensive settlement agreement."
12/22/2004 Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe reply to FERC Comprehensive Settlement Agreement "Our intent in drafting this article matches that expressed during the meeting by PSE, that Article 107 is a placeholder to show the intent of the relicense group to strive to achieve 29,000 acre-feet of flood storage at lower Baker Reservoir through the process established be the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE)."

"Throughout the relicense process the ACOE staff has been consistent in stating that additional flood storage at lower Baker Reservoir would only be considered as part of the Skagit Basin Flood Study."  . . .  "Given the disparity of the two processes, the language of Article 107 that addresses changes to the flood control regime must be read as a placeholder that shows the intent of the relicense participants to strive to achieve 29,000 acre-feet of additional storage at Lower Baker Reservoir, but only through the established ACOE process. Agreement to Article 107 by the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe was conditioned on the understanding that Skagit County recognized that additional flood control would have to follow the ACOE process and that Skagit County was committed to the ACOE process." . . .

"...the Settlement does not include any environmental Protection, Mitigation and Enhancement measures for additional flood control. This is because the environmental effects have not been identified. It is our expectation that these measures would be part of the ACOE process. While additional flood control was not scoped or studied, relicense participants were willing to include a place holder license article solely to address the concerns of Skagit County and provide them certainty that there would be support for striving to achieve additional flood control through the ACOE process."

12/22/2004 Swinomish Tribal Community reply to FERC Comprehensive Settlement Agreement
12/23/2004 Skagit County Government reply to FERC Comprehensive Settlement Agreement The plain text of the proposed flood control license article and related provisions included in the Settlement make it clear that it is the intention of the Settlement signatories that Proposed License Article 107 ("Article l07') and Article 106(L) govern flood control operations at the Baker River Project for the entire term of the new license. Therefore, Article 107 is not a "placeholder," "interim," or "temporary" flood control license article, and there is no language anywhere in the Settlement that supports such a characterization. The Commission should give no credence to unsupported after-the-fact claims that the flood control provisions of the Settlement are a "placeholder."
12/28/2004 Upper Skagit Indian Tribe reply to FERC Comprehensive Settlement Agreement

"In regards to the issues raised by FERC staff during the technical conference of December 8, 2004 the Tribe believes that license Article 107 represents the intent of the parties as it relates to the proposed additional 29,000 acre feet of storage for flood control. It was the Tribe's understanding that all of the parties to the Agreement would work together in order to achieve the additional 29,000 acre feet of extra flood storage. The main concern as it related to this goal from the Tribe's perspective was the effect that such storage would have on the down stream flow regime. After reviewing the proposal it was determined by all parties that the additional flood control would not have a negative impact on the proposed down stream flow regime and as such the Tribe's concerns were satisfied."

01/03/2005 Corps of Engineers Seattle District Response to Comment Letters to the Comprehensive Settlement Agreement "If FERC includes the addition of29,000 acre-feet of storage at Lower Baker Dam as part of the license review for the Baker River Project, this would significantly complicate and delay the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA) review for the license."
02/14/2005 Letters to local elected officials and Congressional Delegation by Skagit County Public Works Director "As the letter states, we are deeply concerned about the letters the Corps of Engineers has submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), suggesting that the additional flood control storage at the Lower Baker Reservoir is a mere "place holder" in the new license to be issued to Puget Sound Energy for the Baker River Hydro-Electric Project. . . . The new license, once issued by FERC, will be in place for up to 45 years and we need to ensure that adequate provisions for flood control are included and not delayed by the Corps process for many years, or even decades"
10/17/2008 FERC License for Puget Sound Energy Baker River Dams

Official terms of Federal Energy Regulator Commission license to Puget Sound Energy to operate Baker River Dams.

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Corps of Engineers GI Study Scoping Documents

Date Title Summary 
11/07/1997 Intent To Prepare Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), Skagit River Flood Damage Reduction Study, Skagit County Washington Document informs the public about the scoping process.
11/19/1997 Corps Letter to Citizens Letter informs citizens of the Scoping Process.
12/11/1997 Public Meeting Notice re Scoping Document describes the purpose and what was going to happen at the meeting.
3/30/1998 Draft Questions and Comments re Scoping Any "GI Study" conducted by the Corps must reinitiate the scoping process.  This document shows the concerns and Corps responses to the last scoping notice in 1998.
7/12/2002 Scoping Talking Points Using current data for hydraulic modeling and economic analysis, results indicated that the flood damage potential for the Skagit delta was much greater than previously thought.  Habitat restoration has also been added as an element of the project.  The potential multi-benefits of the project are very significant.
2011 Scoping Efforts
8/08/2011 National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Steps Flow chart of the environmental impact evaluation that must occur under NEPA alongside the GI Study process.
8/08/2011 Skagit River General Investigation (GI): Feasibility Phase Flow Chart Flow chart of the current phase of the GI Study.
8/09/2011 Brochure: What is NEPA... and the Public Scoping Process? What is NEPA scoping?

“Scoping is part of the EIS process through which a federal agency describes a proposed action and possible alternatives. The agency then seeks input from other agencies, organizations, and the public on potentially affected resources, environmental issues to be considered, and the agency’s planning approach to the analysis.”
8/09/2011 Poster: Skagit River General Investigation Study Project Purpose Project Purpose:

“The purpose of the Skagit River General Investigation (GI) Study is to identify the problems and opportunities that exist to reduce flood risks and to develop a flood risk management plan.”
8/10/2011 Dike District 17 Submission to US Army Corps of Engineers 2011 Scoping Efforts "Burlington Levy Certification program... We must take as much of our critical infrastructure out of harms way with the least amount of impact to the environment. Water running through the city and then back to the river or the sound ... not good."
8/10/2011 National Environmental Policy Act Public Scoping Meeting Comment Form Comment form handed out at August 10, 2011 Scoping Meeting.  The comment form is optional in submitting comments.
8/10/2011 Skagit River General Investigation Study: NEPA Scoping Meeting Agenda of the Skagit River GI Study Scoping Meeting.
8/15/2011 Information Sheet for Skagit River GI “The primary intent of the flood risk management feasibility study is to evaluate flooding problems in the Skagit River basin from the Ross Dam reservoir (Ross Lake) to Skagit Bay; to formulate, evaluate, and screen potential solutions to these problems; and to recommend an alternative that has a federal interest and are supported by the local entities. The recommended plan must be technically viable, economically sound, and supported by the local jurisdictions and local sponsor. The study will result in an integrated Feasibility Study Report/Environmental Impact Statement (FR/EIS).
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Skagit River General Investigation in the July 29, 2011 Federal Register. A NOI was originally published in the Federal Register in November 1997 and a public meeting was held. Due to the amount of time that has lapsed since the issuance of the original NOI, the Corps has reissued the NOI and is soliciting comments. A DEIS is being prepared due to the potential for impacts on environmental resources and the intense public interest already demonstrated in addressing the Skagit River flooding problems.”
8/15/2011 Skagit River GI Measures Map Map of proposed flood fighting measures.
8/26/2011 Skagit River GI NOI Comment Period Extension “During the comment period, requests to extend the comment period were received. In response to these requests, the comment period for the NOI has been extended through September 9, 2011.”
2/2012 Revised Skagit River General Investigation Study Scoping Summary Report for the Draft Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Statement
UPDATED
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District (USACE), in cooperation with Skagit County, is preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for a proposed flood-risk management General Investigation (GI) Study for the Skagit River Basin from Ross Lake to the river mouth at Skagit Bay. This study was requested by Skagit County because of the potential for significant flooding on the Skagit River.
“An initial notice of intent (NOI) for this project was originally published in the Federal Register on November 20, 1997, for a Skagit River Flood Damage Reduction Study (62 FR 62019). Since the original NOI was issued in 1997, the study has evolved to meet new challenges and include ecosystem considerations associated with Puget Sound Chinook salmon and bull trout species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On July 29, 2011, an additional NOI was published, recommencing the scoping process (76 FR 45543) (see Appendix A). The purpose of this most recent NOI was to provide opportunity for additional public input and ensure that the study still accurately reflects stakeholder resource issues and concerns.”

UPDATED “This final Scoping Summary Report for the Skagit River General Investigation Study has been revised to include a comment letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that was inadvertently excluded from the October 2011 Scoping Summary Report. Revised text is italicized. ... Address environmental justice in the EIS. ... Consider a natural processes alternative as one of the alternatives in your range of reasonable alternatives.  Develop and disclose project specific standards of significance.

See also: 11/26/2011 www.SkagitRiverHistory.com Comments on October 2011 Corps Scoping Summary Report

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Corps of Engineers Public Hearing Transcripts

Date Title Summary 
11/26/1924 Notice and Minutes of Public Hearing In Connection With Preliminary Examination of "Skagit River, Washington, With A View To The Control Of Its Floods" Directed By Flood Control Act of May 31, 1924

“I would like to emphasize the point, that Mr. Knapp brought out in his paper, that before any highly scientific plan can be prepared for the protection of this valley from floods, it is necessary to have more authoritative information than we now have as to the amount of water carried by the river in time of floods. ... The information that was collected by Mr. Stewart and given in his report to the committee was excellent so far as the dots that he had to work upon permitted, but that data was necessarily more or less inaccurate.”  Colonel W. J. Barden, Colonel, Corps of Engineers Seattle District Engineer

11/26/1924 Robert E.L. Knapp, Skagit County Engineer, Testimony for 11/26/1924 Hearing
11/26/1924 J.O. Rudene, Skagit County Property Owner Testimony for 11/26/1924 Hearing
11/26/1924 H.L. Willis, Skagit River Improvement Committee Chairman Testimony for 11/26/1924 Hearing
3/02/1937 Report of Public Hearing

The farmers have tilled the soil up close to the banks of the river; the dikes are built there, and the problem of dredging presents a situation where there is no place adequate to waste the sand that is taken from the river bed.  In other words, it will result in an attempt to confine to too narrow an area the volume of water that must escape.  That was faulty planning, or lack of planning at the start.  But the expenditures have been made and the farmers are attempting from their own pockets to keep that situation intact and improve it.” [R. V. Welts, Chairman, Skagit County Planning Council]

4/12/1949 Minutes on Public Hearing on Skagit River, Washington, Relating to Navigation

What we have now is a two-edge sword. The Skagit River is a real benefit to us, and on the other hand it is a constant hazard.”  [Mr. Nordmark, Anacortes Chamber of Commerce]

2/8/1961 Public Hearing on Flood Control for the Skagit River Basin, 8 February 1961

I am particularly interested in securing information on the nature and scope of the flood control improvements desired; the problems and difficulties encountered under the present conditions, and the proposed developments which would utilize the desired improvements that you would suggest.” [Source: Colonel R.P. Young, Corps of Engineers]

2/8/1961 Missing Exhibits to Public Hearing Transcript This is a series of letters that were submitted during the 2/8/61 Public Hearing.  Dike 12:   "The dike has been raised an overall height of 2 feet for a distance of approx. 9 miles.  As they continue to build restrictions into the river below us, narrowing the stream flow, it will be necessary to raise the height of the dike." La Conner:  "In 1882, six feet of flood water inundated the land, damaged crops, and broke the dikes.  In 1886 the Skagit River overflowed and froze and in 1887 a late spring freshet damaged crops."  Dike 17:  District formed in 1907.  Letter identifies where the levee broke in 1917 & 1921.  Raised their levee 18 inches above the 1951 levelDike 20: (Nookachamps) Dike not high enough to keep out water over 24 feet.  Dwelly:  Supported dredging for commerce but very opposed to Faber Dam.  WSDOFSkagit "most valuable" tributary to Puget Sound in sustaining commercial sport fishing.  65% of the Chinook salmon spawning area is located on main stem of the Skagit and tributaries above proposed Faber dam site.  Supported building of Avon Bypass.  Dairy Farmers: "They know what has happened to them in past floods..."  Many dairy cows died in the 1951 flood.  Mt. Vernon:  Estimated over 4 million dollars of property in harm's way.  Figure included 600 homes and 1,400,000 sq. ft. of commercial property and 10 miles of sewer lines in flood area.    Total damages est. $6,200,000Burlington:  No loss since 1950.  Made no specific recommendation for a flood control project.  Needed to educate voters on flooding issue.
See also: Public Hearing on Flood Control for the Skagit River Basin, 8 February 1961
1/10/1964  Public Hearing Transcript; Corps mtg with Skagit County residents re Improvement Downstream Levees and adding Fisheries and Recreation to Avon ByPass. This public hearing transcript covers everything from dredging to the Sauk River Dam, to levee improvements, the Avon Bypass.  It is a wonderful snapshot in time on the issue of flood control.  Unfortunately, many of the views expressed at the public meeting are the same views being expressed by the uniformed today.  One of the better quotes from the document is from an old timer who passed away a few years ago.  "Let's have protection now, rather than 'Aid to a Disaster Area' later."
Zell A. Young, Welder, West Mt. Vernon, January 10, 1964 public hearing on Avon Bypass  
1/10/1964  Various Exhibits Submitted to USACOE at Public Hearing "We the Commissioners of Dike District #20 have hopes that with these projects completed we can expand our Dike District #20 so that the entire Nookachamp Valley can be Diked to give our farms protection from Floods that cover our farms land on an average of every three years, but realize that as off now we act as a reservoir for flood waters from the Skagit River so the lower parts of the Valley will have additional protection.  If our areas were diked at this time it would be impossible for the Skagit River to carry even a normal high water."  George Dynes, Dike Dist 20

Let's have protection now, rather than 'Aid to a Disaster area later.  Zell Young

See also: Public Hearing Transcript; Corps mtg with Skagit County residents re Improvement Downstream Levees and adding Fisheries and Recreation to Avon ByPass.
3/22/1978 Public Meeting on the Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvement Project

Meeting to discuss potential Corps projects for the Skagit River originally authorized in 1966 by Congress and to receive citizen input.  See also 3/23/78 SVH for a meeting summary.

12/20/1978

Partial Transcript of Corps Skagit Public Workshop

Public workshop to receive public input on how 1979 Corps Levee Project was evolving.  (See Public Hearing Transcript 1/10/1964 and compare to Transcript of Public Hearing 6/17/1979.)     This transcript describes a project very similar if not the same as what the people of Skagit County voted down in 1979 and what the Corps is evidently considering in 2012.  
6/19/1979 Transcript of Public Hearing “To me, to live in a flood plain and act shocked when the floods come is ridiculous. To live in the flood plain without raising the buildings is ridiculous and to expect taxpayers all over the country to pay the bills because some folks in Skagit Valley just didn't build their town right, is obsured [absurd].  If you are going to spend $55 million plus $88,000.00 a year on management costs we had better get a solution to the problem and the most recent June 1979 brochure which you got there is a list of alternatives, only four lines in this brochure are used to gloss over the only alternative that I feel that would bring a long-term solution to this flood damage problem. That would be rezoning, flood-proofing and raising the structures.”  [Source: Bruce Stroker, Big Lake Resident]
8/10/2011 Reporter's Transcript of Proceedings Skagit County Flood Study Meeting “NEPA really does encourage citizen participation via public hearings, scoping meetings, these comment periods where you can send in your written comments. Public involvement is a very important aspect of the NEPA process. It's an opportunity for the public to participate in a federal decision-making process and direct an agency's attention to the community's concerns.”
6/19/2014
New_Button
Transcript of June 19, 2014 Army Corps of Engineers Public Hearing “I'm disappointed that I feel like this is pitting community against community, and isn't really being supportive of the County. I feel like the city -- and it's pretty obvious if you look at the numbers, Burlington is the big winner. La Conner doesn't even come out that far ahead in this plan. And those of us who live outside the City of Burlington, and who aren't friends with the Corps, and don't meet with them every week or so, are really getting the short of the stick. If there's any way that our comments could make any changes, I'd feel better about this, but I've been to other of these meetings, and I've heard other comments and it doesn't seem like it is in consideration.”
. . .
“The preferred alternative here for District 12 Dike is the ugly. They've been a problem for 50 years, maybe 100, they've passed the water up river, Sterling, (inaudible) Sedro-Woolley, Clear Lake. They passed it down river to all the rest of the dike districts and Fir Island.”
     

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Flood Damages

3/13/1963

Corps letter to Skagit County

Documents concerning “calculated” flood damages from Skagit River flooding events.

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Ross Dam Storage Documents

All documents in this section show records of investigations and attitudes towards providing flood control storage behind Ross Dam over the years.
Date Title Summary 
7/15/1946 Congressman Henry "Scoop" Jackson Letter to Corps of Engineers, Re: Application to Increase Ross Dam Height and Request for Flood Control “As you will note, the Skagit County Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners have requested that any grant of right to increase the height of the Ross Dan be granted only upon the condition that the upper 15 feet of the dam, as either completed or partially completed be reserved as storage for flood waters and for flood control purposes.”

09 Note: Upper 15 feet of full pool translates into 170,741 acre-feet of storage.  As of 2/2010, Ross Lake has 119,629 acre-feet of flood control storage.
9/26/1946 Seattle District Corps of Engineers Letter, re: Ross Dam Flood Capacity Needs “From the tabulation in paragraph 4, it can be seen that 100,000 to 200,000 acre-feet of storage would control the winter floods of record on the upper Skagit.”
11/20/1946 Acting Chief of Engineers for the Army Corps of Engineers Letter to Federal Power Commission, Re: Third Step in the Construction of the Ross Dam “Studies by our District Engineer, Seattle, Washington, indicate that 300,000 acre-feet or more of capacity would be required to control floods comparable to the historical floods of 1851 and 1856, although a reserve capacity of approximately 200,000 acre-feet during the period 1 November to 1 April would have controlled floods of record since 1909.”
1/16/1947 Seattle District District Engineer Corps of Engineer Letter to North Pacific Division, Re: Skagit County Planning Commission Meeting on Flood Storage, Ross Dam, Skagit River, Washington “Several members of the committee objected to the proposed flood control reservation of 200,000 acre-feet from 1 November to 1 April on the grounds that, although the amount of storage was adequate, the period suggested did not include the usual early fall high water in October, nor the snow melt high water in April.  In historic times neither of those high waters has exceeded bank-full stage of Skagit River, and anticipated reservoir operations are such that flood storage reservation in the months of October and April would reduce the prime power output of the plant.  Nevertheless, the representative of Seattle City Light stated that the City would have no objections to reserving 200,000 acre-feet of flood storage from 1 October to 1 May of each year.”
4/29/1947 Federal Power Commission Order Authorizing Amendment of License [to complete Ross Dam] “Upon installation of the spillway gates it is provided that during the period November 1 to April 1 200,000 acre-feet of storage space in Ross Reservoir shall be reserved by the licensee for flood control and utilized as prescribed herein.”
12/27/1948 Seattle City Light Letter, Re: Amendment of License - Project No. 553 - Third Step of Ross Dam Request due to inadequate data, incomplete dam & powerhouse construction and also “the position that the Skagit Project bears to regional power development rather than an isolated project.
1/26/1950 Col. Itschner Ltr to Seattle Department of Lighting/Seattle City Light on Ross Dam Storage “The value of flood storage at Ross was recently demonstrated during the November 1949 flood when river stages at Mount Vernon were reduced by an estimated three feet through the fortunate availability of sufficient storage above Ross Dam.”

See Also: 1/7/1950 Reply to Corps Request for Flood Fight Mapping: At “the peak of the Nov. 27-28 flood... The dikes at Mount Vernon were about 1.5 or 2 feet above the peak at most places, with weak spots developing near Avon.”
2/8/1950 Corps Seattle District Ltr to North Pacific Division, Re: Standard Project Flood, Skagit River Basin, Washington “From the hydrograph on Plate 4 and considering 200,000 acre-feet available in Ross Reservoir for reduction of floods, it is calculated that the peak inflow of 97,000 second-feet could be reduced to a constant outflow of about 25,000 second-feet. The Skagit River Report may present data to indicate that a reduction to zero outflow for a short period may be better for flood control, but in any case it is evident that the Ross Reservoir, will be able to accomplish a substantial reduction of flood flows.”
7/17/1950 Seattle City Light/Department of Lighting Letter to Corps of Engineers, Re: Costs of 200,000 Acre-Feet of Ross Dam Storage & Discharge Capability Past Gorge Diversion Dam “The Department has made a study of the operations of the reservoir to effect flood control in the amount of 200,000 acre-feet to be made available continuously from December 1 through February 15 of each seasonal year. In this study it was assumed that the Skagit River plants would be operated as a part of the Northwest Power Pool.” 
8/13/1953 Ltr to USACE Corps District Office in Portland fm USACE Seattle District Office re: Flood Control Requirement and Operating Procedure for Ross Reservoir, Skagit River, Wash. This document provides descriptive detail into how the USACE determined to lower the required 200,000 acre feet originally required for flood control storage down to 125,000 acre feet.  “All discharges of more than 65,000 second-feet at either Sedro Woolley (1908 through 1923) and Concrete (1924 to date) occurring in October, November, and December were studied.”

See also: Retyped for clarity and emphasis 8/14/1953 Corps document.

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FEMA DOCUMENTS

 

Date

Title

Summary 
5/9/1980

Floodway Meetings with Skagit County, Burlington, Hamilton, and Lyman

Split floodways, equal conveyance floodways, growth in the City of Burlington, floodway between Burlington and Sterling Hill all were discussed at these meetings.
3/25/1981

SVH Article re floodway designation devastation

Skagit Valley Herald article which quotes FEMA official that if local government cannot agree on floodway designation then the Federal government would do it for them.  FEMA would have to use "equal conveyance" method which would "devastate" local economy.  Once floodway is picked dike improvements and dike construction would be prohibited.
7/17/1981
NEW
FEMA response to MV 6/19/1981 ltr “...if a floodway is designated in the future and the dikes are included in that zone, you would be able to maintain and repair the dikes to their present profile elevations.  Raising the dikes is another matter. Hydraulic studies of the river have shown that increasing the height of the dikes would cause an increase in flood levels upstream. On that basis, your ordinance would have to prohibit such improvements.”
11/17/1981

FEMA letter to Port Commissioner

FEMA investigating Burlington sewer project.  Letter addresses 1 ft rise requirement in Burlington.  City must adhere to requirements of CFR 60.3(c)(10).
7/8/1981

FEMA letter to Art Day

Letter discusses building restrictions in floodways.
3/24/1982
NEW
FEMA ltr to Burlington re floodway designations “Essentially, we have ruled out floodways developed either through conventional equal conveyance methods or through unsteady state flow modeling at this time.  Instead, we have decided to build on and refine your thoughts regarding density criteria, in conjunction with establishing a minimum floodway that will encompass the channel and overbank areas including levees.
3/24/1982

FEMA letter to Burlington

FEMA open to discussion of "density floodway".  Local people thought keeping open 25% of parcel of property would be enough.  FEMA refers to amount as "admittedly arbitrary" and "considerably understates" amount of land needed to pass 100 year flood. 
4/2/1982

Memorandum for Record re Dames & Moore Study

Floodways should be delineated on FEMA maps as showing only the main channel and the levees on the inside toe (the protected side) of the levees.  Dames & Moore to determine density floodway amount of land to be set aside for 100 yr flood.
12/1982

Dames & Moore Report

100 year flood determined to be 240,000 cfs at Sedro-Woolley.  110,000 cfs assumed to stay in channel.  130,000 cfs assumed to flow overland.  Assumed 86,000 cfs flowing to Padilla Bay and 44,000 cfs flowing to Skagit Bay via the Samish basin.  I-5 will ultimately be overtopped.  Used Mannings "n" values of .045 to .06.  Recommended 10% of floodplain could be developed using density floodway method until flood waters would be raised 1 foot.
8/22/1983

FEMA letter re floodway designation of Gages Slough

This letter discusses why FEMA felt it could not designate Gages Slough as a floodway. Cascade Mall hydraulic study could not be supported by any scientific or technical data. Section 60.3c would be part of local ordinances which would require hydraulic analysis of fill in the Burlington area.
12/15/1983

FEMA letter re development restrictions

FEMA informs Dept of Ecology that since a regulatory floodway had not been designated that 60.3(c)(10) would have to be enforced before local or state permits could be issued for building permits.
2/1/1984

FEMA letter re denial of appeal filed on Burlington FIS

This letter explains why the appeal of the Burlington FIS was denied by FEMA. Regulations only require FEMA to use available topographic data. Lands within and including the Skagit River levees were designated as floodways. Unlikely that historical depth of floodwaters would be repeated.
7/3/1984
NEW
FEMA Flood Insurance Study, City of Burlington, Washington “For the Skagit River proper, the levees confining the channel and adjacent areas have been designated as floodways. In the vicinity of Whitmarsh Road and the old U.S. Highway 99 Bridge (Garl Street), the most landward levees were used to establish the floodway boundary. The purpose of these floodway designations is to preclude any encroachment which would reduce the capacity of the river channel or jeopardize the integrity of the levee system.”
5/22/1984

FEMA letter re Dept. of Ecology appeal ignored

FEMA performed hydraulic analysis "as if the levees did not exist".  Flood elevations were determined on an "average amount" basis.  Letter continually refers to "uncertainty" as to where the levees will break as justification for what they did.
6/18/1984

MFR re Final Coordination Meeting (1 foot rise part of NFIP)

Only 16 people attended the public meeting.  CFR Section 60.3(c)(10) or cumulative impact=1 foot rise regulation clearly was part of local flood ordinances.  Bud Norris was the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners.
11/1/1984 Letter from FEMA to Skagit County Planning

Concerning conveyance areas, we agreed that the work Bob Boudinot is doing to designate secondary drainage channels, such as the Gages Slough, as areas for which building cannot occur, as well as designating areas adjacent to such channels as areas in which buildings must be elevated using post, pier, pile, or column techniques, would be desirable and would probably comply with the encroachment provision found at Section 60.3(c}(10) when combined with the additional strip available along the levees discussed in the previous paragraph.

2/20/1987

FEMA letter re BNRR fill in Gages Slough

FEMA actually enforced CFR 60.3(c)(10) prohibiting BNRR from putting fill in Gages Slough.  Unfortunately they never enforced having BNRR remove the fill they had already placed in Gages Slough.  This is an excellent example of how the NFIP in Skagit County should have been enforced.  See FEMA -- The Total Failure Package.
3/8/1991

SVH Article re Burlington developments

This article shows all of the developments that were either started or completed during January 1989 through March 1991 in the Burlington area.  To my knowledge only the Cascade Mall performed a hydraulic analysis of its impacts on flood flows and that study was later declared as not being "supported by any scientific or technical data."  (See 8/22/83 FEMA letter above.)
4/17/1991 Letter in response to Skagit River: The Disaster Waiting to Happen "What we ended up with on the floodplain maps for the Lower Skagit, was nothing to plaster technical journals with. It was a compromise, between the need to assure a high enough level of awareness of the potential flooding danger almost everywhere in the Delta, and the need to be fair to those who live there and wish to continue to do so, such as by constructing new buildings."
3/11/1996 Interagency Levee Coordination Committee Review Form and Supporting Documents for PL 84-99 work on Dike District 17 Levees Completed by Corps of Engineers One of several projects for DD-17 due to damages during 1995 flood event.  (Interesting answers to Yes/No questions).
4/2003

Appendix H to Guidelines and Specifications for Flood Hazard Mapping Partners

FEMA specifications to consultants regarding new National Flood Insurance Program map procedures.

5/13/2004 Region X Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance The template of what a good local flood damage prevention ordinance should look like at least through FEMA eyes.
9/2005 NFIP Insurance Report as of September 2005

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) spreadsheet for Skagit County as of September 2005 for premiums, coverage amounts, total claims since 1978 and payouts for flood damages (Doll).

2/2006 Current FEMA Elevation Certificate and Instructions

Instructions and form for Letter of Map Amendment; Expires Feb. 28, 2009.

2/10/2006 An Evaluation of Flood Frequency Analyses for the Skagit River, Skagit County, Washington The "evaluation of flood frequency analyses for the Skagit River" by Will Thomas, Jr. for the Michael Baker, Jr. firm.
5/26/2006 Carl Cook of FEMA Memo to Skagit County Council of Governments (SCOG) Carl L. Cook, Jr., Mitigation Division Director of the Region X office explains the process of the flood elevation maps.
9/29/2006 FEMA letter to Mt. Vernon Mayor Bud Norris FEMA dismisses Mt. Vernon's concerns over the consultation process required by law.
10/16/2006 FEMA letter to Skagit River Impact Partnership FEMA again reneges on its commitment to the people of Skagit County to review  documentation concerning correct hydrology for the Skagit River.
2/12/2007 FEMA response to Hamilton Smith House Report FEMA applauds Burlington's efforts to "assist" in gathering information for the new FIS maps and promises (like those have never been broken before) to add it to the record (and if the past record is any indication they will completely ignore it).

2/28/2007

Policy Statistics and Loss Statistics

"In the last 29 years FEMA NFIP has paid out $11,481,288."

2/28/2007 MFR: Lower Skagit River hydraulic modeling of levee systems

Memorandum describing methodology to be used for new flood insurance maps.

2/28/2007 MFR Attachment: Map of failure scenarios

Map showing how floodplain would be impacted by levee failures in FEMA model.

3/5/2007 Letter of Review & Comment on Draft Environmental Impact Statement of Mount Vernon Downtown Flood Protection Alternatives “The DEIS makes several references to a “comprehensive strategy for reducing flood risks throughout the basin,” yet the City is already proceeding with an independent project proposal outside of the broader investigation. Additional information is needed as to how the proposed alternative will integrate with the concurrent basin-wide flood control evaluation process.”

(See also 8/12/2008 City of Mount Vernon Ltr and 3/5/2007 Letter Re: Mount Vernon Downtown Flood Protection Project
)
4/2007 Living Behind Levees FEMA explains how they assess levees and integrate that assessment into their flood insurance maps.
4/2007 The NFIP and Levees: Frequently Asked Questions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) put out by FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regarding levees and levee certification.
4/2007 The NFIP and Levees: An Overview FEMA explains how levees are assessed and says, "Levees are designed to provide a specific level of protection.  They can be overtopped or fail in larger flood events.  Levees also decay over time.  ... When levees do fail, they fail catastrophically.  The damage may be more significant than if the levee was not there.  For all these reasons, FEMA urges people to understand their flood risk."
4/18/2007

Wash. D.C. FEMA letter responding to Mount Vernon re SRIP letter to FEMA Director

Besides warmed over oatmeal and giving a whole new meaning to the federal definition of "expeditiously" the letter says basically nothing and is a tribute to FEMA's inability to address local concerns.

5/15/2007

FEMA 2007 Skagit County Outreach PowerPoint Presentation

Latest presentation from FEMA re new BFE figures

5/21/2007

Common Questions & Answers Pertaining to the Skagit River FIS

FEMA Q&A regarding the Skagit County Flood Insurance Study.
[Skagit County Government also has a page about this.]

5/24/2007

FEMA Presentation to Burlington Chamber of Commerce Town Hall by Ryan Ike

PowerPoint presentation given by Ryan Ike to the Town Hall put on by the Burlington Chamber of Commerce defending FEMA and explaining the flood insurance maps.

9/2007 United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) Audit: FEMA’s Management and Oversight of Payments for Insurance Company Services Should Be Improved Why GAO Did This Study:
Extraordinary recent flood events raise serious questions about the solvency of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
9/5/2007 FEMA Ltrs to City of Burlington and City of Mount Vernon on independent flood insurance rate mapping for the two cities. "...maps will contain the authoritative data that has been generated, reviewed, and approved by the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and FEMA with input from other local entities."
2/2008 Proposed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for Determining 100-year Flood Elevations Proposed framework for 3 judge panel to address all evidence as to what a 100-year flood would be on the Skagit River.
2/11/2008 Skagit River System Cooperative Letter to Ryan Ike, Re: FEMA mapping process for Skagit Valley Skagit River System Cooperative (SRSC) opposes 3 judge panel and states, "We are confident that FEMA has used the best available science to this point in the process."
2/26/2008 FEMA Letter to Mayor Bud Norris of Mount Vernon, Re: 3 Judge Panel "After evaluating the proposed scope, effect, panel selection (procedures), and anticipated outcome, FEMA finds several significant issues that preclude agreement to the MOA. In summary, we believe the submitted MOA violates public due process, presumes that FEMA will not provide an unbiased adjudication, and sets an unnecessary precedence for deviating from established federal regulations . . .  We are also concerned that the list of parties signing this MOA is not inclusive, yet the expected outcome of the MOA would be applied to the entire geographic area."
3/10/2008 Disaster News: FEMA Report Shows Mitigation Saves Money "Mitigation work in the Centralia area after the 1996 floods saved a estimated $1.9 million in residential home damage in the December 2007 floods, a new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) report concluded."
3/27/2008 FEMA Letter to Skagit County Commissioners

FEMA announces upgrade of FLO-2D software and that the Corps of Engineers "recently discovered the historic data necessary to convert the data for the Skagit River near Concrete for water years 1924-1944 to unregulated conditions."

6/16/2008 WASH DC COMPLAINT against new FEMA BFE figures Complaint filed, FEMA backs down within 12 hours.
6/16/2008 Government of DC Exhibits

Seven pages of exhibits showing how the Government of the District of Columbia attempted to cooperate with FEMA.

9/22/2008 Endangered Species Act – Section 7 Consultation Final Biological Opinion and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Essential Fish Habitat Consultation for the Implementation of the National Flood Insurance Program in the State of Washington Phase One Document – Puget Sound Region

“The primary element of FEMA’s minimum criteria that affects listed salmonids and their habitats is the requirement to elevate structures so that the lowest floor of construction is at or above the BFE (the discussion in this paper focuses on riverine examples, but there are similar standards for coastal areas). The placement of fill in the floodplain displaces salmonid habitat, and the associated development results in the placement of additional fill to support infrastructure and in increased pollution, stormwater runoff, vegetation removal, and other adverse effects..”

10/21/2008 Letter to Mount Vernon Mayor Bud Norris, re: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Biological Opinion (BO) of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

We all have a legal responsibility to ensure our actions do not cause a take (harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct) to threatened or endangered species. Under Section 9 of the ESA, actions or decisions enacted by you and your officials are subject to this prohibition regardless of federal involvement. Additionally, any person can be subject to criminal or civil penalties for causing a take. NMFS considers the issuance of floodplain development permits without addressing the impacts on listed species or their critical habitat as a take under the Endangered Species Act.

12/01/2008 Letter to Burlington, Re: Community Assistance Visit (CAV) for Participation in the NFIP “In summary, there are a few questions regarding the implementation of the NFIP in the City of Burlington; however, the overall feeling is that the city is doing a good job implementing the provisions of the program.”
The below three presentations were given at the Round Table Discussion hosted by the University of Washington Disaster Topics Multi-Hazard Round Table on Jan. 22, 2009.
1/22/2009 Safeguarding Coasts and Floodplains for Fish, Wildlife and People

National Wildlife Federation (NWF) explains why they sued to reform FEMA in an era of climate change.  NWF states their prime motivation as the existence of a  “NFIP subsidy fueling harmful development of coastal and floodplain habitats”.

1/22/2009 NMFS BiOp on FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

The National Marine Fisheries Service claims among the effects of the NFIP are that it “Allows fill and levees (no insurance) and development”. The presentation also states what in their opinion FEMA must do going forward in its administration of the NFIP.

1/22/2009 ESA and the National Flood Insurance Program

“FEMA recognizes and acknowledges the importance of preserving critical salmon habitat and believes that the NFIP’s core mission of reducing flood risks to life and property are not mutually exclusive.”

 
6/23/2009 Letter Re: Mount Vernon Downtown Flood Protection Project “We encourage the City of Mount Vernon to work with other communities to submit one comprehensive Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) that includes all existing and proposed flood protection projects for the Skagit River. In order to meet all the requirements of 44 CFR, communities along the Skagit River should not finalize their levee plans until they have collaborated on levee project designs and effects and incorporated the results of the USACE flood damage reduction feasibility study. The processing of this CLOMR is hereby suspended until these steps can be taken.”

(See also 3/5/2007 Letter Re: Mount Vernon Downtown Flood Protection Project and 8/12/2008 City of Mount Vernon Ltr
)
9/15/2009 ESA and the National Flood Insurance Program: Implementing a salmon friendly program 28 slide presentation explaining the path forward as, “FEMA recognizes the need to protect threatened and endangered salmon species while continuing the successful implementation of the NFIP in the Pacific Northwest.”
9/15/2009 FEMA Region X: A New Vision for the Future NOW A FEMA Region X presentation to the 2009 Northwest Regional Floodplain Management Association (NORFMA).  Includes this statement, “FEMA feels that land use and flood control practices that protect salmon and their critical habitat also means implementing good floodplain management that will ultimately reduce damages to flood.”
10/8/2009 Letter to City of Mount Vernon, WA Requesting More Data for CLOMR “On the basis of the information submitted to date, we have identified additional data needed to process this CLOMR. The data required to complete our review, which must be submitted within 90 days of the date of this letter, are listed in the enclosed summary.”
12/3/2009 Series of E-mails between Burlington & FEMA re: Certifying Levee Segments One thing that I think would really help in a discussion is a bit more detail on the design concept. There is not really such a thing as a “certified levee segment”. 44 CFR 65.2b defines certification. One part states “Certification of structural works is a statement that the works are designed in accordance with sound engineering practices to provide protection from the base flood” (emphasis added).
12/8/2009 FEMA E-mail to Burlington, Re: Meeting to Update Region X on Dike 12 / Burlington "Certified Levee Segment" Concept List of 5 things necessary for addressing floodplain development .
12/15/2009 Cover Letter to Preliminary Flood Insurance Study: Skagit County, Washington and Incorporated Areas “The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has produced the DFIRM and FIS report in countywide format, which means that flood hazard information for the entire geographic area of the county, including both incorporated and unincorporated areas, is presented. The flood hazard information presented on the DPIRM includes Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA's), which are the areas that would be inundated by the flood having a I-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year (base flood); Base Flood Elevations (BFEs); and regulatory floodways, which are the areas that must be kept free of encroachment so that the base flood can be carried without significant increases in flood levels.”
12/15/2009 Preliminary Flood Insurance Study: Skagit County, Washington and Incorporated Areas “This study has developed flood-risk data for various areas of the community that will be used to establish actuarial flood insurance rates and to assist the community in its efforts to promote sound floodplain management. Minimum floodplain management requirements for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations at 44 CFR, 60.3.”

(See also: 2009-12-16 KING 5 Clip)
12/15/2009 Press Release: Skagit County Receives Preliminary Flood Maps “After officials have had 30 days to study the preliminary maps, FEMA will assist with a comprehensive public awareness campaign and a series of open houses to explain the ramifications of the new maps. At the conclusion of the public outreach process, a series of legal notices will begin a 90-day appeal period through which residents and property owners who believe the proposed flood maps contain errors can submit additional scientific or technical information through their community officials to FEMA.”
12/18/2009 Correction to the Skagit County, Washington and Incorporated Areas FIS Report dated December 15, 2009 “On December 15, 2009, we sent you the Skagit County, Washington and Incorporated Areas Flood Insurance Report (FIS) . A recent review of the report has determined that Tables 4, 5 and 8 were incorrect.”
12/23/2009 Press Release: Skagit County Preliminary Flood Maps to be Re-Issued “Local government officials brought mapping and cartography issues to the attention of the agency. While FEMA remains confident in the underlying flood hazard data, the issues being brought forward are troubling and warrant the reissuance of the maps. “FEMA’s intention is to produce the most accurate flood insurance maps possible,” said Dennis Hunsinger, Acting Regional Administrator for FEMA Region 10. ”
1/2010 Model Ordnance: Floodplain Management and the Endangered Species Act Current recommendation from FEMA Region X on a draft model ordinance for all local jurisdictions to implement. 
2/8/2010 FEMA Letter to City of Sacramento on Illegal Development Permits NFIP participating communities are required to enforce floodplain management regulations that meet minimum NFIP criteria. Failure to develop a corrective action plan that remediates the known violations, will result in a finding that the City's floodplain management program is not compliant with NFIP criteria; and, therefore, the City is ineligible for the CRS Program.
3/17/2010 Michael Baker, Jr. Corp Summary of the Skagit River Hydrology Technical Meeting Ted Perkins, FEMA, indicated that a Technical Memorandum was being prepared with responses to questions raised by the County and the City of Burlington. This Technical Memorandum will be provided with revised copies of the Preliminary FIRM. Ted also indicated that release of the revised Preliminary FIRM was held up pending the outcome of the March 17 meeting.  ...  Ted indicated that a meeting will be held with community officials (without the public) to discuss the Technical Memorandum and the revised Preliminary FIRM. 
4/8/2010

Letter to FEMA Region X on behalf of the Washington REALTORS®, several local associations of the Washington REALTORS, the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, several local building associations, and several private property owners with property in King, Snohomish and Skagit Counties re: FEMA's Model Ordinance for Biological Opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service

“As a foundational comment, FEMA's Model Ordinance suffers the same fatal flaw as the BiOp itself: it is bipolar. On the one hand, the BiOp repeatedly acknowledges that the majority of the 100 year floodplain and floodplain habitat in the Puget Sound region has been modified, channelized or otherwise developed and, therefore, provides no habitat functions or benefits for endangered species. BiOp at 146. At the same time, the BiOp asserts that virtually every inch of the 100 year floodplain in the Puget Sound region should be protected from development to achieve the BiOp' s goal of ensuring that development in the floodplain "will not result in adverse habitat effects." BiOp at 156.”

See also: Endangered Species Act – Section 7 Consultation Final Biological Opinion
5/19/2010 An Evaluation of Flood Frequency Analyses for the Skagit River, Skagit County, Washington The impact of the historic peak discharge revisions and new data resulted in the regulated 1-percent annual chance (base) discharge decreasing from 226,400 cfs to 209,500 cfs. ... Based on this review, it was concluded that no changes are warranted in the USACE (2008) hydrologic analysis.
See Also:  FEMA Region X E-mail, Re: Status Update on FIRMs
5/27/2010 Letter to Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority (of California), Re: FEMA Levee Certification What it takes to get FEMA to certify a levee.  FEMA also warned, Even though we plan to map the referenced levee system as providing protection from the 1-percent-annual-chance flood, it is important to note that levees are only designed to provide a specific level of protection. They can be overtopped or fail in larger flood events. ... When levees do fail, they fail catastrophically, and damage may be more significant than if the levee was not there.
6/15/2010 FEMA Region X E-mail, Re: Status Update on FIRMs The Preliminary FIS and associated maps are expected to be sent to all Skagit County communities on or near June 30, 2010. This study is county-wide and will extend from Concrete downstream to the bay. All communities in the County are encouraged to review the maps and take a close look at the new conditions shown. ... Along with the preliminary FIS, we are also looking at HAZUS (emergency management and economic loss estimation tool) to evaluate a series of scenarios to determine relative change in damages and flood depths. This product is non-regulatory but helps isolate various levels of risk associated with the flood hazard. It is also a modeling tool frequently used by Emergency Managers to evaluate potential debris, displaced population, and response planning. The data used in the modeling was provided by the County.
See Also:
 An Evaluation of Flood Frequency Analyses for the Skagit River, Skagit County, Washington
6/30/2010 FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map Packet for Skagit County This is a 65MB PDF file hosted by Skagit County Government containing the maps and assorted documents.
See Also: Flood Insurance Study for Skagit County, Washington and Incorporated Areas - Revised June 30, 2010, See Also: 1981-1984 FEMA-BFE Flood Research
6/30/2010 FEMA Region X Mitigation Division Director Letter to Burlington Mayor Your community and others will have 90 days from the receipt of this letter to review the enclosed copies of the DFIRM and FIS report. The review period provides your community and others with an opportunity to identify changes or corrections to non-technical information, such as corporate limits, road names (within or adjacent to SFRAs), bridges, and streams labels, presented on the DFIRM or in the FIS report. ... During the course of preparing the countywide DFIRM and FIS report, we added or modified BFEs where appropriate. Therefore, following the 90-day review period and the flood study review meeting, we will initiate a statutory 90-day appeal period for the new or modified BFEs. We will send you a letter approximately 2 weeks before the start of the 90-day appeal period to detail the appeal process. 
6/30/2010 Flood Insurance Study for Skagit County, Washington and Incorporated Areas - Revised June 30, 2010 The hydrologic analysis was based on flows developed for the Skagit River near Concrete at River Mile 54.1. This location was the focal point for several reasons. There has been a stream gage (U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) gage #12149000) at this location since October 1924 and there are four additional significant historical peaks that were estimated for this location. The stream gage encompasses 88% of the total drainage area of the Skagit River (2,737 square miles). ...  The data for the Skagit River near Concrete provides a firm foundation to determine the magnitude and frequency of floods in the Skagit River Basin.
6/30/2010 Flood Profiles for Revised as of June 30, 2010 FIS 70 pages of projections of Skagit River Flood Risk at various stretches of the Skagit River and tributaries such as the Sauk River, Baker River and Cascade River.
7/23/2010 U.S. Senator Thad Cochran: Cochran Legislation Elicits FEMA Action On Flood Insurance FEMA will establish a process for communities to appeal to an independent review panel when direct FEMA-to-community consultations falter.  A five-member scientific resolution panel, three of whom would be selected by appellant communities, would be formed from a predetermined list of qualified and independent experts.  The panel would have a set timeline to review scientific and technical information submitted by communities to challenge FEMA findings.

See Also: Parameters for the Flood Mapping Scientific Resolution Panel
7/23/2010 Parameters for the Flood Mapping Scientific Resolution Panel National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) participating communities are strongly urged to collaborate with FEMA throughout the study of their flood hazards, providing available data, models, and other scientific information that would enhance the final Flood Insurance Rate Map and avoid appeals. When such appeals are necessary, community consultation is the preferred method of resolution. Such consultation allows for collaborative evaluation and discussion of the conflicting data between FEMA and the appellant and usually facilitates a mutually acceptable resolution. On occasions when community consultation cannot produce a mutually acceptable resolution, the Panel will be made available. The Panel will be made up of experts on hydrology, hydraulics, and other pertinent sciences, as they apply to the development of Base Flood Elevations (BFEs)for FEMA flood studies.

See Also: U.S. Senator Thad Cochran: Cochran Legislation Elicits FEMA Action On Flood Insurance
8/9/2010 Essential Facilities in the City of Burlington Affected by a 100 Year Flood Due to the Removal of the Burlington Levee “Essential Facilities in the City of Burlington. Essential facilities include fire stations, hospitals, and other vital business. Notice the depth of flooding near some of these facilities, which may be as high as 13 feet.

See Also: 6/15/2010 FEMA Region X E-mail, Re: Status Update on FIRMs, FEMA HAZUS website
8/9/2010 Essential Facilities in the City of Mount Vernon Affected by a 100 Year Flood Due to the Removal of the Mount Vernon Levee “Essential Facilities in the City of Mount Vernon. Essential facilities include fire stations, hospitals, and other vital business. Notice the depth of flooding near some of these facilities, which may be as high as 15 feet or more.”

See Also: 6/15/2010 FEMA Region X E-mail, Re: Status Update on FIRMs, FEMA HAZUS website
8/9/2010 HAZUS Results for the City of Burlington Due to the Removal of the Burlington Levee 50 Year Flood Analysis “The estimates of social and economic impacts contained in this report were produced using HAZUS loss estimation methodology software which is based on current scientific and engineering knowledge. There are uncertainties inherent in any loss estimation technique. Therefore, there may be significant differences between the modeled results contained in this report and the actual social and economic losses following a specific flood.”

See Also: 6/15/2010 FEMA Region X E-mail, Re: Status Update on FIRMs, FEMA HAZUS website
8/9/2010 HAZUS Results for the City of Burlington Due to the Removal of the Burlington Levee 100 Year Flood Analysis Analysis by FEMA of potential flood water depth, financial and property losses plus creation of debris due to lack of 100-year certified levee protection for the City of Burlington.

See Also: 6/15/2010 FEMA Region X E-mail, Re: Status Update on FIRMs, FEMA HAZUS website
8/9/2010 HAZUS Results for the City of Mount Vernon Due to the Removal of the Mount Vernon Levee 50 Year Flood Analysis “The estimates of social and economic impacts contained in this report were produced using HAZUS loss estimation methodology software which is based on current scientific and engineering knowledge. There are uncertainties inherent in any loss estimation technique. Therefore, there may be significant differences between the modeled results contained in this report and the actual social and economic losses following a specific flood.”

See Also: 6/15/2010 FEMA Region X E-mail, Re: Status Update on FIRMs, FEMA HAZUS website
8/9/2010 HAZUS Results for the City of Mount Vernon Due to the Removal of the Mount Vernon Levee 100 Year Flood Analysis Analysis by FEMA of potential flood water depth, financial and property losses plus creation of debris due to lack of 100-year certified levee protection for the City of Mount Vernon.

See Also: 6/15/2010 FEMA Region X E-mail, Re: Status Update on FIRMs, FEMA HAZUS website
8/9/2010 HAZUS Results for the Skagit Valley Combination of All Levee Removals 50 Year Analysis “The estimates of social and economic impacts contained in this report were produced using HAZUS loss estimation methodology software which is based on current scientific and engineering knowledge. There are uncertainties inherent in any loss estimation technique. Therefore, there may be significant differences between the modeled results contained in this report and the actual social and economic losses following a specific flood.”

See Also: 6/15/2010 FEMA Region X E-mail, Re: Status Update on FIRMs, FEMA HAZUS website
8/9/2010 HAZUS Results for the Skagit Valley Combination of All Levee Removals 100 Year Analysis Analysis by FEMA of potential flood water depth, financial and property losses plus creation of debris due to lack of 100-year certified levee protection for the Skagit River Basin from Sedro-Woolley downstream to Fir Island.  Also analyzes damages to Samish River Basin from levee breeches on the Skagit River at Burlington and Avon.

See Also: 6/15/2010 FEMA Region X E-mail, Re: Status Update on FIRMs, FEMA HAZUS website
8/9/2010 Press Release of Public Meeting Dates on new FEMA Flood Maps “The new information shows areas that will be inundated by the base (100-year) flood as well as the revised base flood elevations (BFE). The maps, once adopted by the community are utilized by lending institutions and insurance agents to determine who must purchase flood insurance. In addition, the maps will be used by community officials for floodplain management and permitting purposes.
8/10/2010 1897 Mount Vernon Levee Failure The following Skagit County Gov't/FEMA videos were created from flood modeling incorporating approximate locations of historic levee failures. The depth and time of flooding was generated using FLO-2D. The approximate levee failure location is shown in red in each scenario. The time lapse video begins at 60 hours after flooding begins and ends at 130 hours. Each scenario is based on a 100 year discharge. Please note these flood events are modeled and may differ from an actual flood event. Movies are in the Windows Media .wmv format.
1917 Big Bend Levee Failure
1921 Burlington/Mount Vernon Levee Failure
1921 Burlington Levee Failure
1990 Fir Island Levee Failure
8/12/2010 Great Rivers Habitat Alliance V. Federal Emergency Management Agency Ruling by United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

The NFIP does not invite motions for reconsideration. Where FEMA's regulations require new certified technical information, this is not a command to certify the existing information in FEMA's files. Rather, the regulations require appellants to certify new information so FEMA can conduct another analysis. This is precisely what appellants failed to do in this case. Instead, appellants attempt to force FEMA to reanalyze the existing data, hoping for a different result, without submitting any new certified technical data showing the first analysis contained mathematical or measurement errors, or physical conditions have changed. Because appellants did not submit new scientific or technical information, and what they did submit was not certified by an engineer or surveyor, appellants are relying on nothing but the data in FEMA's files. The district court correctly concluded it lacked jurisdiction because appellants failed to exhaust their administrative remedies by filing a proper appeal with FEMA.

8/18/2010 Procedure Memorandum 64 – Compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for Letters of Map Change “Because Conditional Letters of Map Revision based-on Fill (CLOMR-Fs) and Conditional Letters of Map Revision (CLOMRs) are submitted to FEMA prior to construction, there is an opportunity to identify if threatened and endangered species may be affected by the potential project. If potential adverse impacts could occur, then the Services may require changes to the proposed activity and/or mitigation.

See Also:
 NAHB: FEMA Enacts Rules for Building in Floodplains to Comply With Endangered Species Act
9/8/2010 Community Rating System: CRS Strategic Planning and Changes Expected in 2012 A look-ahead presented by FEMA to NORFMA 2010 of the Community Rating System (CRS) that allows for NFIP rate reductions in return for flood risk awareness & reduction efforts. 
10/2010 NFIP Grandfather Rules - Fact Sheet for Insurance Agents Four pages of grandfathering rules for insurance agents as new, updated FIRMs are installed around the country.
11/2010 US Forest Service: Suiattle Access and Travel Management Plan “The proposal is to determine what roads to retain, what roads are no longer needed, and which of a variety of road treatments will be implemented on roads in the Suiattle River watershed. The purpose of the proposal is to align the size of the Forest Service road system with projected road maintenance budgets. The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is conducting this review of roads in the Suiattle River drainage to balance access needs with resource protection and budget. ”
11/8/2010 FEMA Letter, re: Delay to FEMA Flood Insurance Study (FIS)/Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for Nov. 15, 2010 Meeting FEMA notifies local jurisdictions that statutory appeal period will begin in early December 2010.
12/2010 United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) Audit: FEMA Flood Maps - Some Standards and Processes in Place to Promote Map Accuracy and Outreach, but Opportunities Exist to Address Implementation Challenges “GAO reviewed the actions FEMA has taken to enhance the accuracy of updated flood maps, and FEMA’s outreach efforts in conducting flood mapping activities. GAO analyzed FEMA’s mapping standards and information systems, tested quality assurance processes, and interviewed FEMA officials and contractors.”
12/20/2010 Skagit County FIS Status Update “This email is to inform all interested parties that the Skagit County Flood Insurance Study official 90-day appeal period will begin on 12/31/10 following the second publication in the paper of record.”
2/8/2011 FEMA Blog: Answers to Some Common Questions on Flood Insurance Over the years, there has been  a number of confusing and at times misleading news reports about FEMA flood-mapping efforts and flood insurance in general.  We wanted to set the record straight and make sure that all homeowners in communities across the country have consistent and accurate information about this important topic.
3/11/2011 GAO Testimony to Congress, Re: FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)  “In order to reduce expenses to taxpayers that can result when NFIP borrows from Treasury, NFIP needs to be able to generate enough in premiums to pay its claims, even in years with catastrophic losses—a goal that is closely tied to that of eliminating subsidies and other reduced rates. Since the program’s inception, NFIP premiums have come close to covering claims in average loss years but not in years of catastrophic flooding, particularly 2005. Unlike private insurance companies, NFIP does not purchase reinsurance to cover catastrophic losses.”
4/29/2011 FEMA Region X Announcement of FIRM Modeling Update for Noncertified Levees
“In a response to members of Congress, FEMA committed to develop alternative approaches to the current "without levee" mode ling technique employed for non-accredited levees when updating the FIRMs. The intent of the proposed policy change includes evaluating methodologies to assess the flooding risk landward of non-accredited levees more precisely. Please be advised that this change may result in increased and/or decreased base flood elevations in the vicinity of a non-accredited levee. While FEMA develops the new levee risk modeling guidelines and procedures, we will temporarily withhold the issuance of Letters of Final Determination (LFDs) for communities with levees not shown as providing protection from the I -percent annual chance flood event. ... As part of Region X's response to the policy change, we have reviewed your community's mapping project(s) and have determined that there arc one or more non-accredited levees or Provisionally Accredited Levees (PALs) that are or could be affected by this levee policy change. Until the new levee risk modeling guidance is released, we will suspend the processing of the maps in areas with non-accredited levees.”
8/22/2011 2011 Local Official Survey Findings on Flood Risk A national survey of local officials about their perceptions of their local flood risk.  Awareness is key to action, as is a flood event every 10 years or so.  However, “While more than 20% of officials communicate several times each year about flood risk, nearly one-third (30%) have never communicated with citizens about flood risk.”
8/25/2011 2011 Public Survey Findings on Flood Risk “*The number of people aware that their community is at risk of flooding increased this year. Those who said they believed their community was at risk from flooding increased from 31% in 2010 to 41% in 2011. More than half (57%) did not think their community was at risk.
“*While the public doesn’t know that they are at risk of flooding, their local officials do. Two-thirds (68%) of local public officials thought that their community was at risk for flooding.
...
“Local news (87%), phone calls (25%), and mailings (24%) were the most mentioned preferred methods for hearing about a community’s flood risk. Only 10% preferred hearing about flood risk on the community’s website. ”
9/28/2011 Letter to Burlington Mayor, Re: FEMA FIRM Appeal

As you may be aware, the Preliminary FIS and FIRM for Skagit County are on hold until FEMA reassesses and develops alternative analyses for identifying flood hazard risks associated with unaccredited levees. Consequently, Mr. Thomas' request for an SRP review is premature because the Preliminary FIS and FIRM for Skagit County may change as a result of FEMA's reassessment of its levee analysis approaches.
See also: FEMA FIRM Appeals Issues Page

1/20/2012 FEMA Levee Approach for Public Review Online Forum Presentation 69-slide presentation on FEMA's plans to map non-accredited levees for the National Flood Insurance Program.  The webinar with audio is available from FEMA as well as a Q&A webpage.
5/16/2012 National Flood Insurance Program Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement - Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement “FEMA is undertaking an EIS of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to consider new information relating to the environmental impacts of the NFIP, to update the 1976 EIS on the NFIP, and to consider potential changes to the program’s implementation. The CEQ regulations at 40 CFR 1501.7 and 40 CFR 1508.22 require the issuance of a notice of intent to prepare an EIS to initiate the scoping process. Scoping is an early and open process that assists the Federal action agency in determining the scope of issues to be addressed and for identifying significant issues related to a proposed action.”
5/16/2012 Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS on the NFIP FEMA is proposing to modify the NFIP from the way it is currently administered to include enhanced environmental and historic preservation considerations including but not limited to climate change, and the impacts of the program on endangered and threatened species and critical habitat. FEMA will also account for program changes that have taken place since the publication of the 1976 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Revised Floodplain Management Regulations of the National Flood Insurance Program.”

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PUBLIC HEARING TRANSCRIPTS

 

Date Title Summary
11/26/1924 Notice and Minutes of Public Hearing In Connection With Preliminary Examination of "Skagit River, Washington, With A View To The Control Of Its Floods" Directed By Flood Control Act of May 31, 1924

“I would like to emphasize the point, that Mr. Knapp brought out in his paper, that before any highly scientific plan can be prepared for the protection of this valley from floods, it is necessary to have more authoritative information than we now have as to the amount of water carried by the river in time of floods. ... The information that was collected by Mr. Stewart and given in his report to the committee was excellent so far as the dots that he had to work upon permitted, but that data was necessarily more or less inaccurate.”  Colonel W. J. Barden, Colonel, Corps of Engineers Seattle District Engineer

11/26/1924

Robert E.L. Knapp, Skagit County Engineer, Testimony for 11/26/1924 Hearing

11/26/1924

J.O. Rudene, Skagit County Property Owner Testimony for 11/26/1924 Hearing

11/26/1924

H.L. Willis, Skagit River Improvement Committee Chairman Testimony for 11/26/1924 Hearing

3/02/1937 Report of Public Hearing

“The farmers have tilled the soil up close to the banks of the river; the dikes are built there, and the problem of dredging presents a situation where there is no place adequate to waste the sand that is taken from the river bed.  In other words, it will result in an attempt to confine to too narrow an area the volume of water that must escape.  That was faulty planning, or lack of planning at the start.  But the expenditures have been made and the farmers are attempting from their own pockets to keep that situation intact and improve it.” [R. V. Welts, Chairman, Skagit County Planning Council]

4/12/1949 Minutes on Public Hearing on Skagit River, Washington, Relating to Navigation

“What we have now is a two-edge sword. The Skagit River is a real benefit to us, and on the other hand it is a constant hazard.” [Mr. Nordmark, Anacortes Chamber of Commerce]

2/08/1961 Public Hearing on Flood Control for the Skagit River Basin, 8 February 1961 “I am particularly interested in securing information on the nature and scope of the flood control improvements desired; the problems and difficulties encountered under the present conditions, and the proposed developments which would utilize the desired improvements that you would suggest.”  [Source: Colonel R.P. Young, Corps of Engineers]
3/22/1978 Public Meeting on the Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvement Project

Meeting to discuss potential Corps projects for the Skagit River originally authorized in 1966 by Congress and to receive citizen input.  See also 3/23/78 SVH for a meeting summary.

6/17/1979 Transcript of Public Hearing

“To me, to live in a flood plain and act shocked when the floods come is ridiculous. To live in the flood plain without raising the buildings is ridiculous and to expect taxpayers all over the country to pay the bills because some folks in Skagit Valley just didn't build their town right, is obsured [absurd].  If you are going to spend $55 million plus $88,000.00 a year on management costs we had better get a solution to the problem and the most recent June 1979 brochure which you got there is a list of alternatives, only four lines in this brochure are used to gloss over the only alternative that I feel that would bring a long-term solution to this flood damage problem. That would be rezoning, flood-proofing and raising the structures.”  [Source: Bruce Stroker, Big Lake Resident]

06/14/1981 Burlington City Council Partial Public Hearing Transcript in re Flood Insurance Ordinance

“The Dames and Moore study discusses some kind of limitation on densities for development to allow flood flows through the area. I think that’s the big issue. When the city prepares an ordnance, does there have to be a limitation on density? If so, what form will that limitation take? Should the limitation be uniformly applied? I don’t know the answers to those and I assume that you don’t either. We need to know those answers in order to write a good ordnance.” (Pete Shanin, Chairman of the Burlington Land Use Committee) See also Dames & Moore Report )

07/06/1982 Skagit County Commissioners Minutes “Bob [Boudinot] ... mentioned that Gages Slough is the principal drainage way for the City of Burlington's storm drainage system.  The city has had many problems in management and administration of the slough, but there is little they are able to do without a funding source.  As the City and County grow the impact on the slough will increase.  The City Council is aware of the problem and is interested in finding a solution.  In the past the County has attempted to establish a Sub Flood Control Zone and this has not been successful because the people on the upper end were opposed to it.”
11/01/1983 Skagit County Commissioners Minutes Discussion about putting a pump into Gages Slough.
11/01/1983 Complete Transcript of Gages Slough Discussion Skagit County Commissioner: “We don't want to inherit the water or the responsibility for handling the water for future development that we would have no control over.”
4/5/1984 Transcript of Skagit County Planning Dept. Meeting with FEMA, DOE & Burlington addressing Flood Insurance Study and Gages Slough maintenance problems

“Our point is that we are stuck.  There’s not enough money out there.  We’ve got 11,600 flood prone communities out there.  Skagit Valley is not the most important one.  So they’re reluctant to spend any more money.  Compared to the Mississippi the rest of us are peanuts.”  (Herb McElvaine, FEMA)

6/14/1984 Skagit County Partial Transcript of Public Meeting on Flood Insurance Study

“The problem, is that if you allow indiscriminate development in the floodplain, the problem is the same as what happens when you get into a full bath tub. You get into a bath tub the water goes up. If you build anywhere in the floodplain the water is going to be blocked, diverted, its got to go somewhere and its going to harm other people.” (Chuck Steele, FEMA)

11/08/1984 Transcript of Burlington City Council Meeting November 8, 1984

“Lastly there is the FLOODWAY which in the case of Burlington is only the area that runs landward of the dike by fifty feet. When you’re landward of the dike and your looking towards the river essentially nothing can be built from that distance to the river.” (Steve Ladd, City Planner)

4/8/1997 Testimony in 1997 Halverson et. al. VS. Skagit County et. al. RE: Impacts of BNSF Bridge “The basic mechanism is for the river to rearrange its boundary, its bed, by scouring it out and providing space, essentially, for the water to get passed. Despite the apparent obstruction. And this happened most recently in the 1995 flood in the Skagit River, where a pier actually failed, Burlington Northern Railway bridge being scoured, sank and tilted. So it's not an uncommon event. ”
4/23/2008 Partial Transcript of April 23, 2008 City of Burlington Public Works Presentation to City Council of Mt. Vernon

“We’re not here tonight to talk about the long term ramifications of these higher base flood elevations, but I’m dismayed by the effect that it is going to have on our tax base. You know, there’s no constituency for maintaining and growing the tax base. I don’t think you’ve run on that platform to get elected, but you know its one of those wonkish things that we all know is incredibly important to our kids and our grandkids to maintain the vitality of our economic basis.” [Chal Martin, City of Burlington Public Works Director]  TV10 video also available.

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PUGET SOUND ENERGY DOCUMENTS

 

Date Title Summary
1/26/1950 Letter to Corps from Puget Power

PSE flatly refused to provide flood control in Lake Shannon due to perceived power shortage in Pacific Northwest.  Further demanded taxpayers pay for any studies necessary to study raising of dam.

1/3/1983

PSE Letter to Skagit County re Sauk River Dam

Letter explains Puget Power’s position on new dams proposed for Skagit. Didn’t believe Lower Sauk Dam was “doable” at this time.

2/1989 Baker Dam Failure Inundation Study

“The flow produced at Sedro-Woolley by the failure of both Upper and Lower Baker Dams is nearly as large as the maximum observed historic flood of 220,000 cfs on November 30, 1909.”

3/11/2005 PSE Comments on Report of Steward and Associates re: Environmental Effects of Additional Flood Control on the Baker River and Comments on Report of Pacific International Engineering (PIE) and Alexander Aaron, Inc. (Aaron), both submitted by Skagit County

PSE comments from their consultants on both environmental effects and flood control operations with respect to additional flood control storage at the Baker Dams. 

10/31/2006 Swinomish Tribe letter to PSE

Swinomish Tribe against flood control behind Baker Dams.

11/8/2006 Stephen P. Reynolds Letter to Swinomish Tribal Chairman Brian Cladoosby

PSE's response to Swinomish letter.

11/16/2006 Baker River Interim Coordinating Committee DRAFT MEETING NOTES

Interesting Discussion re last flood event and the future of flood control behind Baker Dams.

2/28/2007 Notice to PSE from FERC re: Burlington Request for Documents

PSE notified by FERC that Burlington had requested reports and other documents submitted to FERC.

3/7/2007 PSE Response to FERC re: Burlington Request

PSE under the guise of "national security" and not wanting the "general public" to have access to their dam safety records request that FERC deny Burlington's request.

03/2008 PSE Fish Enhancement Handout

PSE one-page handout describing their "fish enhancement" efforts.

04/07/2008 PSE Lower Baker Hydroelectric Project Handout

PSE handout giving basic facts about Lower Baker Dam and surrounding PSE facilities.

04/07/2008 PSE Upper Baker Hydroelectric Project Handout

PSE handout giving basic facts about Upper Baker Dam and surrounding PSE facilities.

05/19/2008

Press Release: "PSE’s new Baker River $50 million fish passage system generating success in first few weeks of operation"

“With more than 200,000 juvenile sockeye already collected, the out-migration is peaking as the second highest total run on record and may be on pace to shatter the existing record” with new PSE fish gulper.

10/13/2009 R2 Resource Consultants Presentation: Environmental Effects of High Water Events Middle Skagit River, Washington 11-slide presentation reviewing the impacts of floods on Chinook salmon survival.  May want to see slide 9 where years following recent major flood events have direct correlation to lack of young salmon survival in the Skagit.

This document was submitted to the 2011 Skagit River GI  Scoping Efforts by the City of Burlington.
1/11/2011 Tetra Tech Imminent Flood Analysis Article 107 (c) Presentation to the Jan. 11, 2011 meeting of the PSE Aquatic Resources Group Meetng 55-slide presentation on how preemptive drawdowns of the Baker River reservoirs would impact flooding.

This document was submitted to the 2011 Skagit River GI  Scoping Efforts by the City of Burlington.
5/5/2011 Letter from PSE President, Re: Baker River Hydroelectric Project; Reservoir Operations “Your letter also expressed concern about the consistency of PSE's ongoing efforts to fulfill the requirements of Article 1 07( c) with our obligations arising under Section 4.1.1 and Section 4.1.2 of the 2004 Settlement Agreement. ... We have and will continue to work diligently with Skagit County to encourage the Corps to adopt appropriate proposed amendments to the Water Control Manual. However, the Corps, to date, has declined to adopt the proposed amendments for reasons, to our understanding, that relate to scope of the Corps' authority to make these changes.”
5/10/2011 Draft Meeting Minutes Baker River Project Implementation Aquatic Resources Group Article 107(c) Workshop Settlement Agreement 4.1.1 created the requirement for PSE to use reasonable best efforts to draw down the reservoirs to target elevations ahead of an imminent flood event. Article 107(c) calls for PSE to consult with ARG members, the USACE and Skagit County to develop means and operational methods to operate the reservoirs in a way that is consistent with the license. This workshop provides an opportunity to gather input from the various stakeholders. ... When a water event is approaching, the National Weather Service generally issues a warning several days in advance. 107(c) is focused on actions during this time period. At a point when a flood is declared, the Corps assumes control of the project with PSE’s cooperation. ...
What triggers an imminent flood draw-down? Mark responded that each event is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, depending on weather conditions, forecasts, time of year and reservoir levels, etc. Chal concurred and referenced the “double pumper” event in Oct. 2003 as an example of successful drawdown ahead of a flood.

This document was submitted to the 2011 Skagit River GI  Scoping Efforts by the City of Burlington.
5/26/2011 License Articles applicable to Article 107 c or Flooding All legal language and tables governing flood control storage management for Upper Baker Dam & Lower Baker Dam.
7/11/2011 Preliminary Draft: Reservoir Management Related to Imminent Flood Conditions - Settlement Agreement Article 107C - Baker River Hydroelectric Project FERC No. 2150 “The License requires PSE to consult with the ARG (Aquatics Resource Group), and specifically Skagit County and the Corps of Engineers (the Corps), to develop means and operational methods to operate the Project reservoirs in a manner addressing imminent flood events and consistent with the requirements of the License.
...
“When a flood is imminent, the settlement agreement (section 4.1.1) requires PSE to employ reasonable best efforts to achieve target reservoir elevations (Upper Baker Reservoir is 704.92 [NAVD 88] and Lower Baker Reservoir is 423.66 [NAVD 88]). These drawdowns must be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with the License, other applicable laws, and PSE’s contractual commitments to the Corps. To date, these efforts have provided additional storage. ... As noted above, each high-water event presents its own set of conditions, and prior events are not necessarily predictive of what may occur — or can be achieved — in the future.”
7/11/2011 PSE Publication of FERC License to Operate Baker River Hydrologic Project Settlement Agreement Article 107 Licensee shall consult with the ARG, and specifically Skagit County and the Corps of Engineers, to develop means and operational methods to operate the Project reservoirs in a manner addressing imminent flood events and consistent with the requirements of the license. Appropriate means and methods may include, without limitation, additional reservoir drawdown below the maximum established flood pool. Licensee shall submit a report to the Commission within three years following license issuance describing any operational changes developed as a result of this consultation.
Red print Puget Sound Energy's.

This document was submitted to the 2011 Skagit River GI  Scoping Efforts by the City of Burlington.

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Seattle City Light DOCUMENTS

Mostly documents dealing with storage behind Ross Dam.

Date Title Summary 
2/21/1927 Letter from USGS G. L. Parker to SCL George Holmes Moore

“We have no reasonable basis for estimating the extreme flood flow of Baker, Sauk, Cascade rivers or Thunder Creek.”  The significance of this document is that it shows USGS used Stewart's 1918 report to justify the 1923 report and if you do so, you cannot justify the figures arrived in 1923.

1939

Seattle City Light Brochure

Portion of the brochure that spoke of the flood control benefits of Ruby (Ross) Dam.  People of Skagit County were promised that with the building of the dam to elevation 1725 "all of the ordinary Skagit floods will be rendered entirely harmless."  Dam was only raised to 1620 feet. 
5/2/1947 Federal Power Commission Decision This document deals entirely with the third step in raising Ross Dam.  Flood spillway gates were to be installed by October 1948.  State Dept of Fisheries was responsible for fish impacts of dam.  Flood control was made part of the requirements to construct the dam to elevation 1620 feet.  Authorized 200,000 ac ft of storage by Nov 1st of each year.  Flood control release of water was to be started as soon as Concrete gage reached 25,000 cfs (currently 90,000 cfs)
12/27/1948 Seattle City Light Letter, Re: Amendment of License - Project No. 553 - Third Step of Ross Dam SCL informs FPC that flood spillway gates are not planned until 1952 when the powerhouse was supposed to be completed.  Amount of flood control available "considerably in excess" of 200,000 cfs. due to clearing of timber operations.  SCL requested that flood control requirements of FPC order be deleted and subject to a separate amendment so the issue could be further studied.
1/26/1950 Corps letter to SCL re storage in Ross Lake Although not yet required to do so, SCL Ross dam provided enough flood control storage during the 1949 flood event to lower the flood levels at Mt. Vernon by 3 feet.  It appears from this letter that in January 1950 the Corps had not yet decided on how much storage should be available.  (See 3/6/1979 Memorandum)
12/1981 Skagit River Dam Failure Inundation Study

“The flow produced by the failure of Ross Dam is several times larger than the maximum observed historic flood at Sedro-Woolley (220,000 cfs, November 30, 1909). At Sedro-Woolley the maximum historic flood produces a maximum water surface elevation of 50 feet, while the maximum dam failure discharge of 1,740,000 cfs produces a maximum stage of 75 feet at the same location.”

9/8/2011 Seattle City Light Comments on Skagit River General Investigation Study “Your NOI formally begins the scoping process under NEPA. As part of the scoping process, Seattle City Light wishes to comment on the scope of the DEIS. Our ongoing interest in the GI study stems from our ownership and operation of the Skagit Hydroelectric Project located in the upper watershed. . . . As we understand it, the primary intent of the flood risk management feasibility study is to formulate, evaluate, and screen potential solutions to flooding problems within the basin and to recommend an alternative. . . . In May of 2009 the Skagit County's Skagit Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan (CFHMP) Advisory Committee (AC) provided input on the Skagit GI measures. This input also included locally identified projects that will be considered for inclusion in the Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan (CFHMP). ... We encourage the Army Corps to utilize the results of this effort in its narrowing process. . . .
One of the flood reduction measures being considered is to create additional storage in Ross Reservoir. To accomplish this outcome power generation operations would have to be modified. This concept has been under discussion for more than 20 years. There are many serious concerns about this alternative including that the current operations and flows from the project are set by the FERC License and Settlement Agreement signed by all concerned federal and state agencies and tribes. As proposed, this measure would have high impacts to federally listed Chinook salmon and high financial cost to SCL for which we would need to be compensated.

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Skagit County Documents

 

Date Date Summary 
2/11/1911

Clapp Report

This document clearly shows that in 1911 Skagit County hired a consultant to help them decide what to do to handle the flooding of the Skagit River. He clearly tells them that their levees are too close to the edge of the river. This section like the Corps section is expected to grow by leaps and bounds as Skagit County like the Corps has been very cooperative in providing documents for the historical review of the Skagit River flood issue.
11/10/1922

Resolution # 1331 re hiring of River Engineer

County Commissioner Resolution #1331 which authorized the hiring of a “River Engineer”. The person ultimately hired was James E. Stewart
12/4/1922

Payment to James E. Stewart

These documents are pages of the Skagit County Journal authorizing payments made to James E. Stewart directly for his work on the Skagit River. Stewart was paid $250 a month in 1922 which translates to $2,800 a month in 2005.
2/5/1923

Payment to James E. Stewart

2/5/1923

Second Payment to James E. Stewart

3/5/1923

Payment to James E. Stewart

1/7/1950 Reply to Corps Request for Flood Fight Mapping Through discussing about the Nov. 27-28 1949 flood.  At “the peak of the Nov. 27-28 flood... The town of Hamilton was under 2 to 4 feet of water. The other towns in the valley, Mount Vernon, Sedro Woolley, Burlington and Lyman were not inundated but at least one, Burlington was seriously threatened. ... The water was about 3.0 feet below the top of the dike East of Burlington on Fairhaven St., and was about 1.5 feet below the top of the dike northeasterly of Burlington. The dikes at Mount Vernon were about 1.5 or 2 feet above the peak at most places, with weak spots developing near Avon.”
 
See Also: 1/5/1950 Letter to Skagit County Government Requesting Flood Fight Mapping
12/26/1950 Skagit County Farm Bureau Letter to Congressman Henry "Scoop" Jackson Request for four lower Skagit River Basin flood control projects to reduce flood damages.
1/11/1951 Skagit County Farm Bureau Letter to US Senator Harry P. Cain “The Skagit River normally empties into the Sound through many outlets besides its main channel. The Engineers closed several of these outlets thus forcing more water out through the main channel which raised the low water level at the mouth of the main channel by several feet. The drainage system for the lower Skagit Valley depends on emptying its ditches at low tide with a quick runout and holding high tide back by use of flood gates. The raised level of low water in the main Channel of the Skagit River makes this quick runoff impossible and the drainage system inoperative..”
12/16/1955 Minutes of Meeting of Skagit County Chapter, Puget Sound Flood Control Council Composed mostly of Dike District Commissioners the Council discussed the proposed "cut-off" on the North Fork of the Skagit River.  No one mentioned the impact of tides on flood flows.  One concern was that the new channel would deposit silt in the channel East of Whidbey Island which could impact navigation.  Predicted the South Fork of the river would be almost non-existent in a very few years.  Dike Districts talked about forming a County-wide Flood Control District to simplify the levying of taxes for local participation.
5/3/1960 Ltr to Colonel R.P. Young, US COE, Seattle District, Re: Legislative Council Meeting “Why is it so hard to get an acceptable cost benefit ratio for diking protection of the Skagit River, when in 1936 Congress approved the Avon Bypass and supported dike systems. Please refer to paragraphs 68, 91 and 92 of the 1952 copy of "Report on Survey for Flood Control of Skagit River and Tributaries", Copy No. 43. Your report suggests a design of 250,000 C.F.S. at Mount Vernon. We fail to reconcile these statements with our record of eleven floods from 1396 to I960 and with a flood volume of 100,000 C.F.S. to 195,000 C.F.S.”
2/7/1961
NEW
Ltr to Corps fm Skagit Soil Conservation District with attached report of land damage caused by the 1951 flood This is perhaps the best description of the 1951 flood that we have reviewed to date.  Important to remember is that in 1951 there was no Upper Baker Dam and the levees were nowhere near as large as they are now.  Dike 12 levees were in some locations 4,000 ft. from the river and not over 6 feet tall.  The report stated Ross Dam provided only 35,000 acre feet of storage
7/12/1962 Minutes Skagit County Flood Control Council Documents meeting between Corps and Flood Control Council concerning Avon By-Pass project new design.
9/5/1962 BOC letter to Corps re Avon Bypass County formed committee re Avon Bypass project.
11/29/1962 Letter to District Engineer for Corps of Engineers Seattle District “The Skagit River dike of Cockreham Island two miles southwest of Hamilton, Washington was broken in two places by the high water of November 20, 1962.”
1/8/1963 Skagit County Letter to Corps Re: Flood Control Expenses 1961 through 1963 Skagit County spent over  $135,,000 on flood control projects.  Dike Districts, County and State of Wa total $693,912. 
11/1963 Objections to Avon Bypass by Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

Salmon fishing is the major source of livelihood for the Swinomish Indians, and denial or deprivation thereof would cause great hardship.

5/17/1966 Ltr to Corps fm State re Flood Control Developments in Skagit County
Letter addressed a meeting in which "reorganization" of the dike districts was discussed.  It was the first seed planted for the formation of the current Skagit County Flood Control Zone District.   "In an effort to develop and present a united position on a flood control plan and program, which plan may be that of the Corps of Engineers now tentatively proposed, a flood control advisory committee was selected from the total number of diking districts on the valley floor to represent the full community interested in and likely to be affected by floods and their control."  ...  "Upon a general discussion of the proposed Corps' project (a. levees and channel improvement; b. Avon Bypass; and c. upstream storage), consolidation of the sixteen diking districts was quite thoroughly explored. Either a flood control district (86.09 RCW) or a flood control zone district (86.15 'RCW) appears to be a superior, legal vehicle over reorganization under their present diking district laws (Title 85 RCW)." 
9/6/1966 BOC letter to Corps re Avon Bypass County backs out of commitment to Avon bypass project.  "Considering the inadequate time element and the lack of interest in flood control at this particular time, it is our decision not to place a bond for local matching funds on the November ballot."
1967 Skagit County Water Resources Advisory Committee The make-up of this committee gives a whole new meaning to "Good Ole Boys".
1/17/1967 Skagit County BCC ltr to Corps re establishment of Citizens Advisory Committee on Flood Control BCC let Corps know they planned on setting up a county-wide flood control district.  Also would hire more qualified staff to handle flood control items in the future.  Ltr was in response to Corps August 25, 1966 ltr
8/25/1967 DRAFT Resolution from WRAC to County Commissioners Purpose of FCZD was to raise taxes for flood control activities.  Agreed to comp plan (attached) that would raise levees to 8 year protection to include "fuse plugs" to eliminate critical levee failures.  In addition, a program of public information and control of the flood plain will be adopted to insure that developments are controlled and a false sense of security does not exist.
1/1968 Excerpts from the very first Skagit County Comprehensive Plan This document represents a very good example of when the best laid plans of man go awry. If only the excellent suggestions on land use planning with respect to flood control that were contained within this document were followed, Skagit County and its cities and towns would not be in the predicament that they are now.
9/18/1969 BCC letter to U.S. Army Corps re: assurances of local cooperation for the Avon Bypass Project “Eighteen (18) years have transpired since the last major flood.  The public interest in flood control is complete apathy. ”
1970s Flood Control Organizational Structure as it existed in the 1970's Used to promote the 1979 levee improvement district.
9/1/1970 County Commissioner Public Hearing Transcript RE: Formation of Flood Control Zone

“We can't do anything. Our hands are completely off of it. If we form a flood control zone district it gives us some power to start doing something with our own problem locally. Up to now it has always been the Corps of Engineers or somebody distant from us who has wasted our taxpayers money doing all these studies. We are trying to correct this. If we don't make some chances we will be powerless to do anything about this.”

9/1/1970

Resolution re Countywide Flood Control Zone District

This resolution established the Skagit County Flood Control Zone.
4/6/1971

BOC letter to Corps re Flood Control Phases

County established countywide flood control zone. Levee improvement project was tied to Avon By-Pass or upstream storage. Urged Corps to implement flood control storage.
7/11/1972 Skagit Valley Herald article "Seepage causing great concern; hundreds of acres reported flooded" and articles addressing Grandy Creek landslide Article addresses severe drainage problems in the "River bend area".  River height not letting water drain "as long as the water is below the 13 foot level."  River hadn't been that low for 6 weeks.  "Above the 13 foot level, he said, seepage from the river is a constant menace to farmers in the area."
1973
NEW
1973 Comprehensive Plan Soils Map Shows the three historical paths of the Skagit River.
4/1973 Comprehensive Land Use Planning Alternatives for the Skagit River Floodplain and Related Uplands

This planning study represents a unique approach to flood disaster planning in that it examines the consequences of containing development in lieu of the time honored approach of containing the flood.

4/29/1974 Skagit Conservation District ltr to Corps re Wild and Scenic River System designation for the Sauk River SCD didn't want designation because it would eliminate flood control structures on the Sauk River.  SCD demanded that "a feasibility study be made of both the Sauk River flood control structure and the Avon Bypass by the COE before allowing any classification of the river.
5/29/1974 BCC ltr to Senator Jackson re La Conner Request for Assistance re Swinomish Channel BCC wanted yearly dredging of Swinomish Channel, and recommended flood spillways for protection of the town and private dikes along the east side of the Channel in the' event of a Skagit River flood.

7/19/1974

Skagit Conservation District ltr to Corps SCD wanted public meeting in Sept. so the Corps could discuss Sauk River dam and Avon Bypass concepts and the impacts of the Wild & Scenic River act because, "It has been a long time since either the Avon Bypass or the Sauk Dam have been discussed here."
8/19/1974 George M. Dynes Proposal for Flood Control - Skagit River Basin “There exists an immediate and urgent need for the establishment of a program to work out details for a plan of flood control on the Skagit River and its tributaries, especially the Baker, Sauk and Cascade Rivers; and, to secure support and assistance to put such a program into effect.

Proposal includes idea of volunteer "special consultant", raising levees, 84,000 additional acre-feet behind Upper Baker Dam, and either a Sauk River Dam or a "lower cost" Avon By-pass.
4/1/1975 Ltr to Senator Magnuson fm BCC re flood control dam on Sauk BCC wanted Magnuson to request the public works committee to make a study of the Sauk River with regard to the feasibility of a flood control dam.  "...the Sauk can carry 40% of the water that empties into the Skagit River."
4/22/1975 Ltr to Representative Meeds fm BCC re Wild & Scenic River Study "The immediate purpose of this letter is to request that you direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to undertake feasibility studies of a flood control dam on the  Sauk River and that you secure necessary funds to allow completion of these studies as soon as possible."
5/08/1975 Skagit County letter to Corps re sponsorship of the lower levee project “Skagit County does have an established County-Wide Flood Control Zone District which will enable the County to provide financing for its local sponsorship.”
12/22/1975 Skagit County letter to Seattle District USACOE re levee repair "The financial burden of repairing damage sustained by our County is prohibitive, and we are therefore asking the Corps of Engineers to further assist Skagit County in repairing Skagit County owned levees."  With the exception of Cockreham Island Skagit County doesn't own any levees.
3/1976 Skagit River Flooding:  An Overview by Skagit County Rural Development Committee Given what the committee had to work with in 1976 this was a pretty good attempt at documenting the flood issue in Skagit County.  However, given what we know now it would not stand historical challenges.  Such as: they rely heavily on the Steward Report.  They did not know that Stewarts Report was unfinished, or that Mr. Stewart was dead at the time the report was published, nor the fact that Mr. Bodhaine had never been to Skagit County.

Given the fact that the entire document was printed in the SVH in weekly installments one has to wonder why no one paid any attention to what the document had to say with respect to development in the floodplain that now burdens the taxpayer with multi-millions to protect that same development.  The irony is that if the dike districts and the cities and towns get their way they will be promoting even more development that in the long run will cost the taxpayers even more money.
2/3/1977 Article in the Skagit Valley Herald re "Skagit flood dispute halts permits". This article deals with permits in Wilderness Village, 3 miles downstream of Concrete.  See (9/29/1976 USACE Work Request for Wilderness Village (Concrete)) County placed a moratorium on issuing permits from Sedro-Woolley upriver in the floodplain.
3/1/1977

Ltr to ACOE fm Skagit County Commissioner Howard Miller re request for flood study to be expedited

“Understanding that the final flood insurance study may indicate substantial changes with the information available today, it is our request that this study be expedited as much as possible so that the possible impact on those properties that may not eventually be affected by the floodway can be reduced.”
7/14/1977 Ltr to Corps Seattle District fm Port of Skagit County re potential deauthorization of the Avon Bypass.  Also has attached Port resolution concerning the Wild and Scenic River designation. The Port Commissioners do concur that the Avon Bypass project should be dropped. The proposal to cut through the valuable farm lands of the Skagit Delta is very hard to support.  We wish to specifically point out to you, however, that the proposed upgrading of levees on the Skagit River from I-5 at Mount Vernon to Skagit Bay and your suggested release of flood control storage on the upper Baker Dam leave a great deal to be desired. Frankly, the purpose is far inadequate. Port did not want the River west of the Town of Concrete to be considered in the Wild and Scenic River Designation and wanted maintenance dredging and siltation ponds constructed along with 75 year protection levees..
7/25/1977 SCBCC response to 7/11/1977 ltr from Corps

"... Skagit County's county-wide flood control zone will be an asset should any large projects, such as the Lower Levee Project or the Avon Bypass Project, be undertaken..." . . . "All of the Diking Districts and the County Engineering Department feel that we should keep working against the deauthorization of the Avon Bypass.

9/13/1977 Board of County Commissioners (BCC) Letter to Corps re sponsorship of the Levee Improvement Project via the Flood Control Zone District “As adequate flood protection is urgently needed to protect our urban and farm areas, Skagit County has established a County-wide Flood Control Zone District which will enable the County to provide financing for its local sponsorship.”
11/15/1977  Ltr to Corps fm Whatcom Skagit Island County Contractors Association requesting jobs go to local companies for levee project "As you probably know, there are several qualified contractors within the local area who could perform the flood control work. However, several of our members cannot tackle extremely large projects due to their bonding capacity. The purpose of this letter is to inquire whether or not you would consider breaking the project up into smaller units such that it could be let out in $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 parcels that would be within the capabilities of local contractors."  
See also:  11/29/1977 Corps response ltr to Whatcom-Skagit-Island Contractors Association , 1/13/1979 Corps ltr to County re use of local contractors
2/8/1978 Skagit County Flood Control Council Minutes Reactivation of the Council.  Corps stated “considerable right-of-way will be required to construct the Lower Levee Project.”  The project would have allowed the Skagit to carry a 120,000 cfs flood from I-5 to the mouth of the river at a cost of $15,000,000 for construction only.
3/14/1978 Skagit County ltr to Corps of Engineers Ltr assured the Corps that Skagit County would meet its obligations under the Local Cooperation Agreement.
3/22/1978 County Commissioners Statement at 3/22 public hearing. "We know that a major flood such as has occurred would today be catastrophic, causing extensive damage to property and endangering the lives of our citizens in the flood plain. Flood protection is urgently needed to protect the Skagit Valley and the urban areas containing cities and towns in Skagit County.  The development in the urban areas of Skagit County, together with the sophisticated farming development in Skagit County are in no way compatible with flooding of the area."  Yet even with that knowledge the BCC never objected to all the urban/commercial/residential development that took place after that hearing. 
3/22/1978 County Engineer ltr to Corps re Lower Levee Project "Following six years of study, the Lower Levee Project was approved by Congress in 1966.  Today 12 years later we are beginning to see the reality of that study and are looking forward to construction about 1980."
3/22/1978 Skagit Regional Planning Council Testimony at Corps Public Hearing We know that a major flood such as has occurred would today be catastrophic, causing extensive damage to property and endangering the lives of our citizens in the flood plain. Flood protection is urgently needed to protect the Skagit Valley and the urban areas containing cities and towns in Skagit County.  This is the exact verbiage submitted by the BCC. 
5/31/1978 Skagit County Memo to Real Estate Salespersons, Developers, Builder's and other people interested in land use regulations in Skagit County re Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance  "New residence construction and substantial improvement of any residential structure shall have the lowest habitable floor elevated to or above 100 year floodplain elevation. "  
6/2/1978

Skagit County ltr to Corps re Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance adopted 5/23/1978

County included “variances for development permits” section which made the ordinance useless since county planning rarely if ever denied a variance.
6/6/1978| Corps MFR re Hydrology and Hydraulic Analysis “It appears the frequency curve will probably be adjusted to somewhere between the frequency curve from the Upper Baker report and the frequency curve which was recently developed. Based on the recent frequency carve, respective_10-,50-,100-, and 500-year floods are 147,000 c.f.s., 204,000 c.f.s., 228,000 c.f.s., and 299,000 c.f.s.”  A/C Note:  Concrete or SW?. . . . “Mr. Hogan stated that he does not want the plan which we propose to aggravate flooding anywhere else along the river.  . . . Ballpark-hydrology will be provided to hydraulics for their use, with solid hydrology available by the end of July.”
6/20/1978 Corps MFR re Field review of Skagit River Levees “Backwater profiles will be updated for Phase I and Phase 11 studies.  In the next few weeks and all backwaters will be Corps of Engineers , responsibility.  . . .  It will be necessary for the A-E to investigate the necessity of riprap protection where the levee toe infringes on the channel or overlaps into the toe of the existing riverbank.”
11/22/1978 Baker Lake Reservoir Flood Control Negotiations Ltr and Notes from Skagit County Engineer to Skagit County Commissioners Negotiations are faultering (sic) over the method of reimbursement to Puget Power for power loss due to this agreed draw-down. Puget Power is indicating to the Corps that they want reimbursement in power, rather than in financial remuneration. This in turn involves Bonneville Power Administration in a very complicated 3-party negotiation process.”
1/4/1979 January 4, 1979 Flood Fight Exercise Notes “The purpose of this meeting was to gather those agencies directly involved in flood fighting together and for these agencies to become better acquainted with each other and better understand their respective functions during a flood fight. To become aware of the help available from other agencies, to establish better communications between these agencies involved and to generally improve the flood fighting ability of all the agencies.
1/22/1979 Duane Kline Budget Director memo to BCC re financing of lower levee project “It is my belief that the only means available for Skagit County to pay for its share of the lower levee project is to collect said money over and above its current tax levies.”
1/22/1979 Skagit County ltr to Corps with attached "Skagit River Flood Warning Schedule". Schedule contained 11 elements.  #3 PW will start recording river gauge readings at the Riverside and Concrete gauge each 1/2 hour.  #5 PW will alert all Dike Commissioners of pending flood condition.  #8 The Skagit County Engineers Dept. has a special telephone number with a recorded message relating to Flood information. This message will be updated each hour. (Telephone No. 336-9488).
1/30/1979
Letter to Representative Swift from BCC requesting he include authorization for Levee Project in the 1979 omnibus bill “Since authorization of the Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvement Project in 1966, extensive development has taken place in the lower Skagit Valley; this growth is expected to continue. A higher degree of protection is now cost effective over a greater area than in 1966. The inclusion of the Sauk River into the Wild and Scenic River Act has virtually eliminated the possibility of up-river storage as a mp.ans of flood control for the Skagit Valley. The Levee Project remains as the only acceptable flood protection available. As you are aware, modification of the Levee Project was not passed in the last session of Congress. It is nm., more important than ever that this legislation be prepared and passed in this session of Congress.”
2/13/1979 Congressman Al Swift Letter to Committee on Public Works & Transportation “The potential for major flood damage in the Skagit Valley is high. Skagit County, which is primarily an undeveloped agricultural area, suffered six million dollars in damages in the 1975 floods. The County would have suffered far more had it not been for unusual circumstances which required lowering the level of storage behind the dam at Upper Baker lake in anticipation of mud slides cause::i by seismic activity on the mountain. The lower level allowed the increased run-off to accumulate in the lake rather than flood the lower areas as it would have normally. The 1975 flood was a twelve- year flood.”
3/8/1979 Skagit County Cooperative Extension Memo re Outline for Critical Evaluation of Corps Project

D. Effect on EQUITY

 - Who benefits from the project alternative, and who bears its costs?  (Project alternatives involve the shifting of risk and exposure from one group to another, such as, exposure to a rise in 100 year water surface elevation.)

E. FEASIBILITY

 - Is the project alternative politically feasible?  - Are the equity impacts of the project considered fair?  - Is accomplishment of the project goals considered worth the local share of implementation and annual management costs?

4/4/1979 Ltr fm Skagit Conservation District to County Commissioners re Alternative 3E of Corps Project The SCD was opposed to forcing floodwaters into the Samish Valley.  Their plan provided three other areas to "let nature choose where the excess of 50-yr flood flows" ...Fir Island, Avon Bend & Sterling.  No indication who represented Mother Nature at the SCD meeting.
9/05/1979 Skagit County Commissioner Press Release re vote on Lower Levee Project “The Board strongly recognizes the need for a flood control project, but because of the State mandated limitations on revenue, is unable to provide funding from existing revenues and therefore must place this issue before the voters.”
10/17/1979 October 1979 Skagit River Flood Fight Exercise Notes Notes on how the Skagit River Flood Risk was managed in 1979.
10/18/1979 1979 Flood Fight Meeting Minutes “Corps of Engineers, Seattle District - Ernie Sabo said that when the river rises to flood stage and county resources are exhausted, the Corps will begin their active flood fighting. Headquarters will be set up at the Skagit Valley College and the Corps will hire equipment and men, and oversee the flood fighting sectors. After the flood is over, they will begin the restoration process.
11/19/1979 Ltr from Senators Jackson & Magnuson re removing Skagit Lower Levee Project from flood bill “As you know, the Senate Public Works Committee had inserted into S. 730, the Omnibus Water Resources Development Act of 1979, a provision authorizing the Skagit River project. In light of the election outcome, and at your request, we have asked the Committee to delete the provision before the bill is sent to the full Senate as Skagit County does not now have the financial resources necessary for the required local share.”
12/20/1979 Skagit County Commissioners Letter to Skagit County Road Department “Skagit County has just witnessed the power of the mighty Skagit River and it's several tributaries, and we are reminded that it is a river to be respected as an awesome force. Skagit County can also be thankful that they have dedicated men and women such as you, who are willing to put forth the type of effort that you have just given us in times of emergency. ... It is apparent that the County Road Department is the hub of the coordination effort for a county wide flood fight, and we feel fortunate in having knowledgeable, capable, and dedicated employees willing to put in extraordinary amounts of time for the good of the county.”
10/16/1980 Pre-Flood Fight Meeting Minutes -- Update to County Flood Early Warning System “A new recording device has been installed that will handle four calls at a time. This recorder will have an update on the projected river level every hour. This updated message will state projected levels at the Concrete gauge and the Mt. Vernon gauge on the Skagit River and any other vital information. ... There has been a change in when the Corps of Engineers will be moving into the Skagit River basin. They will be moving into this area when -0- damage is projected at the Concrete gauge instead of the Mount Vernon gauge. This will help the downstream areas and provide earlier assistance to the upriver area just downstream from Concrete. The Army Corps of Engineers can't pay for clean up after the flood is over. The Corps' responsibility is over when the river has begun to recede or the danger has passed.”
1981

Skagit Flood Control Committee Report

The flood control advisory committee met for the first time in December 1980. The committee divided itself into sub-committees and addressed several possible flood control alternatives. Those alternatives were combined into one report.
11/10/1981

BOC Minutes re floodway designations & dam storage

The minutes reflect the discussion that took place between the BOC and the flood control committee re the 1981 flood control committee report.  Most important is the documentation that PSPL had told the flood committee that the Baker Dams already provided 100 year protection.
4/30/1982 Brown and Caldwell Letter and Report, RE: Skagit County Strom Drainage Management Options “The County is in the drainage business, though there is no money available for drainage basin planning, for off-roadway drainage maintenance, or for construction of drainage facilities. What County officials need to weigh is the direct costs of promoting or providing drainage management services versus the indirect costs of property damage, pollution, destruction of watercourses, and other problems caused by stormwater drainage from uncontrolled land development.
7/6/1982 Skagit County Commissioners Minutes “Bob [Boudinot] ... mentioned that Gages Slough is the principal drainage way for the City of Burlington's storm drainage system.  The city has had many problems in management and administration of the slough, but there is little they are able to do without a funding source.  As the City and County grow the impact on the slough will increase.  The City Council is aware of the problem and is interested in finding a solution.  In the past the County has attempted to establish a Sub Flood Control Zone and this has not been successful because the people on the upper end were opposed to it.”
11/01/1983 Skagit County Commissioners Minutes Discussion about putting a pump into Gages Slough.
11/01/1983 Complete Transcript of Gages Slough Discussion Skagit County Commissioner: “We don't want to inherit the water or the responsibility for handling the water for future development that we would have no control over.”
4/5/1984 Transcript of Skagit County Planning Dept. Meeting with FEMA, DOE & Burlington addressing Flood Insurance Study and Gages Slough maintenance problems

“Our point is that we are stuck.  There’s not enough money out there.  We’ve got 11,600 flood prone communities out there.  Skagit Valley is not the most important one.  So they’re reluctant to spend any more money.  Compared to the Mississippi the rest of us are peanuts.”  [Herb McElvaine, FEMA]

4/10/1984 Memo Re: Skagit County Flood Control Fund “...The Commissioners did not wish to limit the Fund to the Skagit River only stating that the fund should be available for all flood control needs specifically including salt water dikes and the Samish River Basin. The Commissioners also requested the Committee to recommend a maximum dollar grant for each project not to exceed 50% of the total project. It was felt this was necessary to assume that one applicant would not receive the entire fund.”
4/24/1984 Public Works Director Letter to Anacortes Mayor, Re: Flood Control Funds “Thank you for your inquiry regarding flood control monies made available through the County's Revenue Sharing Fund. These monies have been set aside by the Board of County Commissioners for the purpose of matching project funds for dike and drainage districts and subflood control zones within the County and are not intended for the use of any other entity primarily because of the limited amount of money available and the source of these revenues.”
6/14/1984 Skagit County Partial Transcript of Public Meeting on Flood Insurance Study

The problem, is that if you allow indiscriminate development in the floodplain, the problem is the same as what happens when you get into a full bath tub. You get into a bath tub the water goes up. If you build anywhere in the floodplain the water is going to be blocked, diverted, its got to go somewhere and its going to harm other people.” (Chuck Steele, FEMA)

5/28/1985

Skagit County letter re Flood Control Cost ($529,414)

Letter shows that Skagit County and the Dike Districts spent $529,414 on flood control projects on the levees in 1985.
4/16/1986 Memo to Dike and Drainage District Commissioners Re: Dike and Drainage District Legislation “It has also come to our attention that many of the District Commissioners are having trouble obtaining liability insurance. We have been urged by several of the commissioners to hold a meeting to see what can be done about this problem. We will have an Insurance Representative at this meeting to explain the present insurance situation and the possibilities that are available for district liability insurance.”
1/19/1987 Handwritten Notes by Brown and Caldwell Employee for Comprehensive Flood Control Management Plan (CFCMP) Handwritten notes (HWN) include notes that “whole county plan - highest priority problems” and “no modeling in plans - not lots of money & effort”.
2/25/1987 Skagit County Public Works Contract Activation Letter to Brown and Caldwell for Comprehensive Flood Control Management Plan (CFCMP) Work Letter to Brown & Caldwell with “executed copy” of the scope of work Brown & Caldwell did for the 1989 Skagit River CFCMP.   Includes line on last page of “Computer costs at $10.00 per hour.”
4/25/1989 April 1989 Skagit County Comprehensive Flood Control Management Plan “The development of flood control management actions must take into consideration the County flood control goals in alternative analysis and prioritization. These goals, discussed in Chapter 3, include reducing threat and damage, protection of economic base, provision of effective emergency response, maintain and improve existing facilities, maintain local control of flood control works, and provide Countywide protection.”
7/8/1991 Skagit County Commissioners letter re Seattle District Corps of Engineers potential closure "…we would like to stress that the Skagit River is the most dangerous river on the West Coast, …".
12/23/1991

Skagit County memo re Flood Fight Policies on Hwy 20

Memo from Public Works Dept to County Commissioners re meeting that discussed the County’s flood fighting efforts along Highway 20. County takes back statement made in Clear Lake that no more sandbags would be placed on the BNRR tracks during a flood fight. After 1951 flood BNRR raised tracks 16 to 24 inches. Dike District 12 moving levees in 1956 contributed to higher water on Lafayette Road. Opening up Gages Slough possible solution.
5/1992 Neal Hamburg May 1992 Testimony Before Joint Select Committee on Flood Damage Reduction A great oral history of dike districts' means of operating/modus operandi.

“The reason we're not elevating is an old (intelligible) problem by the bend there. We don't have the understructure underneath the dikes to hold more than a 25 year flood, not in our area. We have boil ups that will raise anywhere from 10 feet from the dike to 150 to 200 yards inside. So we're about the level that we are going to be.
...
If either of you were going to spend 5 million dollars to raise the dike level to 100 years level, I am sure that he would be at my door or calling me quite rapidly because his tax statement would reflect that and he would well know that it was going to be ineffective and he would be followed by probably another 150 people very promptly. So there are regulatory things that aren't written but they're there.
5/10/1993

Planning Dept memo re Skagit County flood permits

Flood control engineer recognizes that all flood control projects are subject to fill and grade permits, Shoreline Management Act, SEPA and must comply with the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.
1996 Dredging - Frequently asked Questions/Statements

Questions and answers about dredging of the Skagit River.

4/16/1996  Skagit Flood Control & Ecosystem Restoration Study (AKA GI Study) Coordination Meeting “The primary purpose of the meeting was to clarify Corps’ understandings about sponsor’s expectations and then begin working on the study details. Before the Corps of Engineers works with the County to rescope the study, we need to clearly understand what the Local Sponsor(s) hope to get out of the study/project process, including both flood control and ecosystem restoration features. How much are potential Local Sponsors willing to commit to this study? How much are the Local Sponsors willing to pay for “the project”?”
6/19/2001 DRAFT TABLE OF ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR SKAGIT FLOOD DAMAGE REDUCTION STUDY List of regulations that flood control projects must comply with.
7/1/2002 Public Involvement Report for FCAAP Grant Agreement between the State of Washington Department of Ecology and Skagit County Summary of activities of Skagit County Government educating about the Skagit River Flood Risk.
4/8/2003 County Agenda for Work session on CFHMP Agenda for April 8, 2003 CFHMP meeting of Skagit County Government.

4/9/2003

PIE Assessment of Additional Flood Control Storage at Baker River Project PIE recommends in a preliminary report additional flood control in the Baker system.
3/10/2004 DRAFT Upper and Lower Baker Dams Probable Maximum Flood Study Report Pacific International Engineering draft of a report projecting a probable maximum flood on the Baker River.
8/11/2004 Environmental Effects of Additional Flood Control on the Baker River “This report compares the current operations to the alternative flood control proposal, and analyzes and summarizes the potential environmental effects of implementing the latter.  Our analysis shows that the County’s flood control proposal, if implemented, would provide tangible ecological benefits, notably for several species of salmonids that utilize the Skagit River downstream of the Baker River confluence.”

8/27/2004

PIE Technical Memorandum: Analysis of Flood Control Storage at Baker River Project PIE makes, among other findings, that almost $11 million dollars in "annual flood reduction benefits" as well as about 10,000 cfs reduction is possible by maximizing flood control with the Baker River reservoirs.
11/16/2004

Draft Evaluation of Flood Peaks Est. by USGS (without Appendices, See Jarrett Review under USGS; See also "Whitepaper" under LJK Documents)

This document was prepared by Skagit County Public Works consultant Pacific International Engineering and evaluates the accuracy or lack thereof of the James E. Stewart “estimated” flood flows of the 1897, 1909, 1917 and 1921 flood events. (See also LJK Stewart Whitepaper, and USGS Jarrett Report)
12/01/2004 Skagit County Public Works Director Letter to Corps of Engineers Seattle District, Re: Skagit River Flood Reduction Project Request to Corps "to work within the framework of the FERC NEPA process to meet its NEPA responsibilities regarding the flood control elements of the settlement agreement" and independent review of the Pacific International Engineering (PIE) hydrology & hydraulics (H&H) model of the Skagit River.
1/18/2005 R20050014 - Declaration of Emergency

Resolution used to justify emergency fill on Cockreham Island training levee.  See R20080250.

4/12/2005

Annual Expenditures on Flood Study (how much we have spent -- $6,459,000)

This document was produced at the 4/12/2005 public hearing on the status of the Skagit River Flood Control Study. It shows the amount of money that the County has expended on the flood control study from 2000 thru 2004.
2/24/2006 Memorandum to BOC fm County Administrator re: Baker River Storage PSE expressed it’s willingness to continue to work with Skagit County to find a workable arrangement wherein the Baker Hydro Project could be managed to provide flood control benefits. At the present, PSE is operating the dams to provide flood protection and will continue to operate them while we work to develop a long term solution.
9/2006 Skagit County Proposed Flood Control Measures This map shows the locations of "possible" flood control projects Skagit County and the Corps of Engineers are currently evaluating.
9/2006 Skagit County Proposed Flood Control Measures Briefing Document This document more fully explains what is being evaluated for flood control projects.
10//2006 FERC FEIS responses to comments on DEIS Bottom-line:  Flood control still possible but not very probable.
10/12/2006 Skagit County Supplemental Comments to FERC FEIS County endorses earlier flood control operations of Upper Baker dam and modifications to Lower Baker dam in order to provide additional flood control storage.

11/6/2006

County Commission Letters to Dam Operators Skagit County Commissioners write to Seattle City Light for its operation of Ross Dam and Puget Sound Energy for their operation of the Baker River Dams during the 2003 flood events and in that context request 180,000 acre-feet behind Ross Dam as well as that, "Puget Sound Energy manage the reservoirs to provide at least 140,000 acre-feet of flood storage in advance of an impending flood event during this upcoming flood season and restrict release from Lower Baker Dam to the absolute minimum beginning at least six hours before a projected flood peak of 90,000 cfs at Concrete."

1/22/2007

County Letter to Corps Skagit County Commissioners respond to Nov. 1, 2006 City of Burlington Letter to Colonel Michael McCormick in defense of nhc and their work product.
1/24/2007 Skagit River Flood Damage Reduction Study Presentation by Seattle District of the Corps of Engineers Presentation in Adobe Acrobat PDF by Linda Smith, Project Manager and Ted Perkins, Hydraulic Engineer regarding Skagit River Basin hydrology and options for further flood control.
2/2007 Skagit River Hydrology Independent Technical Review Draft Report nhc draft report presented to the Skagit County Commission on March 27, 2007 questioning James E. Stewart hydrology.
3/5/2007 Skagit County Flood Control Committee Minutes Committee discussed Skagit Countywide Flood Control District, continuing Smith House investigation in Hamilton, and how to use WSDOT funding.
3/27/2007 Skagit River Hydrology Independent Technical Review Presentation PDF of PowerPoint given by nhc to March 27, 2007 re: Historic Hydraulic Analysis.
4/2007 nhc Skagit River Hydrology Independent Technical Review Final Report nhc believes "estimates of the peak discharges for the historic flood events of water years 1898, 1910, 1918, and 1922 should continue to be incorporated in analyses of flood hazard and flood hazard management in the Skagit Valley" but also that "Exploratory frequency analyses of the instantaneous unregulated peak flows at Concrete have been conducted with the EMA (Expected Moment Algorithm) software package."  Therefore, "an estimated 100-year peak unregulated discharge for the Skagit River near Concrete" at The Dalles should be "of between approximately 240,000 and 250,000 cfs, compared with the current estimate of 284,000 cfs"
4/2/2007 Skagit County Flood Control Committee Minutes Committee discussed FEMA Flood Map Review & Schedule, the Baker Dam Shorelines Hearing with the Town of Concrete, Flood Control Assistance Account Program Grants, the Mount Vernon AquaFence and the draft report by NW Hydraulic Consultants.
4/23/2007 County Letter Responding to Burlington Request for Additional Language in the Skagit River Project Management Plan Skagit County Commissioners refused to add language to the PMP that would have stated that the Cities and Dike Districts are not endorsing the Corps Hydrology.  See 3/22/07 Burlington Resolution .
5/2007 Skagit County Staff Summary: An Independent Technical Review of Skagit River Historical Hydrology and Hydraulic Analyses by Northwest Hydraulic Consultants

Handout from May 24, 2007 Burlington Chamber of Commerce Town Hall meeting summarizing the nhc report.

5/19/2007 Cockreham Island Buy-Out Feasibility Study Executive Summary

“A benefit cost analysis has established that a buy-out of the Cockreham Island properties is potentially cost -effective. ... Buy-out of the Cockreham Island parcels will not likely occur from one funding source or through one large scale action. It is more likely that a buy-out would occur using multiple funding sources over an undefined period of time.”

[Skagit County Government has posted all of the study.]

5/21/2007 Commissioners Letter to Jorge Carrasco, Superintendent of Seattle City Light, Re: Skagit River Hydrology Independent Technical Review - Final Report

Skagit County Commissioners write after receiving final nhc report that "Skagit County now intends to pursue several recommendations made in the report and seek the assistance and cooperation of the USACE, USGS, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and Seattle City Light (SCL) in doing so (see pages 28-29 for Conclusions and Recommendations)."

5/21/2007 2007 Skagit River Bridge Modification & Interstate Highway Protection Project

"This project is the first element of a comprehensive plan to reduce the flood risk to these areas, including 1-5, SR 20, SR 536, and the Burlington Northern RR. These studies have shown that modifying the existing levees by raising and setting back levees in the project reach is a key component of every flood control measure being considered. This project will complete preliminary engineering studies, an environmental assessment and begin obtaining rights of way."

6/3/2007 Skagit County Public Works: What Will Flood Control Cost?

County proposed measures and their costs.

6/4/2007 Flood Control Funding Options

Dave Brookings' of Skagit County Public Works presentation to the Skagit River Flood Control Committee.

7/2007 2007-07 Public Works Dept Presentation RE: Planning Efforts with Corps of Engineers and FCZD Formation

See slide 3 for County/Corps cooperative efforts and comparison between 1997 & 2007 estimates.

8/2007 Skagit County Goals for the Skagit River Feasibility Study with the US Army Corps of Engineers Wants Corps to focus on Baker revisions.
9/10/2007 Skagit River Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project Feasibility Study (a.k.a. "GI Study") Project Management Plan (PMP)

"The revised PMP identifies Federal and non-Federal funding requirements and assigned responsibility for performing identified studies and activities required to complete the feasibility study phase."  Appears Skagit County is proceeding with countywide flood control zone district (property taxes).

10/2/2007 Resolution R20070486: County of Skagit Proclamation "Flood Awareness Week" "The Board of Skagit County Commissioners feel that... it is prudent and timely for the general public to be made aware of the threat of the coming flood season, and that the threat of flooding be given the attention necessary that the general public may be protected in the event of a major flood."
10/5/2007 Invitation to attend the Skagit River Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project Feasibility Study Executive Committee Meeting

"The purpose of the Executive Committee is to oversee the Feasibility Study and the project delivery team; therefore, your presence at this meeting is important to the success of the Skagit General Investigation process."

10/8/2007 nhc Presentation: Skagit River Flood Insurance Study Delivery of the speaker aside, this was an excellent presentation of today's dilemma in Skagit County.   Million dollar proposal for another study should be rejected by electeds.

You can watch the presentation via Skagit 21.

10/8/2007

Resolution R20070500: A Resolution to Protect the Community's Interests With Respect to Flood Risk Mapping by the Federal Emergency Management Agency

Skagit County Commissioners decide to intervene in the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map process.
10/9/2007 Resolution R20070501: A Resolution to Safeguard the Public Welfare by Protecting Property, Life and the Environment in the Floodway Skagit County Commissioners "hereby orders and direct that the public health, safety and general welfare be safeguarded, and that construction or development within the floodways of the Skagit River be prohibited or restricted to the maximum extent allowed by County".
10/11/2007 Skagit General Investigation Study Executive Committee Meeting Agenda Corps of Engineers and Skagit County Government plan on explaining progress on the GI Study, and the $14,465,180 dollar price tag.
10/11/2007 Skagit GI Study Executive Committee Meeting Packet

Attachment 1

Attachment 1a

Attachment 1b

Attachment 1c

Attachment 1d

Video of meeting can be viewed at http://skagit.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=129

Document purports to establish timeline and cost of new and improved GI Study.  County on hook for over 3 million dollars over next three years.  Schedule admitted to as being "optimistic" as best.

#1.  Document shows proposed level of authority for Skagit Countywide Flood Control Zone District ("SCFCZD")

#1a.  Shows everyone that the SCFCZD is controlled by the County Commissioners who have ultimate decision making power.

#1b.  Shows purpose and number of "Advisory Committee" members (15).  Public limited to 3 minute presentations.  "Advisory committee will be tasked with funding."

#1c.  Public Works Dept. staff roles for the SCFCZD.

#1d.  Technical Committee Rules

11/5/2007 Skagit River Flood Control Committee Meeting Minutes Committee discussed the Flood Control Zone District, the GI Study, widening the 3-bridge corridor, preparing for FEMA FIRM appeal, Skagit River gauge finances and emergency response to floods.
11/01/2007 nhc Review of Skagit River Basin Hydrology Draft Report Existing Condition by PIE

“This document provides a review of Pacific International Engineering's "Skagit River Basin Hydrology Draft Report - Existing Conditions", August 2007, and its Appendices A through J. The review focuses on PIE's development of unregulated flood frequency curves for the Skagit River near Concrete. Limited review is also provided of regulated flood frequency curves and synthetic flood hydrographs for the regulated condition as developed by PIE.”

12/20/2007

Interim Review of US Army Corps of Engineers Lower Skagit River Flo-2d Model by nhc

“Skagit County has requested that nhc review the Flo-2D model used in the draft Skagit River Flood Insurance Study (FIS) as one part of its overall review of the study. Concerns with the hydrology portion of the study are being separately addressed and will not be reiterated here. Ultimately, it is the base flood elevations determined from the Flo-2D model that are at issue as these will be used to evaluate development potential and determine flood insurance premiums.”

1/7/2008 Congressman Larsen's letter to FEMA Region 10 re independent panel evaluation of Skagit hydrology "As you know, my concern throughout this process is that the most accurate and fair data be used in determining Skagit County's flood map in order to best protect its residents."

The Skagit Valley Herald published a story about this letter in the 9 Jan. 2008 edition.

1/22/2008 Resolution Directing County Staff to Proceed With Contesting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 100-Year Flood Maps Skagit County Commissioners direct Public Works "to prepare and defend a scientifically accurate hydrology of the Skagit River system before an independent three-member panel" as well as "an interlocal agreement with the City of Mount Vernon and the City of Burlington" for sharing work and costs of such.
5/09/2008 Commissioners Letter to Mt. Vernon & Burlington Mayors and City Councils, Re: FEMA Flood Review “Skagit County seeks flood maps based on the best available science, something we have made clear from the outset of our participation in this effort. … We believe this approach will appropriately balance the community's economic interests with the safety of its citizens. Moreover, as public officials, we have an obligation to ensure that the legal actions we undertake have some reasonable probability of success, something made all the more important given the budget constraints imposed by current economic conditions.”
5/19/2008 R20080250 - A Resolution Relating to Removal of Temporary Emergency Training Levee Extension on Cockreham Island Skagit County Commissioners decide to remove 600 linear feet from the Cockreham Island training levee.
6/02/2008 E-mail to Skagit FACT from Will W. Honea, Chief Civil Deputy, Prosecuting Attorney's Office

"I write to follow up on the issue of additional flood storage, raised during the May 29, 2008 Skagit FACT field trip to PSE’s Baker River Hydroelectric Project."

6/16/2008 Commissioners' Letter to Burlington Mayor Ed Brunz

“Flood control projects within a river basin are necessarily interrelated Accordingly it is vitally important that the FCZD body furnish holistic flood control recommendations and plans that work for the entire community”

9/2008 Engineering Analysis of Levee Alternatives – Skagit River Bridge Modification and Interstate Highway Protection Project (a.k.a. Stansbury Report)

Skagit County Public Works study of widening the 3-bridge corridor.

10/24/2008 Skagit County Commissioners Letter to PSE

County Commissioners requests PSE live up to Settlement Agreement and help lobby for GI study funding to provide dam storage behind Upper Baker Dam and Lower Baker Dam.

10/30/2008 nhc Re-Evaluation of the Magnitude of Historic Floods on the Skagit River Near Concrete - Final Report

There is no indication that Stewart was able to tie any high water marks in this reach into eye witness reports of flood levels. We know from experience that identification of high water marks from natural indicators one year after a flood can be quite uncertain. For example, for the same reach of the Skagit below The Dalles, the USGS had difficulty in identifying reliable high water marks from the October 2003 flood in field work conducted nine months after the event (Mastin and Kresch, 2005). In that case, the scatter in high water marks at any particular location was as much as 6 feet.

11/14/2008 PSE Obligation to Advance Additional Flood Storage

...It is the County's expectation that PSE will proactively and energetically begin advocating for the 29,000 acre/feet of dedicated additional flood storage behind the Lower Baker Dam for the life of the new license.
It is the County's continuing expectation that PSE will take the lead in action-forcing with federal agencies to accomplish these objectives. Absent that, it is our view that PSE would be intentionally depriving the County of its principal benefit of the various agreements culminating in PSE's new license.

3/2009 Clippings from the March 2009 Community Report

We appreciate the patience of all the participants. At times, it has been slow and laborious, but we are getting there. I sincerely believe that we are on the right track and the committee work being done today will pay huge dividends in the future. We have to stay at the table and get the job done.

5/2009 Re-Evaluation of the Magnitude of Historic Floods on the Skagit River Near Concrete - Revised Final Report “While the current published estimate of the 1921 peak discharge is inconsistent with reported flood levels in the Crofoot Addition, we have been unable to identify the reason for such inconsistency. The currently published discharge estimate was determined by slope-area measurement. The most likely source of error in that estimate is in high water data which were identified in the field about a year after the event. By contrast, the high water data relied on for the revisions proposed in this report are based on a newspaper account published within a few days of the flood.”
6/26/2009 Sauk River Comprehensive Flood/Erosion Control Management Plan “As with any effort of this magnitude, it is difficult to distill the Sauk River into a few paragraphs. The Sauk lives up to its’ designation as a Wild and Scenic River, with emphasis on the Wild. At high flow, the river is powerful, erosive, and can change channels in multiple locations during any given event. To address this dilemma of a quickly changing river and Stakeholders desire to impart order amongst the chaos, Snohomish and Skagit counties embarked on a Comprehensive Flood/Erosion Hazard Management plan. The plan is a quantitative document that provides Stakeholders unprecedented opportunity for informed decision making.
11/2009 Skagit River Bridge Modification and Interstate Highway Social and Economic Impacts Discipline Report “On the right bank, the City of Burlington has designated a 600-foot-wide strip along the Skagit River as floodway, prohibiting future development within this area. Consequently, levee setback along the right bank will occur within the designated floodway.
1/6/2010 nhc Draft Memorandum Re: Skagit Hydrology Documentation Update – Outstanding Issues nhc finds that the GI study has issues around Consideration of Seasonal Variation in Flood Control Storage and Use of 1925-1943 Unregulated Data.

Also, Many of the large floods in the historical record have however occurred in November or even October (e.g. the flood of October 2003) when required flood control storage is substantially less than that assumed in the current existing condition analyses.  ...  Some indication of the effects of having less than the full amount of flood control storage is provided by the comparison of regulated and unregulated discharges. After considering seasonal weighting of regulated flows (approximately 40% of floods occur before 1 December) we expect that the 100-year regulated discharge at Mount Vernon could increase by between 5,000 and 10,000 cfs.” 
2/10/2010 Skagit County Commissioners' Letter to Seattle District Corps of Engineers “We do not believe the uncertainty in the USGS data used in the Corps' hydrology analysis and the new information now available from the work performed by our consultants, has been incorporated into a review. Skagit County requests a technical conference with the Corps, USGS, and FEMA to address these findings and the USGS data used in the Corps' analysis.”
3/10/2010 nhc Re-Evaluation of the Magnitude of Historic Floods on the Skagit River Near Concrete Revised Final Report “It is not known how Stewart determined the 1921 water surface profile or the falls between cross-sections which are critical to determination of discharge. Any interpretation of the data is hampered by the lack of 1921 HWMs between XS2 and XS3, this being the reach relied on by the USGS (Mastin, 2007) for recomputation of the 1921 peak discharge.”
3/17/2010 nhc PowerPoint Presentation of Re-Evaluation of the Magnitude of Historic Floods on the Skagit River near Concrete Presentation given in D.C. by nhc on unreliability of high water marks/HWMs in the Dalles stretch of the Skagit River.
5/5/2010 nhc Memo Re: Skagit River 1921 High Water Marks (It is perhaps also worth pointing out Stewart’s comment that “the only elevations available, when the flood crest is based on high water marks, is the crest of the surges, whereas what is needed is the mean level of the water at the time of the flood crest”.) It remains our opinion that given the available HWMs, there is considerable scope for uncertainty in the slope area measurements of the 1921 peak discharge.

See also: nhc Re-Evaluation of the Magnitude of Historic Floods On the Skagit River Near Concrete Revised Final Report, USGS responses to issues raised by the Technical Memorandum, “Review and reevaluation of Skagit River 1921 flood peak discharge.” and Correction Memo for 5/6/2010 USGS responses to issues raised by the Technical Memorandum, “Review and reevaluation of Skagit River 1921 flood peak discharge.”
6/15/2010 nhc Memorandum: Skagit River Gl Study- Seasonality Assessment of Flood Storage “Hydrologic analyses of existing condition regulated flows conducted to date have ignored the seasonal variation of flood control storage and have assumed that the required maximum amount of storage (74,000 ac-ft at Upper Baker and 120,000 ac-ft at Ross) is available for all floods, regardless of the date of occurrence. The full amount of flood storage is not required at Upper Baker until November 15 and at Ross until December 1. The purpose of the work described in this memo was to assess the impact of lower flood control storage requirements prior to December 1 on regulated peak flows on the Skagit River near Concrete (i .e. downstream from the Baker River confluence).
...
“Operations at Upper Baker have also deviated from expected future operations since 2004. In accordance with the requirements of a relicensing agreement, an Interim Protection Plan (IPP) was introduced in 2004 to improve fish habitat in the Baker River by reducing rapid fluctuations in flow. Under IPP-related project operations, more storage than required would be available in the Baker River project early in the flood control season.
...
A further change affecting flood control performance has been the implementation by PSE since about 2006 of flood control pool buffers at both Upper Baker and Lower Baker. The buffers provide additional storage above that required for flood control operations per the operating license. At Upper Baker, this additional storage is 26,000 acre-ft, so that the bottom of the buffer is approximately 7ft below the maximum permissible pool elevation in the flood control season. At Lower Baker, the bottom of the buffer is approximately 5 ft below the spillway crest elevation, representing approximately 9,850 acre-ft of storage below the spillway crest. The purpose of the buffers is to provide PSE with operational flexibility while avoiding, to the extent possible, incursion into the formal flood control storage space at Upper Baker. PSE operates the reservoirs to try to maintain water levels toward the low end of these buffers (water levels are generally maintained 2 to 3 feet above the bottom of the buffer), however there is no formal operating policy for the buffers.
...
“The Baker Project WCM should be updated to show flood control storage requirements per the current FERC license. Future updates to the WCM should be anticipated and coordinated with PSE to reflect operational changes adopted as a result of future implementation of new FERC license conditions. ”

This document was submitted to the 2011 Skagit River GI  Scoping Efforts by the City of Burlington.
6/18/2010 Shannon & Wilson: Skagit River Levee General Investigation Geotechnical and Hydrogeologic Data and Liquefaction Evaluation Report Skagit County, Washington “The borings drilled on the levees encountered 9 to 17 feet of fill soil with variable properties. Most of the levee fill encountered in our borings consists of very loose to medium dense, silty, fine sand to fine sandy silt that is similar in composition to the native underlying overbank and channel deposits. The fill material is generally massive with scattered clayey pockets and a trace of organics. Based on the similarity in grain size distribution between the fill and underlying native undisturbed soils, we believe that most of the levee fill soil was locally derived.”
8/24/2010 FEMA Letter to Skagit County Government, re: CLOMR for City of Mount Vernon Floodwall “As a result of the proposed project, the Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) for the Skagit River will increase and decrease with both levees holding, compared to the preliminary BFEs. The maximum increase, 0.2 foot, will occur approximately 8,790 feet downstream of Curtis Road, and the maximum decrease, 0.1 foot, will occur approximately 3,980 feet downstream of Curtis Road.
9/13/2010 County Prosecutor Letter to Cities, Re: Potential Appeal of FEMA Flood Maps “To be clear, Skagit County is willing to participate in a city led appeal, provided that the cities' game plan makes sense. The Prosecuting Attorney is charged by law with representing Skagit County on all legal matters, But neither Burlington nor Mount Vernon has yet contacted my office to discuss a potential appeal of the final FEMA maps.
12/22/2010 Skagit County Prosecutor's Office Letter RE: FEMA Map Appeal “We have received a public document in the past few days that contains few details, but have otherwise not been invited to participate in formulating an appeal plan. It is our understanding that the cities' appeal plan has generally been cloaked in secrecy - for example, Burlington city council members were allowed to see but not keep a copy of the appeal plan.”
1/14/2011 Skagit County Commissioners Letter, Re: Skagit River General Investigation Study (Skagit GI) “In order to facilitate moving the Skagit GI forward in an efficient and fiscally prudent manner, the Board confirms that we support the Corps' technical and scientific work as the basis for the Skagit GI project analysis and design. We also agree that due to the extensive time, money, and effort required to repeatedly update the hydrology and hydraulics for the Skagit River, it is in the best interest of the project and the residents of Skagit County to use the current (January, 2010) data published by the USGS.”
1/31/2011 Shannon & Wilson: General Investigation Report Skagit River Basin Levees Skagit County, Washington “Our scope of services was to identify subsurface geotechnical, geologic, and hydrogeologic conditions for the existing levee and underlying foundation soil along the Skagit River. This information would be used as a first step in procuring subsurface information for levee failure analyses and in identifying opportunities for the development of a flood reduction project. Our research was limited to the information collected by the USACE Seattle District from Skagit County, the City of Burlington, and other USACE projects. ...
“Early settlers in the area individually constructed dikes to protect their holdings. During the late 1890's Dike Districts were formed and by 1963, levees had been constructed from the cities of Burlington and Mount Vernon to Skagit Bay. In general, the existing levee material consists of very loose to medium dense, clean to silty, fine to medium sand and slightly sandy to sandy silt. Occasional to numerous organics were locally identified. Coarser grained material consisting of silty sandy gravel, rock spalls, and cobbles were used at select locations for levee repairs. ...
Except for the recent work along 4.6 miles of levee adjacent to the city of Burlington, the available foundation and levee composition information along the Skagit River is not adequate to prioritize where levee improvements are most needed. The subsurface information collected by the USACE provides background information that will assist in the development of an exploration program for levee characterization, but it is our opinion that the provided information is outdated and could prove misleading. Flooding and repair along the levees since the explorations likely have resulted in changed ground conditions by loosening the soil, altering the levee geometries, and changing the levee composition. Additionally, no comprehensive assessment of the levee and its protective measures was available for review. Updated information such as the current levee geometry, levee and foundation composition and consistency, erosion protection, and seepage control measures are necessary to perform geotechnical and hydrogeologic seepage and stability assessment of the levee system.”
6/6/2011 Skagit County Public Works Natural Resources Director Trip Report Re: Skagit GI Washington DC Trip
“Use available Corps funding to complete the Feasibility Scoping Meeting Report and submit it to Corps Headquarters by October 1, 2011. ... Assure by the end of FY 2011 that our study is position to move out in a very disciplined process as funding becomes available. A couple of the keys to accomplishing this will be to develop clear methodology to: 1) integrate H&H and hydraulic effectiveness to determine economic benefits of the selected measures; 2) select and size measures to develop 2 or 3 alternatives; and determine the level of detail necessary to make good informed decisions our Community and the Corps will support.”
11/15/2011 Letter to Governor Gregoire, Re: Skagit lnstream Flow Rule

“Swinomish Chairman Cladoosby recently told the three of us that he intends to control land use in the Skagit Basin by controlling the water supply, effectively bypassing Growth Management Act (GMA) process. From our standpoint, this sentiment explains the present conflict over water rights in the Skagit Basin. ... Skagit County has prohibited most development on floodplain, farmland, and forestland, consistent with the GMA. The stream basins at issue are the same narrow swath of pre-foothill land in Skagit County identified under the GMA for limited rural growth.”
See also: 11/17/2011 Letter to Governor Chris Gregoire, Re: Skagit County Government Letter on Skagit Instream Flow Rule

11/21/2011 County Commissioners Letter to Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, RE: Skagit Instream Flow Rule “We respect that your expression of tribal sovereignty involves vigorous advocacy for salmon, and there is little question Swinomish has become a force in the salmon habitat restoration industry. Yet Swinomish is a significant participant ¡n Skagit County's economy and community in many other ways, which deserves due consideration when contemplating major environmental litigation involving the land and homes of thousands of Skagit County citizens. Nearly two decades of litigation over salmon habitat has accomplished very little for salmon, has wasted millions on legal fees that could have otherwise been used for on-the-ground habitat restoration and other constituent needs, and, perhaps most unfortunate, has perpetrated a cycle of animosity in our community.”
See also: 11/17/2011  Letter to Governor Chris Gregoire, Re: Skagit County Government Letter on Skagit Instream Flow Rule
11/28/2011 County Commissioners Letter to Governor Gregoire, Re: Water Rights in the Skagit River Basin  County responds to the Swinomish "Liar, Liar pants on fire" letter.  “At this point, as nearly as we can ascertain, the reason for the continued controversy arises from the desire to create new judicial precedent limiting the scope of Ecology's power to establish exempt well reservations, something mostly relevant to other river basins besides Skagit. ... Extensive litigation capability frequently drives its own employment in search of a justification for the expense involved. While we comprehend why Swinomish staff continues to vigorously advocate for more litigation over the Skagit Instream Flow Rule in close conjunction with CELP, we strongly believe that effort is against the interests of both Skagit Basin salmon stocks and our community, including the members of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community.”
See also: 11/15/2011 Letter to Governor Gregoire, Re: Skagit lnstream Flow Rule, 11/17/2011 Letter to Governor Chris Gregoire, Re: Skagit County Government Letter on Skagit Instream Flow Rule, 11/21/2011 County Commissioners Letter to Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, RE: Skagit Instream Flow Rule
12/7/2011 Letter to State Department of Ecology Director, Re: Director Letter of Dec. 6, 2011 Skagit County is more than willing to cooperate and fulfill our obligations under the law and our agreement with Ecology, and there is no evidence we have done otherwise. As we have repeatedly communicated to the Governor in recent days, Skagit County is not asking for a larger exempt well allocation. Moreover, Skagit County has and will continue to ascertain whether permit applicants possess a lawful water source, as required by the Kittitas decision. Since we already have the most restrictive scheme in place in the Skagit Basin and no other Skagit treaty tribe supports Swinomish on this issue, we view the threat of treaty rights adjudication as unnecessary. We fully support the list of solutions identified on page 3 of your letter, but these put the cart before the horse. Pervasive litigation by Swinomish attacking nearly every aspect of the basin reservation system - as opposed to any shortcoming on the County's part - explains the problems over which your December 6 letter expresses concern.
See also:  11/15/2011 Letter to Governor Gregoire, Re: Skagit lnstream Flow Rule, 11/17/2011 Letter to Governor Chris Gregoire, Re: Skagit County Government Letter on Skagit Instream Flow Rule, 11/21/2011 County Commissioners Letter to Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, RE: Skagit Instream Flow Rule, 11/28/2011 County Commissioners Letter to Governor Gregoire, Re: Water Rights in the Skagit River Basin, 12.6/2011 Letter to County Commissioners, Re: Skagit River Basin Instream Flow Rule
4/17/2012 Commissioners' Letter to Washington State Department of Ecology “We write to express grave concerns about the 2006 Skagit Instream Flow Rule’s exempt well provisions as a viable concept for resolving regional conflict and meeting rural landowners’ water needs. ... Skagit County is a government of general jurisdiction, with the obligation to equally and impartially represent all citizens of the county, both urban and rural alike, focusing limited resources on basic governmental functions. Skagit County has neither the obligation nor right to negotiate the property interests of rural landowners, who clearly stand to lose significant land value as a result of the ongoing effort to reduce reliance on exempt wells.”
5/7/2012 Skagit County Government Invite to Skagit River General Investigation Preliminary Alternatives Open House On May 7, Skagit County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host a public open house from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the Skagit County Administrative Building, located at 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon, Washington, 98273. ... “The goal of the Skagit River General Investigation is to identify the challenges and opportunities associated with managing flood risk and to develop a watershed scale flood risk management plan. The purpose of this meeting is to present preliminary alternatives and to solicit feedback from the community on the proposed solutions. Each alternative uses a combination of projects and actions that work in combination as a comprehensive flood risk management strategy.”
8/29/2012 Skagit County Public Works: Skagit River General Investigation reaches major milestone as County, Corps move ahead to study three alternatives “On August 20, Skagit County officials and U.S Army Corps of Engineers staff participated in the Alternatives Milestone Meeting for the Skagit River General Investigation in Seattle. ... Earlier this year, the General Investigation Project Delivery Team (PDT) developed six preliminary alternatives and received feedback from the community at various forums. At the Alternatives Milestone Meeting, the PDT recommended carrying forward three alternatives for further design and evaluation: Levee Setbacks, Swinomish Bypass, and the Joe Leary Slough Bypass. Each bypass will be analyzed as both a confined channel and unconfined sheet flow. Optimizing flood storage at the Baker Dam reservoirs and non-structural measures will be a part of each alternative.
9/17/2012 Skagit County Public Works Update Presentation on Corps GI Study Skagit County Public Works gave an update to the Skagit County Flood Control Zone District Advisory Committee (Issues Page) on the Skagit GI.  Last page is the latest timeline with a projected Fall 2015 completion date.
10/2/2012 Skagit Flood Awareness Week Events Activities that Skagit County Government will undertake to prepare to fight the Skagit River Flood Risk during the week of Oct. 2nd to Oct. 5th.
12/14/2012 Skagit County Commissioners' Letter to Swinomish Tribal Community & the City of Anacortes Mayor Maxwell's December 6 letter also claims that Skagit County breached the 2007 County-Anacortes Settlement Agreement, a document signed in the wake of six different unsuccessful legal actions by Anacortes against the County. The 2007 agreement required Anacortes and the County to mutually "work in good faith" on water planning, an obligation Anacortes promptly breached in 2008 by suing to eliminate the entire Skagit water allocation for farmers and rural landowners. Skagit County has no further duties under the 2007 Settlement Agreement either.
“...We are all here for the long term. Rather than remaining mired in the battles of past generations, we prefer to work ín cooperation with Swinomish and other Skagit tribes to prepare our community for the environmental challenges of the future, including the threats that climate change poses.”
1/3/2013 Skagit County Commissioners' Letter Re: Gateway Pacific Terminal / Custer Spur EIS Scoping Comments Letter of comments on proposed coal train terminal at Cherry Point.  States, "Additional train traffic on the BNSF Bridge over the Skagit River that this proposal will occasion. The BNSF Bridge is an outdated structure that regularly creates backwater conditions during flood events, and has the potential to jeopardize the safety of Skagit County citizens. ... We request that the Gateway Pacific Terminal/Custer Spur EIS include within its scope a systemic analysis of potential impacts to Skagit County, including but not limited to regional transportation and economic impacts. "  
1/11/2013 Skagit County Government Notes of Congressional Briefing Meeting “After a funding crisis and the reset meeting, the Skagit GI is back on track. This is in great part due to Congressman Rick Larsen’s office stepping in to continue support of the study. This was further cemented by a letter of support from all cities and towns. Of 650 studies, the Skagit GI is one of a few chosen to proceed with the “3x3x3” goal; the study to be complete in a 3 inch binder, within 3 years, for the cost of $3 million.”
6/12/2013 Recording of June 12, 2013 Skagit County Hearing Examiner Hearing Recording of the June 12, 2013 Hearing Examiner Hearing, which included Dike District 12's Shoreline Substantial Development Permit PL12-0144 request starting at 21:30.  A transcript is currently being prepared.
6/28/2013 Skagit County Hearing Examiner Notice of Decision Shoreline Substantial Development Permit PL12-0191 “Similarly, citizen testimony asserted that raising of this dike will violate Federal flood control standards. The Examiner's jurisdiction here is limited to SMA compliance under State law.”
9/24/2013 Resolution Pertaining to the Closed Record Appeal (PL13-0265) Of Hearing Examiner Approval of Shoreline Substantial Development Permit (PLl2-0191) “The Board hereby remands this matter to the Hearing Examiner for consideration of the following:
“a. DD12 shall present analysis of the actual effects of the levee modifications envisioned under the Shoreline Permit, applying Corps hydrology, comparing actual pre-project conditions and post-project conditions, taking into consideration and depicting (i) upstream impacts to the City of Sedro-Woolley and environs as well as the Nookachamps Basin, including but not limited to impacts to United General Hospital and the Sedro-Woolley wastewater treatment plant; and (ii) downstream impacts.
“b. DDl2 shall provide analysis of the pathway and volume of water that will be diverted outside the main river channel in a 1OO-year flood event before and after the Project, applying Corps hydrology.
“c. In considering this Shoreline Permit, the Hearing Examiner shall analyze, consider and render specific findings that document compliance with the County's obligations under the NMFS bi-op.”
2/11/2014
NEW
Skagit County Commissioners Letter to Hearing Examiner, Re: Hydrology “The parties should use the most recent hydrology data set accepted by the Corps, not the Corps hydrology used for the 2010 FEIS. This is due to the fact that the most recent hydrology data set incorporates information that has been collected since the issuance of that FEIS.”
4/1/2015
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Skagit County Commissioners Letter, RE: GI Study Parameters

The Board of County Commissioners received your request to support a waiver to exceed 3X3X3 parameters for both schedule and funding. Skagit County respectfully declines to support the waiver as presented. We have thoroughly supported the 3X3X3 rule since its inception which came at great financial cost to Skagit County, our citizens, and our partners in floodplain management.”

See also: 6/17/2015 Skagit County Commissioners Letter Terminating Involvement in the Corps of Engineers GI Study Process

6/17/2015
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Skagit County Commissioners Letter Terminating Involvement in the Corps of Engineers GI Study Process “The Skagit River General Investigation's Feasibility Phase began in 1997. Through the study's cost share agreement and subsequent amendments, Skagit County and the Corps agreed to a $14,465,180 total study cost with the Corps serving as the study lead and the County serving as the nonfederal sponsor. After 18 years and reaching the lid of the cost share agreement, we are still awaiting a final plan.
“In April 2012, the Corps reinvigorated the study with the 3/3/3 rule, meaning feasibility studies would be completed in three years, for three million dollars, while integrating the three levels of the Corps. Skagit County agreed to this process and contributed our final $1,500,000 of the total study costs in cash.

See also: 4/1/2015 Skagit County Commissioners Letter, RE: GI Study Parameters
     

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City of Burlington Documents

Date Title Summary
1961

Burlington Testimony to Corps of Engineers

1961 testimony regarding flood damages since 1950’s.

8/26/1963

Letter to Congressman from Mrs. Don Mapes re Avon By-Pass

Mrs. Mapes was opposed to bypass as it ran through her  father-in-laws farm (dike dist 12 comm. for 20 yrs), people are in an economy mood and certainly against this government spending spree.  "I surely want you to know there are many people back here who are violently opposed to this plan...".
3/22/1978 Burlington Mayor Letter to Corps of Engineers re Flood Project Alternatives "We need only remind ourselves that Skagit County is valued, for tax purposes, over one billion dollars, a large part of which is subject to flood damage, and that the City of Burlington is valued, for tax purposes, over fifty-five million dollars all of which is subject to flood damage."

According to the City of Burlington the current 2012 total property valuation is $1,202,840,174.  So how much did the flood threat influence/stop development?  Obviously very little if at all.  The commercial development alone ("all of which is subject to flood damage") is $805,453,934 million dollars.  How serious can the flood threat be when this kind of development is allowed?
6/1978 Population estimates for 1990 (Burlington 1990--3,636, 2005--3,753) fm OFM Burlington 2010, 8,388.  Again the question that goes unanswered is if the flood threat is so great why are that many people allowed to build in harm's way?  More than twice the 1978 estimates.  The only people that can be blamed for that is local government.
6/14/1981 Burlington City Council Partial Public Hearing Transcript in re Flood Insurance Ordinance

The Dames and Moore study discusses some kind of limitation on densities for development to allow flood flows through the area. I think that’s the big issue. When the city prepares an ordnance, does there have to be a limitation on density? If so, what form will that limitation take? Should the limitation be uniformly applied? I don’t know the answers to those and I assume that you don’t either. We need to know those answers in order to write a good ordnance. (Pete Shanin, Chairman of the Burlington Land Use Committee) (See also Dames & Moore Report )

7/12/1982 Summary Report for DEIS - Hydraulic Investigations: Cascade Mall at Burlington A through and thoughtful report 13-page report on hydrology, circa 1982, on the hydraulics and hydrology of Burlington & Gages Slough.  The Corps further reported that nearly the entire runoff from the town of Burlington drains into Gages Slough.
4/1983 Supplemental Hydraulics Investigation to the Cascade Mall Hydraulic calculations about how a 100-year flood would proceed through Burlington City Limits.  NOTE: This report was never accepted by FEMA.  “Cascade Mall hydraulic study could not be supported by any scientific or technical data. See 8/22/1983 FEMA letter
11/08/1984 Transcript of Burlington City Council Meeting November 8, 1984

“Lastly there is the FLOODWAY which in the case of Burlington is only the area that runs landward of the dike by fifty feet. When you’re landward of the dike and your looking towards the river essentially nothing can be built from that distance to the river.” (Steve Ladd, City Planner)

11/1/2006 City of Burlington Letter to Colonel Michael McCormick City of Burlington Public Works Department raises issues with Corps of Engineers hydrology.

Fall/Winter 2006

City of Burlington Bulletin Mayor Gus Tjeerdsma updates the community on the status of flood control.
2/6/2007 FOIA request to FERC for Non-Public Documents City of Burlington request meeting notes, telephone notes, and reports from FERC re: PSE Relicensing efforts.
2/8/2007 Cover Letter to Carl Cook, Director of FEMA Region X

Letter to Carl Cook by Burlington City Administrator Jon Aarstad stating, "We believe the information we have uncovered in this preliminary investigation casts doubt about the magnitude of the historic flood discharge estimates for the 1909, 1917, and 1921 floods.  Therefore, we are submitting this report to you as you proceed with your work to produce new flood plain maps for the Skagit River."

Preliminary Investigation into Historic Flood Marks in the “Smith” House

The objective of this initial investigation was to find direct evidence of the historic floods within the structure of the “Smith” House.

2/16/2007

Col. Michael McCormick Ltr to Chal Martin

Corps responds to City of Burlington concerns re: hydrology however still refuses to address local concerns.  The Corps, however, remains open to the consideration of new technical information that may be developed on this matter.  The problem with this statement is that they are still ignoring the importance of the historical data that does not support the technical data.

3/7/2007 FERC response to Burlington FOIA request

FERC, seemingly confused, seeks additional advice before they can respond to Burlington's FOIA request.

3/22/2007 Draft cover letter to Skagit County re: Concerns over Corps GI Study and Draft Resolution addressing flawed historic data being used by Corps hydraulic study

Burlington will request additional language be submitted in the Corps Project Management Plan to address the lack of consensus on the Corps hydrology issue.

3/22/2007 Resolution requesting additional language be added to SRPMP addressing flawed historic data being used by Corps hydraulic study. Skagit County turned down this request.  See County Letter Responding to Burlington Request dated 4/23/07.
4/3/2007

E-mail from Burlington Public Works Director to Skagit County re comments on nhc study.

Overall comments were very complimentary of the nhc study.  According to Skagit County Public Works only Mr. Martin and myself commented on the nhc study.  
4/25/2007

E-mail to County expressing concerns over GI process using flawed hydraulic data.

Burlington Public Works Director expresses doubt that if Corps study is allowed to go forward using flawed hydraulic data that flood storage behind Lower Baker Dam could ever be achievable.  Also has concerns over statements made in County Letter Responding to Burlington Request dated 4/23/07.

5/24/2007

Burlington Chamber of Commerce Town Hall Meeting FEMA 100 Year Flood Plain Map Study

Meeting scheduled for May 24 7:00-8:30 PM to discuss new FEMA flood elevation maps which are "in some cases, 8 feet higher then previously thought".

5/24/2007

Burlington Chamber of Commerce Agenda and Handout for Town Hall Meeting

Agenda for "FEMA Flood Mapping: How Will It Affect You?" and handout Flood Hazard Mitigation - The Future of The Skagit Valley.  Includes discussion about floodway issues.

5/24/2007

City of Burlington Public Works and Don Gordon Presentations

Two of the three PowerPoint presentations given at the Burlington Chamber of Commerce Town Hall Meeting by Chal Martin and Don Gordon regarding the hydraulics and economics of the FEMA flood insurance maps.

5/24/2007

National Association of Home Builders Press Release for FEMA 100-Year Flood Plain Map Study Skagit River Basin, Washington Town Hall Meeting

NAHB press release issued several days before the town hall meeting beginning with, "The National Association of Home Builders continues to be concerned about the speculations and unscientific information employed in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) draft Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for the Skagit River basin.  As a result, the plan lacks utility for the audience and use for which it is intended. It is inaccurate and unreliable."

5/24/2007

Examples of Deepest Flooding in Mount Vernon and Burlington

Examples by the City of Mount Vernon and City of Burlington Public Works Departments of FEMA-claimed flood elevations in their cities.

6/4/2007 Pacific International Engineering Technical Memorandum Hydraulic Analysis – Smith House Flood Stages "Pacific International Engineering (PIE) performed a hydraulic analysis to estimate the water surface elevations of the Skagit River at the Smith House, located in Hamilton, associated with the magnitude of the 1909, 1917, and 1921 floods as they were estimated by James E. Stewart."
6/7/2007 Hromadka & Associates: An Independent Technical Review – Comments on Flood Frequency Analyses for the Skagit River, Skagit County, Washington Hromadka & Associates conducts its own statistical review of the Stewart figures using, among other things, observations at the Smith House in Hamilton.
7/7/2007 Background Paper: Flawed Analysis is Producing Inaccurate Base Flood Elevation Maps in Skagit County "The actual flood risk in the Skagit Valley is very serious, but manageable. A flawed analysis by the Corps of Engineers will cause the problem (on paper) to become catastrophic and unmanageable."
7/7/2007 Discussion Points, Tax Base Spreadsheets: Corps of Engineers' Incorrect Flood Analysis Will Create Unnecessary Long Term Burden for the Community and its School Districts "Our school districts - which depend on property tax growth to provide reasonably adequate financial resources to educate our kids - will be burdened tremendously and unnecessarily by the results of the Corps' incorrect analysis."
8/2007 Skagit River Basin Hydrology Draft Report Existing Conditions by Pacific International Engineering (PIE) "This report presents an update of Skagit River hydrology conducted by Pacific International Engineering (PI Engineering) under an Agreement for Engineering Services authorized in June 2007 by the City of Burlington. The information and results of the analyses presented herein are intended for use in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Study (FIS)."
8/9/2007 Basis of Concern about FEMA's Underlying Technical Analysis of the new Base Flood Maps for Skagit County City of Burlington prepares seven reasons why the new Flood Insurance Rate Maps should be of concern to Skagitonians, including concerns about accuracy, economic damages and lack of options for further flood control.
8/13/2007 Memorandum for the Board of Skagit County Commissioners from Chal Martin Re: Comments on USGS 2007 Report City of Burlington City Engineer makes seven points why the USGS 8/10/2007 report is non-conclusive and possibly incorrect.
8/15/2007 Hromadka & Associates An Independent Technical Review – Comments on Flood Frequency Analyses for the Skagit River, Skagit County, Washington (Final Report) Awkward language corrected by Dr. Hromadka.  This report clearly shows the statistical improbability of James E. Stewart's claims of CFS at Concrete.
8/17/2007 WJE Smith House Forensic Report "At the Smith House, WJE did not observe any evidence to indicate that flood water elevations ever exceeded the finish floor elevation of the house."
9/5/2007 Ltr to FEMA, Re: Independent Skagit Flood Research

Cover letters for Mount Vernon-Burlington joint submission of alternative data.

9/5/2007

Joint Resolution of the Cities of Burlington and Mount Vernon to use PIE hydrology for FEMA base flood elevation maps

"The Cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington direct the preparation of Flood Insurance Rate Maps to comply with all provisions of the FEMA Flood Insurance Program (Base Flood Elevation, Floodplain Boundary and Floodway Maps) using the best and most accurate science available, which in the Cities’ opinion is the science performed by Pacific International Engineering".

9/5/2007 Impacts of an Incorrect Hydrologic Analysis for the Skagit River Latest presentation by Chal Martin, Burlington Public Works Director, re: federal agencies use of incorrect hydraulic analysis of the Skagit River.
9/5/2007 Joint Mount Vernon-Burlington letter to US Rep. Rick Larsen, Re: Support for alternative hydrology

Mayors of Burlington and Mount Vernon request Representative Rick Larsen to endorse their alternative hydrology and flood plain maps.  Representative Larsen has made clear though in a recent op-ed that his position was, "I have no comment on the credibility of the studies, not only because my opinion on the science is irrelevant but also because I also have no opinion on that aspect of the debate. All levels of government have to make their own assessment about the studies they use and support."

10/9/2007 Cities of Burlington and Mount Vernon Notice of Public Meeting Revised Base Flood Elevations Skagit River Hydrology

Notice of public hearings on flood elevation maps on October 9th and 23rd in Burlington & Mt. Vernon.

11/1/2007 nhc Review of Skagit River Basin Hydrology Draft Report Existing Condition by PIE

“This document provides a review of Pacific International Engineering's "Skagit River Basin Hydrology Draft Report - Existing Conditions", August 2007, and its Appendices A through J. The review focuses on PIE's development of unregulated flood frequency curves for the Skagit River near Concrete. Limited review is also provided of regulated flood frequency curves and synthetic flood hydrographs for the regulated condition as developed by PIE.”

Fall/Winter 2007 Burlington Municipal Newsletter:  FEMA Flood Mapping and Skagit River Hydrology – Could the Administrative “Cure” be Worse Than the Problem? City of Burlington Public Works states their case for Pacific International Engineering hydrology.
Fall/Winter 2007 City of Burlington Flood & Natural Hazard Reduction Public Information Bulletin City of Burlington explains plans for flood protection and issues citizens flood preparedness information.
12/20/2007

Interim Review of US Army Corps of Engineers Lower Skagit River Flo-2d Model by nhc

“Skagit County has requested that nhc review the Flo-2D model used in the draft Skagit River Flood Insurance Study (FIS) as one part of its overall review of the study. Concerns with the hydrology portion of the study are being separately addressed and will not be reiterated here. Ultimately, it is the base flood elevations determined from the Flo-2D model that are at issue as these will be used to evaluate development potential and determine flood insurance premiums.”

4/23/2008 Update Skagit River Flood Issues

Latest presentation showing how historical data does not support the USGS, FEMA, and Corps of Engineers hydraulic data.
See also:
TV10: Update on the Flood Insurance Study

5/13/2008 Proposed Memorandum of Understanding

“We believe that the best option for the urban areas is to work toward levee certification, so that credit is given for the levees in FEMA flood hazard mapping as it continues to evolve over time.”

5/14/2008 WJE Microscopical Studies of Samples from Crofoot's Addition Technical analysis of soils found within homes of the Crofoot's Addition in Concrete.
6/13/2008 Scott Thomas E-mail RE: PSE, Additional Flood Storage and Corps GI Process Burlington City Attorney Scott Thomas responds to Will Honea's e-mail by outlaying concerns about obtaining Lake Shannon storage behind Lower Baker Dam and the Corps GI process.  The e-mail has been redacted to remove e-mail addressees and hyperlinks have been added to link to relevant documents.
7/24/2008 Burlington Public Works Director Update on Skagit Hydrology Issues

Differences, although adjusted, still remain between Corps of Engineers (226,400 CFS) and locally supported data (178,700 CFS) at Concrete.

8/12/2008 City of Burlington and Dike District #12 Determination of Significance and Request for Comments on Scope of EIS

“Goal” is “upgrading appropriate sections of the existing levees and constructing new levees, or providing other measures as necessary to result in Certified Levees where appropriate to protect the City of Burlington's Urban Area.
“The purpose is to stabilize the base flood elevations for the long term future, ensuring predictable development standards, protect the public from the 100-year flood (which has a 1% probability of occurring in any year) initially, while planning for and implementing measures to provide incrementally greater protection as time goes by.”

9/15/2008 Considerations regarding Partial Accreditation of Dike, Drainage, and Irrigation District 12 Levee System

A PowerPoint in PDF explaining hydrology research and also how Burlington may address the increased flood elevations.  Supplemental material is also included.

10/2008 PIE Skagit River Basin Hydrology Report
Existing Conditions
"This report presents an update of Skagit River hydrology conducted by Pacific International Engineering (PI Engineering) under an Agreement for Engineering Services authorized in June 2007 by the City of Burlington."
6/4/2007

Appendix A - Hydraulic Analysis – Smith House Flood Stages

Pacific International Engineering (PIE) performed a hydraulic analysis to estimate the water surface elevations of the Skagit River at the Smith House, located in Hamilton, associated with the magnitude of the 1909, 1917, and 1921 floods as they were estimated by James E. Stewart.

10/2008

Appendix B - Output Of PeakFq For Unregulated Peak And One-Day Flows In The Skagit River Near Concrete

USGS Annual peak flow frequency analysis
4/1/2005

Appendix C - April 1, 2005 PI Engineering Draft Technical Memorandum – Skagit River Basin Historical Flood Modeling - Hydrology

This technical memorandum presents details and an analysis of the Skagit River watershed rainfall-runoff modeling for the two 1990, the 1995, and the 2003 flood events using HEC-HMS software Version 2.2.2 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2003a), HEC-RAS software Version 3.1 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2004), and HEC-5 software Version 8.0 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 1998).

11/29/2004

Appendix D - November 29, 2004 PI Engineering Draft Technical Memorandum – Skagit River Basin Historical Flood Modeling - Hydraulics

This technical memorandum presents information on and analysis of the Skagit River Basin flood routing from Newhalem to Skagit Bay, using HEC-RAS modeling software (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004a). A HEC-5 model was also developed and used to facilitate flood control storage operation of existing dams located at the headwaters of the Skagit and Baker Rivers, which are owned and operated by Seattle City Light (SCL) and Puget Sound Energy (PSE), respectively. The HEC-5 model also performs stream flood routing from these dams to the Concrete gage on the Skagit River.

10/14/2005

Appendix E - Output Of The PeakFq Runs For Observed Regulated Peak And One-Day Flows In The Skagit River Near Concrete

USGS attempted simulation of Skagit River
10/2008

Appendix F - Regulated And Unregulated Flood Hydrographs At Selected Locations In The Upper Skagit River Basin For Four Synthetic Flood Events Routed By HEC-5 and HEC-RAS

Hydrographs attempting to recreate 2003 flood in Upper Skagit Basin.

10/2008

Appendix G - Regulated Flood Hydrographs at Concrete, Sedro-Woolley, and Mount Vernon For Four Synthetic Flood Events Routed By HEC-RAS

Hydrographs attempting to recreate 2003 flood at Concrete, Sedro-Woolley and Mount Vernon

10/12/2005

Appendix H - Output of the PeakFq Runs for Observed Regulated Peak and One-Day Flows In the Skagit River Near Mount Vernon

Printout of maximum peak flows of Skagit River at Mount Vernon river gauge

10/2008

Appendix I - Review Of Selected Historical Literature Pre-Gaged Flood Events on the Skagit River

Synopsis by Chal Martin

With regard to research on the historic floods of 1921, 1917, 1909, and 1897 (and even further back to approximately 1856 and 1815), authors of numerous technical reports produced over the years have accessed available historical documentation to add context and perspective to the results obtained by various technical analyses. This appendix will list the documents often cited and provide some discussion of each. This is not a complete discussion but we believe it is important to include a synopsis of the historical documents as an appendix to the main report to provide a point of departure for the user to conduct additional review of the written historical record.

10/29/2008 Mayor Brunz Letter to FEMA Region X, Re: Endangered Species Act Compliance Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives

In summary, Burlington takes its location in an area that is home to endangered and threatened species very seriously and is directly engaged in a multi-pronged approach to mitigation.

12/09/2008 Proposal for an Interlocal Agreement to Pursue Additional Flood Storage “...One flood measure universally beneficial to every city, town and dike district is additional flood control from the dams.”
1/6/2009 Synopsis of Skagit River Hydrology Differences Unregulated Updated for January 2009, this one-page table shows the statistics separating the Corps of Engineers from nhc and PIE.
1/6/2009 City of Burlington Presentation on Flood Issues and Impacts to Sedro-Woolley

A 22-slide overview of Burlington's attempts to reduce the Skagit River Flood Risk from correcting the hydrology, improving levees, replacing the BNSF railroad bridge and increasing dam storage.

2/13/2009

Draft Environmental Impact Statement to Adopt A Strategic Program for Comprehensive Flood Hazard Mitigation in the Burlington Urban Area and Adjacent Land With A Range Of Structural and Non-Structural Components

The proposed action is to construct 100-year certified levees in appropriate locations, and provide other flood measures as necessary and appropriate based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) final Flood Insurance Study, when this study is adopted following resolution of any appeals.  Levee certification with FEMA accreditation is required so that FEMA will include the existence of the levees in their computer model that sets the Base Flood Elevations for Burlington. Without the levees being considered in the modeling, Base Flood Elevations will increase significantly and this is a serious problem in a city that has very small lots and anticipates a substantial redevelopment of much of the City over the next twenty years.

4/9/2009 Presentation on Effects of a Certified Burlington Levee on Base Flood Elevations/BFEs

Eight slides of base flood elevation (BFE) maps on how certified levees for Burlington will lower the BFEs.

4/24/2009 Series of e-mails between Burlington and FEMA re: potential agreement to rely on the National Academy of Sciences to determine the hydrology of the Skagit River FEMA concerned that there was nothing in the law or regulations that states the process being proposed by Burlington would have any legal binding implication.  Potential cost estimate of $500,000 for NAS review.
6/2009 Proposal for BNSF Skagit River Bridge Replacement to Reduce Urban Area Flood Risk

“Built in 1916, this bridge is a hazard to itself and the adjacent levee system.  Debris buildup upstream of the bridge in 1995 caused the bridge to fail and almost caused the adjacent left bank levee to fail.”

9/5/2008

City of Mount Vernon Ltr of Support

“The City of Mount Vernon (Dike District 12, Dike District 17) supports Burlington's Freight Rail Assistance application to obtain funding for preliminary engineering work to replace the BNSF Skagit River Bridge. This bridge has been identified in several flood control studies as a significant concern during Skagit River flooding.”  

9/5/2008 

Dike District 12 Ltr of Support

“Replacement of this bridge will be a necessary measure in any regional flood control project; therefore, we believe forming a partnership now to replace the bridge will be beneficial to BNSF, our local community, the region, and the state.”
2/12/2009

Skagit County Commissioners Ltr of Support 

“The Skagit County Board of County Commissioners requests your support for $600,000 in Fiscal Year 2010 for funding the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Skagit River Bridge Replacement Preliminary Engineering.  It is our understanding that the City of Burlington has submitted a formal request on this matter and Skagit County supports this request.”

2/24/2009

Sedro-Woolley Ltr of Support

“...Replacing the bridge will significantly improve the capability of the railroad to continue operations during a flood event, providing freight movement even when 1-5, SR-9, and Highway 99 are closed. We believe that a partnership between federal, state, and local governments and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad is the only viable mechanism to achieve these goals.”

2/26/2009 

Dike District 1 Ltr of Support

“The concept underlying this request is to provide an economic incentive for BNSF to enter a federal - state - local - BNSF partnership to replace the bridge. This proposal recognizes the public benefit of replacing the bridge to reduce flood risk to the urban areas of Skagit County and keep transportation arterials open during and after a large flood event. It requires BNSF to provide a third of the funding, but also provides a significant incentive for the railroad to do so.”
2/26/2009 

Dike, Drainage and Irrigation District 12 Ltr of Support

“On February 17th of this month, local elected officials and staff met with area legislators and a BNSF representative to discuss this proposal. BNSF was noncommittal but willing to give serious consideration to replacing the bridge, should the federal and state contingent authorizations become available.”  
2/27/2009

City of Mount Vernon Ltr to Congressman Larsen 

“My staff will continue to work with BNSF's technical engineering staff to refine the bridge replacement proposal. It may be possible to come up with a solution short oftota1 bridge replacement, which would save money. ... We recognize getting the money together to replace this bridge is a very difficult prospect, and forming a public-private partnership to replace private infrastructure will not be easy. Nevertheless. we think it may be the best solution. and the timing for the reauthorization bill is now. ” 
2/27/2009

Washington State Legislators Ltr of Support

“Analysis provided in conjunction with the Bridge Modification and Interstate Highway Protection Project ... has confirmed that the BNSF Skagit River Bridge, constructed in 1916, is a hazard during Skagit River floods. Hydraulic modeling shows that during a large Skagit flood event, water surface levels will be above the bottom chords of the bridge girders, making an already dangerous condition of debris blockage, even worse.”
6/17/2009 

1.8-ft gage datum discrepancy

“1.8 ft is the difference between USGS published and Stewart’s surveyed 1921 HWM elevations.”

6/17/2009 Skagit River Historical Flood Elevations and Peak Flow Estimates Presentation by City of Burlington & Pacific International Engineering to Wednesday, June 17, 2009 Corps of Engineers Skagit River GI H&H Technical Workshop.
6/17/2009 Crofoot's High Water Marks (HWMs) 10 slides about the analysis into what the flood elevations were in Crofoot's Addition, Concrete, WA.
8/13/2009 Burlington e-mail re GI study funding What frustrates me is, if we could get the Corps to accept reasonable hydrology numbers, then no appeal would be necessary and the money designated for technical and legal support for the appeal could be put toward a real partnership funding effort on the GI. I would really like to see that happen. And it wouldn’t just be Burlington: it could also be Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley and several of the DDs. That would be a compelling funding partnership.
10/25/2009 Trip Report, National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies, October 20 - 23, 2009 “Tuesday evening following the training session, Lorna, John and Chal met with Ed Thomas and Fernando Pasquel of the Michael Baker Corporation (FEMA's technical consultant) and Jennifer Molloy of the EPA. During the course of the day, we had discussed the problem we were having in getting an adequate technical review of our new reports on the Skagit hydrology. At the evening dinner meeting, Fernando (a Vice President of Michael Baker) indicated interest in the topic and said perhaps it would be possible to convene a meeting of technical experts to look at the new reports.”
10/30/2009 Skagit River Flood Risk Management and Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study: Comment on the Draft Project Management Plan Revisions dated September 2009 “The previous PMP included significant resources for studying additional flood storage in the Baker system. The new PMP (September 2009) is a departure from the September 2007 plan, in that the 2007 plan contained specific funding goals for evaluation of additional upstream storage in the Baker hydroelectric project. Page 20 of the 2007 plan indicated funding of $1,505,000 for evaluation of the dams, with $1,055,000 targeted specifically to the Baker · Hydroelectric Project. This focus on additional upstream storage has evaporated in the proposed September 2009 revision. We are concerned about this and would point out that the focus on the Baker storage was included in the September 2007 PMP due to overwhelming support for this concept from the downstream Cities, Towns, and Dike Districts.”
11/2009 Geotechnical Investigation and Levee Analysis: City of Burlington and Dike District 12 Levee Certification Project (AKA Golder Report) “This report presents the results of our geotechnical investigation and levee analysis for the City of Burlington and Dike District 12 Levee Certification Project located in Burlington, Washington. The purpose of this geotechnical investigation was to evaluate the existing levees and provide geotechnical engineering recommendations regarding improvements to the existing levees and constructing new levees. The levee is to provide flood protection to the city of Burlington and nearby areas from a 1 00-year flood event of the Skagit River. A further purpose of the improvements will be to receive accreditation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).”
12/16/2009 Burlington e-mail re FEMA Press release re Preliminary Flood Maps The comments in the press release certainly do present a question of the appearance of fairness and a conflict of interest.
12/17/2009 Burlington e-mail, re: new flood heights “I am looking at our Burlington maps, and comparing them to the Corps’ work product submittal to FEMA back in 2008, after the Flo-2d issues were sorted out, and after Ted adjusted the hydrology for the USGS historic floods, and adjusted his peak to one-day flow ratios. What I am seeing, is base flood elevations 1-2 feet higher than the previous output – about 1 foot higher generally on the east side of town, to 2 feet higher on the west side, closer to the freeway.  For example, the previous version had the Cascade Mall at 34.5 feet. Now that is 36.7 feet. The first floor level of the mall is 31 feet.
1/4/2010 Series of e-mail exchanges re meeting with FEMA FEMA will propose the vague series of open houses where they cannot get nailed on the issues, so we might want to consider a forum or two where they are tied into being forced to give answers that can be recorded: such as “we are confident and right” and “you have to appeal and you are screwed anyway”.
1/12/2010 Burlington e-mail re potential technical conference in DC I think we have a window of opportunity here to address the foundational issue in this period before FEMA reissues the maps. The arc of this story is: if we can get the hydrology corrected, then the general atmosphere of frustration and ambivalence about the GI study could be changed to enthusiastic support. And that could make an eventual regional flood project possible. We might not be successful in this effort. But I think now is the time to push, and push hard. I am not seeing a better opportunity in the future.
1/21/2010 Request for Technical Conference to Resolve Skagit River Hydrology to FEMA We would like an opportunity for both FEMA's experts and our experts to sit in the same room, dedicate the uninterrupted and focused time necessary to go through the information, explain and discuss the technical arguments, defend technical positions, and then work together through all of the individual components of the analysis, point by point, to reach agreement.
2/2/2010 State Legislators Request Technical Conference of the Corps of Engineers “Recent discussions between Skagit County, Mount Vernon, Burlington and Dike District staff with senior Civil Works and Corps of Engineers executives raised the possibility that an expert technical panel/conference could be convened ahead of the milestone Feasibility Scoping Meeting set for the Skagit General Investigation Study this year. Local jurisdictions have committed to help pay travel and per diem expenses for Corps of Engineers experts and other independent experts participating in the conference.” 
2/2/2010 State Legislators Request Technical Conference of FEMA Mitigation Directorate “We are writing to urge your support to convene a technical conference March 17-18 in Washington D.C. to exchange information and defend technical positions regarding the Skagit River hydrology, focusing in particular on the historic flood events. The purpose of this conference would be to resolve the Skagit hydrology issue if possible; but if not, build a knowledge base among FEMA's technical experts and staff about the issue.”
2/12/2010 Request for Technical Conference to Resolve Skagit River Hydrology to Congressman Larsen “We have formally requested FEMA convene a 2-day technical conference March 17-18 in Washington D.C. to consider the Skagit River hydrologic analysis, with a specific emphasis on determining the nature of the historic floods of 1921, 1917, 1909, and 1897. So far, FEMA has listened but taken no action. We are requesting your office's involvement to facilitate convening such a conference. We believe this request is consistent with the spirit and intent of FEMA's policy of working with local communities. Further, the situation with the Skagit hydrology is unique, and merits a special focus that this technical conference would provide.”
2/25/2010 Burlington Response to USGS Refusal to Attend Technical Conference “I am not an expert here but as I understand it, the criticism is that the model cannot accurately determine the water surface levels through the Dalles Gorge. Again, I am not an expert, but I must say that this criticism completely misses the point.”
3/11/2010 PIE Technical Memorandum re: Review and Reevaluation of Skagit River 1921 Flood Peak Discharge, March 2010 Document submitted to technical review committee in Washington DC.
3/17/2010 PIE PowerPoint Presentation Skagit River Reevaluation of 1921 Flood Peak Discharge Presentation given in D.C. by PIE on issues with Stewart's datum and calculations of slope-area computations of the Skagit at The Dalles just south of Concrete, WA.
3/23/2010 Mr. Stewart Goes to Washington Round 2 A detailed account of the latest meeting with Washington D.C. officials.
7/8/2010 Final Environmental Impact Statement/FEIS To Adopt A Strategic Program for Comprehensive Flood Hazard Mitigation in the Burlington Urban Area and Adjacent Land With A Range of Structural and Non-Structural Components Over 3.5 million square feet of commercial and industrial construction and over 1400 dwelling units have been built between 1995 and 2008, based on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) adopted in 1985. Only 216 acres of vacant land are available within the City Limits. Because of the growth since 1995, the need to protect the existing urban built environment against the Base Flood is very important for the economic vitality of the community.
9/3/2010 Trip Report, National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies, August 23-27, 2010 “Chal brought up his concern that to utilize the Scientific Review Panel would cost the local communities a lot of money, because a different kind of information package would be necessary to submit - a kind of a literature review that would guide the Scientific Review Panel through the information sources, issues, and sources documents. Doug said no: the only package that would be submitted would be the appeal package. No additional information would be allowed to be submitted to the Scientific Review Panel. And, no "consultation" would occur between the local communities and the Scientific Resolution Panel (Note: Chal forgot to ask: does this also mean that FEMA cannot provide further input to the Scientific Resolution Panel?). Both Doug and Roy emphasized: for the communities to give themselves the best possible shot during both the appeal process and the Scientific Review Panel process, the appeal needed to be submitted in accordance with Federal regulations, including new maps that are based on superior methodology and/or science that demonstrate FEMA's maps are wrong. The appeal documentation basically needs to show the new base flood elevations and then explain why those new elevations are superior to FEMA's.
3/03/2011 Reichhardt & Ebe Engineering Plans for Dike District 12 Levee Certification The current plans to certify Dike District 12 levees.

This document was submitted to the 2011 Skagit River GI  Scoping Efforts by the City of Burlington.
4/14/2011 Letter to Puget Sound Energy (PSE), RE: Baker Hydroelectric Project: Temporary Reservoir Drawdown Prior to a Skagit River Flood “At a recent briefing to update the Aquatics Working Group, Tetra Tech provided preliminary results indicating virtually no benefit to drawing down the Baker Project reservoirs in advance of a flood. This conclusion was arrived at due to an analytical approach constrained artificially by provisions of an outdated water control manual, the perceived necessity to continually generate electricity through the critical flood peak time period (Puget Sound Energy has already indicated its willingness to shut down generation during the Skagit river flood peak), and additional project outflow constraints contained within the license.
“We are concerned with this approach. What is needed in this critically important matter of public safety is a collaborative, responsible and responsive set of protocols that provide a straight-forward way to temporarily maximize the Project's ability to reduce flood damage.
...
“In summary, we are requesting the emphasis of the current study be redirected toward analyzing how to achieve the draw down as required under the settlement agreement, and zero project outflow during the critical few hours before and after a Skagit River flood peak, and developing specific protocols which contain provisions for an inclusive and collaborative decision-making process for imminent flood emergency reservoir draw down.”
4/20/2011 Letter to Skagit County Public Works Project Manager, re: Tetra Tech Briefing on the Article 107(c) Imminent Flood Drawdown Analysis “The current water control manual mandatory requirement to continuously release 5,000 cfs from Upper Baker, and recommendation to pass inflow from Lower Baker, is based on flood control operations assuming no more than 74,000 acre-feet of flood storage in Upper Baker will be available. The mandatory language in the water control manual is a tacit acknowledgement that 74,000 acre-feet of flood storage is inadequate to reduce project outflow to zero during a large Skagit basin flood event.”
6/1/2011 Update on Flood Control Provisions, with Emphasis on License Article 107(c) From the Perspective of the Local Communities 55-slide presentation submitted to FERC in D.C.  Slides 39-45 explain how drawdown would work with the Baker River Dams in the event of an imminent flood.

This document was submitted to the 2011 Skagit River GI  Scoping Efforts by the City of Burlington.
7/28/2011 Letter with City of Burlington, City of Mt. Vernon, City of Sedro-Woolley & Town of La Conner to Skagit County Government, Re: Review Comments, Puget Sound Energy's Preliminary Draft Report, "Reservoir Management Related to Imminent Flood Conditions" "Flood control is a federally authorized purpose of the Baker Hydroelectric Project. However, hydrologic analyses performed by the Corps of Engineers and Skagit County indicate the existing authorized 74,000 acre-feet of flood storage is not adequate to capture the basin's own 100-year event. About 140,000 acre-feet of flood storage is necessary for that. Therefore, in a medium-tolarge flood event, the Project will be forced to discharge water into the Skagit River peak flow, thereby increasing flood damage. License article 107(c) provides a mechanism for providing the additional necessary flood storage only when it is needed - in the event that a large Skagit River basin flood is imminent- in a way that also can be expected to protect aquatic resources."

This document was submitted to the 2011 Skagit River GI  Scoping Efforts by the City of Burlington.
8/10/2011 Skagit River General Investigation Study Scoping Meeting Comments - City of Burlington 34 slide presentation to the the 2011 Skagit River GI  Scoping Efforts by the City of Burlington.  Main focus is flood storage.

With additional Baker flood storage in place (139,000 AF in accordance w/ Baker advance drawdown targets), Skagit peak flow reduction will be 13,000 – 18,000 cubic feet per second.
“ – Reduces downstream surface water elevation 1.5 feet
“ – Coordination w/ downstream storage (40,000 – 60,000 acre-feet in the Nookachamps basin) reduces another 1.5 feet.
“•Similar reductions can occur from Ross storage and operation
“• At least 3-4 feet flood reduction in total.
11/10/2011 Baker Hydroelectric Project Imminent Flood Reservoir Drawdown: Why Drawing Down the Reservoirs In Advance of a Skagit Basin Flood Reduces Flood Risk, Improves Salmon Survival, and Increases Power Generation Updated 19 slide presentation with the benefits of flood protection, fish enhancement, and power generation.  The idea is to drawdown before an imminent flood to be able to stop outflow during the crest of flood events.  This strategy is to protect salmon eggs and hydropower capacity plus reduce amount of necessary dam storage in between flood events.
1/14/2013 Scoping Comments for Environmental Impact Statement; Gateway Pacific Terminal Project and the BNSF Custer Spur Modifications Project “First, we believe it appropriate that the Corps, the County, and DOE prepare a comprehensive, programmatic environmental impact statement to examine the Cherry Point Proposal, and other proposed terminals. ...
The existing BNSF Bridge over the Skagit River is a dated and failing structure. In 1995, the bridge was damaged in the November freshet to the extent that the bridge was unusable for train traffic.
“Agriculture is the top industry in Skagit County. According to the Washington State University, local farmers produce about $300 million worth of crops, livestock, and dairy products on approximately 100,000 acres of land. Over 90 different crops are grown in the County, including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, tulips, daffodils, pickling cucumbers, specialty potatoes, Jonagold apples, green peas, and vegetable seed. More tulip, iris, and daffodil bulbs are produced in Skagit County than in any other county in the U.S. Ninety-five percent of the red potatoes grown in the state of Washington are from Skagit County. Agriculture-dependent industries, including resource providers such as fertilizer and seed, agricultural equipment, and related businesses will also be impacted resulting from the loss of rail availability. In addition to food and fiber products, agriculture provides habitat for swans, snow geese, and dabbling ducks.” 

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Burlington Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Comments

Date Title Summary
02/26/2009 Arika Anderson Daniels

“Currently, this 2.5 acre property is under the jurisdiction of Skagit County and zoned as rural business.  When my family purchased the property in 1969 it was zoned commercial/industrial and in 1997, the zoning changed after 50 years to rural business. We have been working ever since to change the zoning back to its original designation of commercial/industrial.”

03/08/2009 Larry J. Kunzler

If the City is successful in someday achieving 100-year certified levees what will the cities policy be with respect to requiring development to be built to what elevation? 100 year flood levels or flat on the ground? The Final EIS should also identify by what means the city perceives are available to "provide incrementally greater protection" and what if any environmental impacts those perceptions would entail.

03/09/2009 Bob & Kathi Williams

The School District made the ill advised decision to purchase the property in question in spite of advice not to do so. It is prime farmland and h s been (for decades), and continues to be, in active production. To include this proposal as a part of a plan to protect Burlington from flooding is unfathomable. The classification of the land has no impact causing or preventing flooding. It does however, have the frightening potential to make an irreversible negative change our rural/agricultural community.

03/10/2009 Rick Major

By including in your plan some animal access culverts at highway crossings, you would be providing a safe alternative for small animals to cross under the roadways and another way to control flood movement though the corridor.

03/11/2009 United General Hospital

“If the dike plan being considered is the most effective answer to the flood dilemma of Burlington it would seem reasonable to co-ordinate that project with related planning and projects of the City of Sedro-Woolley, the Dike Districts, Skagit County as well as United and incorporate it into a more regional solution to the problem.”

03/12/2009 Jerry Burr

I am impressed with the work involved and answers they have come up with. With the exception of an addition by Burlington Planner Margaret Fleek that she refers to as switching. Appendix D. Maps Exhibit 4, It concerns switching zoning between land on Peterson road and land on Peacock Lane. When President Obama does this it's called redistribution of wealth. In this case I call it taking, as I own 10 acres in the affected switching area.

03/12/2009 Meeting Sign-In Sheet Attendees to the March 12, 2009 meeting on the DEIS.
03/13/2009 Gary T. Jones

“The cumulative impact of protecting Mount Vernon and Burlington Urban Growth Area as allowed by the common enemy doctrine will have impacts on other private and public entities which face a higher risk of levee failure if concurrent action is not taken to reduce the velocity and water surface elevation of a major flood. The Burlington DEIS does not identify a path to salt water for flood water avoided on the Burlington portion of the Skagit flood plain.”

03/13/2009 Haggen, Inc.

Briar owns and Haggen operates a grocery store located at 757 Haggen Drive, and Briar also owns several undeveloped commercial parcels in the immediate vicinity of the store. As a result, both entities have a vested interest in the business climate of Burlington and keep abreast of local planning issues. Haggen and Briar both support and applaud the City's and Dike District #12's decision to construct 100-year certified levees and other flood measures as necessary and appropriate to protect Burlington's urban area from flood hazards and stabilize base flood elevations in the long-term.

03/13/2009 Skagit County Government

“The only meaningful way to consider, analyze and balance these significant adverse impacts on the City's neighbors is to engage in a basin-wide planning process that involves and includes the jurisdictions and entities that are on the receiving end of these impacts, in a manner calculated to produce mutually agreeable, regionally applied mitigation measures and implementation solutions. For this reason, Skagit County is committed to the Corps' General Investigation process and our comprehensive flood planning efforts, which envision a holistic, basin-wide approach.”

03/13/2009 Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland

“Our comments at this time are narrowly focused on the proposed UGA expansion request to include approximately 30 acres of prime agricultural farmland within the corner of Pulver Road and Peterson Road for the Burlington Edison School District (B-ESD).”

03/13/2009 Washington State Department of Ecology

“Overall, the DEIS is lacking in detail and specificity regarding the impacts of enlarging existing levees and constructing new levees. Levees in Burlington and in the Lower Skagit Delta in general are major physical facilities that have major impacts. But it is unclear from the DEIS just what is being proposed.”

03/23/2009 Robert & Brenda Apter

“The best use of this property near Burlington Hill is for additional residential development. The Burlington School District had been interested in putting a new school in that area until it began to consider the Pulver Road area. In fact, the land near Burlington Hill is still a good site for a new school. While additional land would need to be acquired for such a school, discussions were previously held with developer John Ellis to make such an acquisition. John Ellis' property is now in foreclosure, which should allow the School District to acquire the land it needs at a bargain price. In addition, sharing the costs of utilities with a residential developer would benefit both the School District and our property.”

05/21/2009 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “FEMA did not define a floodway for Skagit River delta communities. The City of Burlington must therefore administer their floodplain ordinance in accordance with 44 CFR 60.3 (c) (10) which states: "no new construction, substantial improvements, or other development (including fill) shall be permitted within Zones Al-30 on the community's FIRM unless it is demonstrated that the cumulative effect of the proposed development, when combined with all other existing and anticipated development will not increase the water surface elevation of the base flood more than one foot at any point within the community.”
6/3/2009  Dike Districts 3 & 22 “Based on your confirmation that this is a programmatic EIS and that further environmental review will be done with notice to the Districts before permits and implementation of the plan, the Districts are not commenting further at this time.”  
6/8/2009 Skagit River System Cooperative

“The DEIS does not analyze the proposed action in the context of comprehensive basin wide flood damage reduction studies. The DEIS recognizes that flood control efforts by the City will likely need to be coupled with other actions under consideration to avoid impacts but provides no direct analysis.”

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City of Concrete

Date Title Summary

2/6/1961

Letter to the Corps from the City editor of the Concrete Herald

1961 letter to Corps from Concrete Herald editor re his opposition to Faber Dam site and his support of dredging.

4/9/2007 Town of Concrete Town Council Meeting Minutes A councilmember who disclosed having a father-in-law as a Puget Sound Energy employee says "all requirements had been met" for PSE to make modifications to Lower Baker Dam and its accompanying powerhouse - in spite of inadequate flood control.

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City Government of Mount Vernon Documents

Date Title Summary
5/14/1968 Mt. Vernon Public Library Ltr to Senator Magnuson Re: New Building Regulations “...We were informed that since the site is on a flood plain and 6 feet below the 50 year flood level all parts of the building, old and new, must be flood proofed in order that Federal funds by granted.”
6/19/1981 Mt. Vernon ltr to FEMA re Floodway Designation “If the designated floodway included all of our existing dikes, would we be able to maintain the dikes, repair the dikes or increase the dikes as needed or would we be precluded from doing so by including them in the designation?”
6/16/1988 Letter to Corps re flood project just for Mt. Vernon The City of Mt. Vernon requested the Corps come to a meeting to discuss the feasibility of a flood project just for Mt. Vernon.
9/22/1988 Letter to Corps re request to reactivate 1979 Levee Project The City of Mt. Vernon requested the Corps to reactivate the 1979 Levee Improvement Project.

8/20/2007

Ltr to Mark Carey, FEMA Region X Director of Mitigation Division, Re: USGS August 13, 2007 presentation on Stewart hydrology revision

Letter from Esco Bell, Mt. Vernon Public Works Director, requests "FEMA review the submittals made by the Cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington related to the Smith House and by-pass channel at The Dalles."

2/28/2008 Cultural Resources Assessment for the Mount Vernon Downtown Flood Protection Project

Cultural Resource Consultants, Inc. takes a look at the history of downtown Mount Vernon in preparation for the city's flood protection project.  Excellent research on the history of Skagit County.

5/5/2008 City of Mount Vernon Flood Management Efforts

11 slide PDF of Public Works Director Presentation to Skagit County Flood Control Zone District Technical Committee.

6/11/2008 City of Mount Vernon Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan June 11, 2008 Presentation

City Government of Mount Vernon's plan to spend $18 Million via various methods of self-taxation to take the historic downtown out of the FEMA 100-year floodplain.

8/12/2008 Letter Re: City of Burlington and Dike District #12 Determination of Significance “The City of Mount Vernon is also impacted by Skagit River flooding and concerned with the future changes in base flood elevations resulting from the revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps. It is extremely important for the cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington and the dike districts to continue to work closely together on proposed flood protection measures and ensuring that the correct hydraulic modeling and data are utilized for the purpose of analyzing flood protection measures and for determining base flood elevations in a 100-year flood event.
12/17/2008 Figure 4 of Report on Mount Vernon Flood Protection Project Geotechnical Assessment, Mount Vernon Washington

Most of West Mount Vernon is lahar deposits.

02/2009 Submission to FEMA of the City of Mount Vernon's Request for a Conditional Letter of Map Revision

The Applicant includes two requests: 1) submittal of a project design and engineering analysis to substantiate a request to change the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) in the historic downtown Mount Vernon area and 2) submittal of a Skagit River Basin hydrology analysis for review as an alternative to the hydrology that FEMA is currently using for the ongoing restudy.

04/16/2009 Legislative Letter to Mayor Norris

Regrettably, Mount Vernon's specific concerns were not brought forward while the bill was in the House.  Further, your concerns did not lead to an amendment in the Senate. We have been working together since you raised concerns, but have ultimately been unable to come to agreement on language that will address your situation while maintaining the base intent of the bill to prohibit expansion into floodplains by cities which have other options available.

6/30/2009 Letter Re: FEMA Review (CLOMR) of the Mount Vernon Downtown Flood Protection Project “The City and its engineers have worked with FEMA for the past several years and more recently within the past 12 months, to insure that the City is following the appropriate steps and process in order to design a flood protection project that can remove downtown Mount Vernon from the 100-year flood plain. FEMA's refusal to take action places Mount Vernon in harm's way for the next flood. Considering the amount of time and effort that the City has put forth in concert with FEMA, FEMA's position is outrageous and insulting.” (See also 2/2009 Submission to FEMA of the City of Mount Vernon's Request for a Conditional Letter of Map Revision)
7/14/2009 Letter to FEMA Re: FEMA's suspension of the City of Mount Vernon, Washington's Conditional Letter of Map Revision ("CLOMR") Request - City's Reply “Mount Vernon maintains that FEMA has ... adopted new rules without notice or opportunity to comment by instituting additional requirements or "steps" outside the rulemaking process. These "steps" include (i) requiring the City to wait for federal processes, one of which is beyond FEMA's control and authority (i.e. FEMA's own FIS and the USACE GI process), (ii) a requirement that the City consider in its CLOMR request all potential flood protection measures along the Skagit River no matter how remote or speculative so long as they are a part of the US ACE GI, and (iii) a requirement that the City obtain consensus with other communities beyond its jurisdiction to solve all matters related to flooding along the river in one comprehensive CLOMR in order to ensure that its own CLOMR is reviewed.”
7/15/2009 Presentation to Mt. Vernon City Council on CLOMR 40-slide presentation by Mt. Vernon City Attorney Kevin Rogerson as well as Pacific International Engineering (PIE) on why FEMA should approve the CLOMR request.
7/16/2009 Congressional Delegation Response to June 30 Letter “As your federal representatives we remain committed to helping local communities in Skagit Valley find a comprehensive and system-wide approach to flood control. Continued communication between the communities and federal agencies responsible for elements of flood control studies and projects is vital for continued progress toward protecting life and property throughout the river system.”
7/23/2009 City of Mount Vernon Complaint Against Federal Emergency Management Agency

“Mount Vernon has a right to have its CLOMR request addressed on its merits alone, and cannot be dependent upon the diligence, quality or level of technical expertise of other jurisdictions for a protracted and undefined period of time. Mount Vernon cannot be dependent upon the mere possibility of future flood projects that are remote and speculative. By way of example, one study cited by FEMA is not yet completed; has been ongoing for twelve years; has produced no recommended measures; and, is not currently funded for completion.”

8/17/2009 Press Release: City of Mount Vernon Withdraws Complaint Against FEMA

“Since the filing of the action, Mount Vernon has been in continuous communication with FEMA through the agency’s attorneys. Following dismissal of the City’s action, the City understands that FEMA will continue to work on the CLOMR application; review information submitted by the City to date as well as any new information submitted by the City in the future should further information be requested; and, provide technical assistance to the City regarding the CLOMR request.”

10/2009 Report from the Mayor “The City's elected officials and staff feel an urgent sense of responsibility to our community to reduce flood risk using every means at our disposal.  This Project should not be delayed.  Without a viable permanent flood project, Downtown Mount Vernon continues to face severe flooding during every major flood event.” 

See also: 10/8/2009 Letter to City of Mount Vernon, WA Requesting More Data for CLOMR, “On the basis of the information submitted to date, we have identified additional data needed to process this CLOMR.”
8/24/2010 Conditional Letter Of Map Revision/CLOMR for Mount Vernon Floodwall “Because the updated hydrologic/hydraulic analyses completed as part of the preliminary FIS report and FIRM reflect improved methods and analyses, the submitted duplicated preliminary FLO-2D hydraulic computer model, dated July 14,2010, was used as the base conditions model in our review of the proposed conditions model for this CLOMR request. We believe that, if the proposed project is constructed as shown on "Skagit River Levee System, City of Mount Vernon - Downtown Flood Protection Project," prepared by Pacific International Engineering, dated January 30, 2009, and the data listed below are received, the floodplain boundaries of the base flood will be delineated as shown on the annotated FIRM (COE 2008 Hydrology Inundation Map, Post-Project Condition), prepared by Pacific International Engineering, dated January 4, 2010.
2/28/2011 Minutes from the Special Joint Meeting on the FEMA FIRM Appeal “There was a general discussion regarding the FEMA appeal process with outside Council Scott Shapiro, attorney from Downey Brand. The procedures for initiation of and follow through of the Administrative Appeals process were reviewed.”
See also: Video of 2011-02-28 Mount Vernon, Burlington, Sedro-Woolley & LaConner Joint Meeting on FIRM Appeal,
 7/12/2011 State Auditor's Office Exit Item: OPMA: Special Meeting Minutes
3/28/2011 01 - Cover Letter of FEMA FIRM Appeal Signed by Burlington & Mount Vernon Mayors “The Cities have brought this appeal as a result of a voluminous amount of compiled data and scientific study gathered over the years by the local communities. As set forth by the appeal, such work clearly demonstrates that FEMA's rFIS and rDFIRM are scientifically and technically incorrect as defined in FEMA regulations. As a result of the studies presented on appeal, new more accurate floodplain mapping has been included based on better quality and quantity of information, better and more accurate assumptions and more appropriate methods.”
3/29/2011

02 - Summary Report: Appeal of the Revised Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (rDFIRM) and Revised Flood Insurance Study (rFIS) For Skagit County, Washington, dated July 1, 2010 and Submittal to the Scientific Resolution Panel by the Cities of Burlington and Mt. Vernon, Washington

“It is critically important to note how statistically unlikely the USGS peak discharge estimates are. When the USGS’ four historic peak discharges are applied to the systematic record, the statistical anomalies are obvious. As indicated in the attached documentation, there is only a one in 769 chance that four events, the size estimated by USGS for 1897, 1909, 1917, and 1921, could occur in a 25 year period in light of the 86 year systematic record. ... In addition, FEMA and its contractor, the USACE, misapplied the hydraulic methodology; utilized insufficient and poor-quality data; and included measurement errors in its data and modeling, all of which resulted in BFE’s that are technically incorrect.”
3/2011

03 - Technical Report - Supporting Data and Analysis for Skagit River RFIS Appeal Prepared For: City of Burlington, City of Mount Vernon, City of Sedro-Woolley and Town of La Conner

“PI Engineering believes that the revised BFEs are scientifically and technically incorrect due to the following reasons:
  1. Historic flood data and one major flood in the systematic record included in the flood frequency determinations were incorrectly estimated and led to severe overestimation of flood peaks, and
  2. Inconsistent levee methodology and poor-quality topographic data were used in the hydraulic analysis.”
3/10/2011

04 - Probability Estimates for Historical Flood Events and Recorded Floods

“The USACE 100-year flood estimate (278,000 cfs) exceeds the largest recorded flood by 35%. Considering the record length is nearly 90 years, the 100-year estimate appears to be very high.”
3/29/2011

05 - Pacific Survey & Engineering Professional Opinion of Methodology and Results of Upper Dalles Gauge Calibration Survey Performed by James E. Stewart (1922-1923)

“In conclusion, based on a full review of the information provided to me by the City of Burlington for this analysis, and without additional field notes or records from USGS regarding these early surveys, I find no reason to disagree with Stewart's 1923 HWM elevation at the Wolf Residence as 184.54' (1917 USGS datum). Without supporting documentation to the contrary, there is a strong likelihood that the disqualification of the basis for Stewart's 1923 work could cause discrepancy in the mathematics behind the flood analysis used to prepare the most recent FIRM map(s) in this region. The differences between the " Original" gauge elevation and the "New" gauge elevation alone provide enough uncertainty to warrant a new or modified analysis and certainly disclose apparent weaknesses and gaps in the processes, methodologies, and results of the flood predictions in the Skagit River basin.”
3/29/2011

06 - Cities of Burlington and Mount Vernon Reply to USGS May 6, 2010 Memo

“Stating that “the only area of uncertainty” is the linkage of datum from this gage to its predecessor gage infers this critical and essential first step in establishing the new gage datum is somehow not important if all subsequent records refer to the current gage datum. This is simply not true. The transfer of the gage datum from Stewart’s Upper Dalles gage to the existing gage location 330 feet downstream is the essential and single most important action that should have been carefully documented by the USGS when the new gage was established.”
3/30/2011

07 - Cities of Burlington and Mount Vernon Reply to FEMA Evaluation of Flood Frequency Analyses for the Skagit River, Skagit County, Washington

HWMs being High Water Marks... “The USGS has incorrectly applied all HWMs in all of its calculations, by incorrectly assuming these HWMs at the slope sections represented the mean water surface elevations. This assumption is incorrect. We have determined these HWMs are more representative of the energy grade line elevations, based on the USGS velocity measurements at the cableway located upstream of XS3. The USGS has made this incorrect assumption in all of its studies in the slope sections, including the 2005 and 2007 reevaluation studies, and the 1949 n-value verification study.”
3/29/2011

08 - Memorandum RE Legal and Procedural Issues by Cities of Burlington & Mt. Vernon

Legal arguments presented by the City Attorneys of Burlington & Mount Vernon are:
  1. “FEMA Has Failed to Comply With NEPA”
  2. “FEMA Has Engaged in Imperssible Rule Making”
  3. “FEMA Has Failed to Adequately Consult with Appellants.”
  4. “Arbitrary and Capricious Action.”
  5. “Violation of Due Process Rights”
  6. “Appellants Requests that FEMA Utilize Different Methodologies As Promised by FEMA Prior to A Final Determination As Required under FEMA Regulations Providing Adequate Consultation.”
6/1/2011 City Government of Mount Vernon: Mount Vernon receives State funding of $1,981,000 for the Downtown Mount Vernon Flood Protection and Revitalization Project, Phase 2 “The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program grant of $781,000 and the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account grant of $500,000 will help fund the Skagit Riverwalk Phase 2 project that includes a 24-foot wide pedestrian walkway adjacent to the Skagit River, between the Division Street Bridge and Kincaid Street.”
7/12/2011 State Auditor's Office Exit Item: OPMA: Special Meeting Minutes “The City held a Special Meeting on February 28, 2011 regarding the appeal for the FEMA flood elevation map. A quorum of City Council members was present during the meeting in which discussion took place addressing the business of the City. According to state law (RCW 42.30 and RCW 42.32), this meeting meets the definition of a meeting, requiring meeting minutes. At the time of audit, minutes were not prepared and made available for public inspection.
See also: Video of 2011-02-28 Mount Vernon, Burlington, Sedro-Woolley & LaConner Joint Meeting on FIRM Appeal, 2/28/2011 Minutes from the Special Joint Meeting on the FEMA FIRM Appeal
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 8/29/2012
MVSD ltr of support for Mt. Vernon floodwall

Dike District #3 Support ltr for Mt. Vernon floodwall.

EDASC ltr of support.

MV Chamber of Commerce ltr of support.

Port of Skagit ltr of support

Skagit Valley College ltr of support

SCOG ltr of support

Skagit Regional Health ltr of support

SCBCC ltr of support.
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Mt. Vernon form letters of support for their floodwall.  Embarrassing.
12/12/2012 City of Mount Vernon Letter RE: Scoping of Proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal Project In addition, Mount Vernon is located along the banks of the Skagit River. There is a substantial and well-documented risk of flooding. River flooding has the potential to cripple key infrastructure, transportation, water, residential areas, and farmland as well as injure life and property. Thus, Mount Vernon not only provides public safety services needed to respond to typical emergency medical services but also provides resources, materials and volunteers all which need to be quickly mobilized along the Skagit River to assist in mitigation of river flooding. In the event flooding is imminent, for example a levee breach occurs; Mount Vernon's emergency plan includes evacuation of citizenry to higher ground. In such an event, time is critical.
...
The City spent a great deal of effort and capital on the revitalization of its downtown and envisions significant redevelopment over the next 5-10 years.”
12/16/2012 Benjamin S. Drake, ASB Vice President, Mt. Vernon High School ltr of support This is the only letter of support that was sincere and written without the help of a form letter.  This young high school student deserves a strong round of applause and could teach the other letter of support writers how to write a meaningful letter.
2013 Mt. Vernon Top Legislative Priorities In conjunction with the Association of Washington Cities, the City of Mount Vernon encourages the legislature to address public records abuses that drive up local costs but do not enhance the public's right to know.

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City Government of Sedro-Woolley

Date Title Summary
1/4/2013 City Administrator Letter, Re: Proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal Project “Additionally, the BNSF Skagit River bridge has been declared a public safety hazard by the Sedro-Woolley City Council due to its past failures and current jeopardy during any Skagit River high water events. As explained below, it is expected the main line, including at-grade crossings leading to Sedro-Woolley and the BNSF Skagit River Bridge, will be utilized to serve the Project. In addition, a portion of Sedro-Woolley is located along the banks of the Skagit River and a significant area of the City is expected to be impacted in flood events. There is a substantial and well-documented risk of flooding. It is also well known and documented that the BNSF Skagit River Bridge has had and could have a significant impact on the effects of any particular flood event including backing water up the River to the east and/or in a total failure scouring the River to the west causing catastrophic loss of life and property. We believe additional freight traffic on this failed bridge could exacerbate the risks of another failure during high water events and specifically ask that the replacement of this bridge be included in the scope of the EIS for this project. ... Based on the aforementioned concerns, the City respectfully requests that the EIS carefully consider in its scope the regional impacts of this proposal beyond Whatcom County including impacts to the City of Sedro-Woolley.”
7/2/2013 City of Sedro-Woolley Notice of Appeal “The Hearing Examiner erred by not requiring, as a condition of permit approval, additional studies to show the effects of the proposed project on the City of Sedro-Woolley, and also not requiring any additional protective measures designed to eliminate, or at least ameliorate, the concerns raised by the City of Sedro-Woolley. In addition, the Examiner erred by finding that the project will not interfere with or prejudice the GI study (Finding #24).”
See Also: Dike District 12 Levee Substantial Development Permit Issues Page

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Dike District 12 Shoreline Substantial Development Permit Documents

Date Title Summary
1/30/1991
NEW
Dept. of Community Development Letter to DD12 re Flood Permits “Your flood damage repair project activities are subject to compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). ... It is the responsibility of the applicant to comply with all local regulations and to pursue the request for the permits required.
5/2/1997 Exhibit 20: Skagit Surveyors & Engineers Benchmark Certifications for Halverson Survey of flood heights during 1995 flood event in Nookachamps/Sterling area.
7/8/2010 Exhibit 6A: Enlargement from SEPA Final EIS 7/8/10 by City of Burlington Enlarged maps of City of Burlington hydrology projections.
3/3/2011 Exhibit 4: Site Plans for DD12 Levee Improvements 11 pages of structural plans of Dike District 12's Levee Certification improvements.
6/14/2012 Exhibit 2: DD12 Shoreline Substantial Development Permit Application “This project and application is submitted by Skagit County Dike, Drainage and Irrigation District No. 12. This Application for Permit is made for maintenance/elevation maintenance, repair, post-flood repair, backsloping, critical facility protection, installation of keyways, sheet pile walls, restoration, and to improve the existing Levee within Dike District 12 to conform to the plan, standards and specifications of the "City of Burlington and Dike District No. 12 Levee Certification Project."”
6/19/2012 Exhibit 3: Project Routing Form from Skagit County Assessor Skagit County Planning Routing Form, 2nd page lists parcels & tax account numbers.
6/20/2012 Exhibit 18: City Government of Burlington Planning Findings, Staff Report and Minutes “Public hearing on Shoreline Substantial Development permit for Dike District #12 for maintenance, elevation maintenance, repair, post-flood repair, backsloping, critical facility protection, installation of keyways, sheet pile walls, restoration and to improve the existing levee within the city limits of Burlington and Dike District #12 to conform to the plans, standards and specifications of the City of Burlington and Dike District # 12 Levee Certification.”
6/28/2012 Skagit County Planning Pre-Development Meeting Documentation Six pages of pre-development review. County staff wanted to, among other things, “determine if wells w/in 1000 ft could be impacted by flooding or water mounding.”  The Skagit County Floodplain Manager on page 5 noted, “Based on the information provided, a shoreline substantial development permit is required.”  On page 6, Skagit County Public Works noted, “a fill & grade permit will be required.”
7/9/2012 Exhibit 5: Skagit County Planning Notice of Development Application “Notice is hereby given that on July 9, 2012, Dike District No. 12 filed an application for a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit to increase the size of the existing dike between Gardner and Lafayette Road. Dike District No. 12 proposes to increase the height of the existing dike by 4 feet higher which would result in an increase of the base of the dike by approximately 60 feet. All improvement to the dike would extend landward of the existing dike and would not encroach into the currently existing riparian buffer of the Skagit River.”
11/8/2012 Exhibit 7: Wetlands Site Assessment: Dike District 12 Levee Certification “Graham-Bunting Associates (GBA) have conducted a site investigation and prepared the following assessment addressing regulated wetlands relative to levee modifications being proposed by Dike District 12. The report includes a characterization of existing conditions, project description, review of existing resource data sources, a summary of our investigative procedures and findings, wetland rating and mitigation recommendations consistent with Section 14.24.230 of the Skagit County Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO).”
12/28/2012 Exhibit 10: DeVries Dairy LP Comments “We object to the raising of the Dike Dist. #12''s dike by four feet, since in a flood event it will force additional water into the Nookachamps basin and cause greater damage than already occurs during a flood.”
12/28/2012 Exhibit 9: Dike District 20 Comments “The Commissioners of Dike District #20 hereby make known their opposition to the granting of the permit to Dike Distict #12 to raise their dike by four feet as proposed. We believe that Dike District #12''s raising their dike by four feet will result in additional water being forced into the Nookachamps Basin when a flood event occurs, thereby causing more damage than would occur without it.”
1/2/2013 E-mails between Skagit County Planning & Public Works on DD12's Levee Maintenance Permit Request “I thought it might be wise to inquire about your knowledge and the County's position on the proposed action.”
1/4/2013 Planning Dept ltr to John Semrau from John Cooper “As the proposed change in the dike configuration may result in hydraulic impacts on the south side of the River as well as the north, please provide hydraulic modeling the south side of the Skagit River including the Nookachamps basin.”
1/8/2013 E-mail to Skagit Planning fm John Semrau re review of modeling “The January 2012 report by nhc is on the CD under the subdirectory FCD AC Mtg.”
1/14/2013 Semrau ltr re Septic Decommission Site “...4 buildings need to be removed...”
1/25/2013 SES ltr to Planning Dept re Well Log Inventory “There were 16 wells log references found within 1000 feet of the project.”
2/27/2013 Exhibit 8: Fish and Wildlife Assessment by Graham Bunting for Dike District 12 Levee Certification “The proposed project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect. Puget Sound Chinook salmon. Chinook migrate through the action area as out migrating juveniles and returning adults, however the project will occur landward of the existing levee and is not anticipated to impact the riparian buffer zone beyond the existing baseline.

The Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance identifies the "Protected Review Area" as lands within the floodway, riparian habitat zone and the channel migration area. Although the project is not proposed for the floodway or channel migration area it is within the Riparian Habitat Zone which is defined as the area within 250 feet of all waters of the State (as defined under WAC 222-16-031) within the Special Flood Hazard Area.”
3/19/2013 Exhibit 37: Map of Dike/Drainage Assessment Document shows dike districts in adjacent area. Document unreadable.
See also: Skagit County Diking Districts Map
4/22/2013 Exhibit 12: Skagit Conservation District Letter, RE: Public Comment on Shorelines Permit Application PL12-0144  [Dike District 12 Levee Expansion] “While the public notice describes the proposed project as an “…extension of the levee maintenance project initiated by the City of Burlington …,” the project in fact represents a significant expansion of the levee system. Raising the levee will exacerbate flooding upstream in the Nookachamps at river flood stages that exceed the existing levee elevation.”
4/22/2013 Exhibit 11: Skagit County Public Works Skagit River General Investigation Project Manager Comment Letter The Skagit River General Investigation (G.I.) involves a basin-wide comprehensive approach to flood risk management. A preferred alternative has not been selected for the G.I. and therefore, from the G.I. perspective, it hasn't been determined how this proposal fits within that framework. Uniformity in levee heights, levee raises in place, and an increased level of protection for urban areas are currently being analyzed in the G.I. process.
4/23/2013 Exhibit 13: Dike District 20 Secretary ltr to Hearing Examiner “The increase in the height of the levee by 4 feet would certainly adversely affect the conditions in Dike District 20 by pushing more water into the Nookachamps Basin.” 
4/23/2013 Exhibit 14: Sedro Woolley City Attorney Letter to H/E “Project...will have the unintended consequence of backing the water onto SW properties, including the Sedro-Woolley Waste Water Treatment Plant and United General Hospital.”
4/24/2013 Exhibit 15: Concrete Nor'West support ltr to H/E Has Concrete Nor'West ever not supported a project that will make them money?
4/24/2013 Exhibit 30: Skagit County Hearing Examiner Notice of Public Hearing for 9 AM, Wednesday, April 24, 2013