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Summary

Hydrology Issues
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.

6/7/2004 USGS Response To Whitepaper In a feeble attempt to make the Stewart issue go away USGS Tacoma Office responded with this very poor letter responding to the original Stewart Whitepaper.  The comments made in this letter will be incorporated and answered in the Whitepaper update to be republished in July 2006.
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.
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.

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.

10/26/2006 USGS Response to Updated Whitepaper USGS makes it pretty clear that they are not going to change the Stewart figures no matter how incomplete or questionable Mr. Stewarts work product was.
11/2006 Ask the Angry Citizen: FEMA Region X - the Judas of the Pacific Northwest In December 2002 I and a lot of other people reviewed a draft copy of the Corps of Engineers Hydraulic Study of the Skagit River and had some concerns.  I was asked to give a presentation to the Skagit River Flood Control Advisory Committee about those concerns.
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.
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.
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.
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.
3/17/2014
NEW
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.”
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.

5/2/1918 James E. Stewart Reflector Bar Notes Stewart used a hand held level to determine that 1909 flood was largest of floods 1897, 1909 and 1917.  Also found evidence of much larger flood (1820) but was concerned it could have been caused by log or ice jams below Reflector Bar (Town of Diablo.) Flood was actually caused by jam in Diablo Canyon upriver from Stewart measurements.  See 3/5/1936 C.H.
8/1918 Stewart Report This is a very significant report that USGS wants to ignore as a draft.  There is no evidence this was a draft report.  It was written and submitted to USGS 5 years before Stewart's 1923 report.  All of the reported flood flows are significantly lower then what Stewart reported in 1923.  This report is never referred to by Stewart or USGS.  Further evidence 1820 flood was due to debris dam breaking by Indians saying flood came "very quick".
8/12/1918 Stewart Report Appendix This appendix is significant due to the fact that Stewart spends a lot of time talking about the 1820 flood.  Also, and most important, it has a picture of very poor quality, showing his observed flood marks.  Why this is significant is that it shows Stewart used a camera in 1918 to justify his work product.  He did not do so or at least there is no evidence he did so for his 1923 report.  It goes to the issue of the quality of his work product as mentioned by Dr. Jarrett, USGS, 2004.  See Review & Comments of "Draft Evaluation of Flood Peaks Estimated by USGS" by Robert D. Jarrett, Ph.D., USGS, National Research Program below.
1922/1923 James E. Stewart First Half of 1922/1923 Field Notebook First half of field observations recorded by James E. Stewart 1922/1923

See Also: James E. Stewart Second Half of 1922/1923 Field Notebook
1922/1923 James E. Stewart Second Half of 1922/1923 Field Notebook Second half of field observations recorded by James E. Stewart 1922/1923

See Also: James E. Stewart First Half of 1922/1923 Field Notebook
9/16/1922 James E. Stewart Reflector Bar Notes Stewart, 4 years later, returns to Reflector Bar (Town of Diablo).  At one point Stewart determines the 1909 and 1921 flood was the same however based on the assumption of where he found a "drift log" ultimately decides 1909 flood was higher.  Interesting in that he references a measurement he made in 1918 to justify his conclusion.

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.

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
11/16/1922 Letter to Skagit County re Stewart River Study USGS "details" Stewart to Skagit County to determine flow of 1921 flood so long as Skagit County would pay his salary and expenses.  Interesting in that technically this made Stewart an agent of Skagit County since he was being paid directly by Skagit County and in the fact that the letter indirectly recognized the 1918 report produced by Stewart which as previously stated arrived at much lower flood flows then did his 1923 report which begs the question, was he wrong in 1918 or was he wrong in 1923?
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

5/5/1923 James E. Stewart Memorandum to Frank Davis Requested Mr. Davis to gather flood information for him.  Offered to pay Davis for the information.   Important to remember that Stewart left Washington State in March 1923.  Stewart "estimated" the gage height at Reflector Bar from marks he found at The Dalles.  Felt that marks in The Dalles were the result of the "maximum flood" in the "last few thousand years".  Clear from this memo that he was concentrating on the 1856 and 1815 flood events.
5/5/1923 James E. Stewart Memorandum to Judd Stewart admits that he "accomplished very little last September" while at Reflector Bar.  Further admits that he determined "1820" flood from marks at The Dalles.  States 1856 flood did not cover Reflector Bar (Town of Diablo).  Requested information from Judd (Seattle City Light employee) including the age of the trees on Reflector Bar and indication of "flood sand".  Admitted difficulty in determining flood sand from decomposed rock.  Stewart did not know the elevation of Reflector Bar at the gage nor the "slope of the bench downstream" of the gage.  No indication in record that Mr. Judd ever responded to this memorandum.
5/23/1923 James E. Stewart ltr to Frank Davis Stewart was comparing temperature and precipitation records.  They "did not work out well for the flood of 1917" and he requested Mr. Davis' help.  The information he had "would not have been logical for a flood to have occurred in 1917".  Stewart stated, "It may be that at some time an enormous snow slide dammed the canyon between Ruby and Reflector Bar and then broke loose.  Such an occurrence would check with the old Indian tradition of a flood about 1820 that came unexpectedly in the night and so quick they hardly escaped."  (See  3/5/1936 C.H. and James E. Stewart Field Notes.)  Stewart was living at 14 Wood Street, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. 
5/31/1923 Frank Davis ltr to James E. Stewart Frank Davis "found no evidence of flood sand above 22 feet" at Reflector Bar.
6/21/1923 Joe Hart ltr to James E. Stewart Hart states, "The winter floods previous to the Spring flood of 1894 was about 2 feet higher, but they were never as high, and no indication of them being so, excepting the one big flood the Indians tell about.  The winter floods since that time (1894) were always higher.  The more they diked the river close to it the higher the floods have been."
7/6/1923 James E. Stewart ltr to Frank Davis Frank Davis owned a ranch below Reflector Bar (Town of Diablo) which is currently underwater adjacent to the Highway 20 Bridge that crosses Gorge Lake.  This letter shows us that Stewart used a hand-held level to determine his flood elevations and he had "no way of checking his data".  He relied upon the data collection of others and "averaged" their results with his own.
8/22/1923 James E. Stewart ltr to T. H. Judd Stewart by this time a "civilian" not a government agent, (why the USGS address appears on this letter is a mystery, See Page 1 of notations taken from field notes regarding Skagit River Flood Level), admits that his previous figures are inaccurate.  Shows he relied on others to collect his "data"Estimate of discharge could be in error as much as 20%, no indication how he arrived at that figure.  Estimate of discharge based on "wave crest" which are in excess of the way USGS would compute them.  Letter shows that at best his study was incomplete as late as August 1923.
11/1923

James E. Stewart Report

The flood flow figures given in this report are significantly different then those in Stewart's 1918 report.  Also, these figures are not supported by local historical newspaper accounts of the flood events.  See 12/22/21 CT and 12/31/21 C.H.

The first page of the Stewart notes is significant because it shows that as of March 17, 1923 Mr. Stewart was no longer in Washington State but was in Pennsylvania.  When both pages of notes are transcribed they show the inconsistency of Stewarts measurements and estimates when compared to his field notebook and his final report.

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
5/4//1925 James E. Stewart Letter to G.L. Parker Stewart did not have any more of the report ready for typing.  This document is a strong indication that Stewart submitted additional "data" to USGS after his submission of the October -- November 1923 report.  Stewart hypothesized that "for many, if not practically all, of the steep sloped streams the Survey (USGS) records for maximum flood discharges are too low, except where they are based on discharge curves, the upper extensions of which were derived from area and mean velocity curves."  . . .  I have brought this feature up at this time because I believe that the Skagit River flood discharge at The Dalles can better be determined by an extension of the rating curve with the use of area and mean velocity curves based on the highest convenient .2 and .8 depth measurements than by attempting than by attempting extreme high flood measurements."  Stewart also admitted that his roughness coefficient figures used in The Dalles needed "checking".  
1929 Selected pages of USGS 1929 Water Supply Paper This WSP shows us that Mr. Parker, Stewart's supervisor, published Stewart's 1923 flows for The Dalles but used Stewart's 1918 flows for the Sauk and Baker Rivers.  Mr. Bodhaine did the same thing in 1961 for WSP 1527.  You can't get to Stewart's 1923 flows by using the 1918 data.
10/31/1936 Letter to Skagit County re Dalles Gage Letter documents the importance USGS gives the gage data at The Dalles Bridge.
1/27/1943 Stewart "Forward" This document shows us that a private citizen used his work product bought and paid for by Skagit County as the basis for his submittal to USGS.
4/2/1946 Stewart Letter to Eisenlohr re work to be done on Skagit River This letter clearly shows that 23 years after Stewart submitted his report that even he felt that additional work had to be done.  The most significant work according to Stewart was the proper determining of the "N" factor (roughness coefficient) at The Dalles.  Stewart did not recommend proceeding without additional field work.
4/22/1949

Letter to Skagit County re importance of Dalles Gage

Letter documents the importance of the gage at The Dalles in Concrete.
12/5/1949 USGS Letter to Skagit County Engineer, Re: Datum of Concrete Gauge "The datum of the present gage is 12.7 feet lower than that of the gage used in determining gage heights given in Water-Supply Paper 612 and "Stewart's Report" for the major floods prior to that of Feb. 27, 1932.  Perhaps it should be noted that the gage to which the earlier floods was referred was some 200 or 300 feet upstream from the present gage and the fall between the two sites for the stages mentioned is not known."

See also: 3/17/2010 PIE PowerPoint Presentation Skagit River Reevaluation of 1921 Flood Peak Discharge, 10/25/2010 LJK Presentation: Low Low Water in Puget Sound vs. Mean Sea Level, 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), 3/29/2011 Cities of Burlington and Mount Vernon Reply to USGS May 6, 2010 Memo,

2/1/1950 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.”

6/1/1950 Stewart Letter to Veatch re work to be done on Skagit River 27 years after Stewarts Report his "N" factor has not yet been checked for The Dalles. 
11/15/1950 Riggs & Robinson Proposed Revisions to Stewart Flood Calculations USGS at The Dalles determines that Stewart's "n" factor is too low and he did not account for changes in velocity.  Suggested lowering of all of Stewarts flood flow figures.  1921 flood flow lowered 30,000 cfs.
1/25/1951 Flynn Proposed Revisions to Stewart Flood Calculations USGS at Sedro-Woolley determines that Stewarts figures for flood flows are too high and suggest that 11/15/50 report at The Dalles might also still be too high.  Sterling cut-off in 1911 a major player in S-W flood flow analysis.
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.
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 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
5/5/1952 USGS Slope Area Measurement of Skagit River Near Concrete for December 13, 1921 flood computed by M.A. Benson USGS employee computes slope area measurement for 1921 flood event.  Used "n" factor of .030.  Used only one section of The Dalles.  Flow estimated at 225,000 cfs for Dec. 13, 1921 flood.
8/1952 Flynn & Bensen Revisions to Flynn 1/25/51 Revisions USGS admits that "n" factor was computed by Stewart at S-W and used at The Dalles.  Assumes no change in The Dalles between 1921-1949.  Determined overflow areas downstream of gage could be a factor in gage readings.  Now thinks 11/15/50 estimates too low.
1/28/1953 Veatch Ltr to Wells Tacoma District requested DC grant $1,000 for completion of Stewart Report.  Adjusting for inflation that would be equivalent to $7,300 in 2005 dollars.  Letter admits that a lot of "work" was done on the Stewart Report by the DC office by Eisenlohr.  Report was sent to DC "several years ago".  (See 4/2/46 ltr from Stewart above.)
2/5/1953 Wells Ltr to Veatch Ltr admits that the basis for the Stewart Report was material Stewart gathered "about 30 years ago".  This would be same material Skagit County bought and USGS had no authority from Skagit County to print.
3/4/1953 Veatch Ltr to Wells Tacoma District states it has the Eisenlohr version that he had "shelved for a year or two".
6/17/1953 Handwritten note (HWN) to Larry from Bill re reporting of Mt. Vernon flood flows This document is either misdated or it shows us that it takes USGS 8 years to respond to direction.  In any event it shows Corps was considering using Riggs & Robinson 210,000 cfs for 1921 flood event.  (See 11/15/50 Riggs & Robinson Proposed Revisions to Stewart Flood Calculations)
8/1953 Handwritten Note to GLB from FV re assignment of report Veatch places completion of Stewart Report under the direct supervision of Bodhaine. 
8/21/1953 Memo to Veatch from Acting Chief Surface Water Branch, Re: Proposed Report on the floods of the Skagit river DC office grants $1,000 to Tacoma for completion of Stewart Report in fiscal year 1954.
1/12/1954 F. L. Hidaka Proposed Revisions to Stewart Flood Calculations USGS again recommends Stewart figures for S-W be computed downward.  States 1909 flood could have been as low as 165,000 cfs.  Long duration floods create same flood flows for S-W as Concrete.  1921 flood 200,000 cfs.
3/18/1954 Memorandum to Veatch (Tacoma) from Wells (Wash DC) re Skagit River Flood Report This document shows us that USGS Tacoma District was under pressure to publish the report that Bodhaine started in February, was allotted only $1,000 dollars to complete, and DC wanted the work "to be tailored" to fit "the available funds".
3/23/1954 Memorandum to Wells from Veatch re Status of Skagit River Report This letter, drafted by Bodhaine, list work not yet completed.  Included flood list and frequency curves, text and graphs of flood types and frequencies, and "obtain photo's of historic floods if available."
5/13/1954 G. L. Bodhaine Memorandum of Review re: Proposed Revisions to Stewart Flood Calculations USGS recomputed Stewart flows downward on all flood events.  1921 from 240,000 cfs to 225,000.  This would be of course an unregulated flow because no dams were in place in 1921.  However, what makes these computations suspect is that they used regulated flows of 1949 and 1951 to compute these figures.  No evidence in record that they attempted to unregulate the 1949 and 1951 flood flows.  Decided to throw out S-W figures as unreliable due to 1911 Sterling cut-off.  Admits that there are many possible errors in Stewart's/USGS computations.
7/2/1954 G. L. Bodhaine "Notes to Reviewers"

"#3.  We do not have funds to do any additional work on the flood frequency study.  That study is complicated by storage in the reservoirs so perhaps the most simple study is desirable."

"#5.  The high water profile is not very complete but it seemed that some sort of profile should be presented."

7/15/1954 Memorandum titled Skagit River at Sedro-Woolley, Wash., Historical Flood Peaks, signed by F.J. Flynn re no revisions to Stewart Figures "The ratings are complicated by lack of definition, building of dikes and overtopping of dikes and the unknown effect at high stages of the high stages of the Sterling Bend cut-off made in 1911."  Recommended using Stewart figures.
7/16/1954 Memorandum titled Skagit River at Concrete, Wash., Historical Flood Peaks, signed by F.J. Flynn re no revisions to Stewart Figures Used 1921 flow of 225,000 cfs and extended rating curve through 1815 flood.  Stated flood heights computed for historic floods are at a site 200 feet upstream and at same datum used Dec. 10th, 1924 and to Oct. 27, 1937.  "Prior to Dec. 10, 1924 staff gage at site 200 feet upstream at datum 12.7 feet higher."  Recommended using Stewart figures.
5/20/1956 USGS table listing flood events in order of their discharge at Concrete (Page 1, Page 2) Bodhaine changed Robinson figures to reflect Stewart flows.  Nothing in the record shows Bodhaine ever traveled to Skagit County.
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.”
1961 Stewart/Bodhaine Report 38 years after Stewart submitted his report USGS publishes it using Stewart's original flows. Strong evidence in record that they were out of financing and under pressure from Wash DC office to do so.
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)

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.
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
7/8/1964  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.”
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
9/29/1976 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.
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."
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.  "
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."
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
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.”
7/21/1978 Corps MFR re Hydraulic Studies "In the overflow areas; sheet-flow is indicated with a maximum depth of one foot.' . . . The 50-year tide at Skagit Bay is ponded 6' deep, compared to 8' at Padilla Bay.  . . . Vogler says that 100-year flood depth for an area upstream from Mt. Vernon has been lowered from 35 feet to 31 feet in our previous FIS.
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,
8/21/1978 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.
8/24/1978 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.
8/25/1978 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 routing slip re alternative 3B Values reported included 2 ft of freeboard and 1.8 ft maximum sediment allowance.
9/6/1978
NEW
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
NEW
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.
9/18/1978
NEW
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.
9/28/1978
NEW
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
NEW
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."
10/2/1978
NEW
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."
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.
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.
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 )

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.
7/12/1982 Summary Report for DEIS - Hydraulic Investigations: Cascade Mall at Burlington A 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.
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.
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
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.
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."
3/15/1993 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."
1995 Skagit Surveyors & Engineers 1995 Flood Elevations Elevations of the 1995 flood event in the Nookachamp-Sterling area during close to the peak of the flood event.

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.
1/5/2004

Corps 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.
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.
5/3/2004 USGS Investigations of Floods on the Skagit River USGS explains their methodology and research into Skagit River Basin historical flood flows.
6/7/2004 USGS Response To Whitepaper In a feeble attempt to make the Stewart issue go away USGS Tacoma Office responded with this very poor letter responding to the original Stewart Whitepaper.  The comments made in this letter will be incorporated and answered in the Whitepaper update to be republished in July 2006.
11/16/2004

Draft Evaluation of Flood Peaks Est. by USGS

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)
12/1/2004 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.
2/10/2005 Surface-Water Specialist Mark Mastin Letter to Skagit County Public Works Director Chal Martin USGS attempts to justify its interference with the "independent review" by Dr. Jarrett.
2/14/2005 Review & Comments of "Draft Evaluation of Flood Peaks Estimated by USGS" by Robert D. Jarrett, Ph.D., USGS, National Research Program This document was prepared in response to the County consultant PIE Draft Evaluation of USGS Flood Peaks. Dr. Jarrett makes many observations which could be used to support the argument that Stewart’s work product should be abandoned in favor of using the 87 years worth of gage records at The Dalles gage. Among them the following: “Stewart’s study of historical floods in the Skagit River basin had, by today’s standards short-comings, simplifications, incomplete documentation, no known photographic documentation, and took decades to review and complete the evaluation of flood hydrology for the Skagit River near Concrete.” Not exactly a glowing endorsement of Stewart’s work product.  Further, at page 3 he states, "I believe much of the uncertainty in the historical flood estimates that can be evaluated now resides in factors that likely may remain unknown (unless someone can find newspaper records, diaries, or other historical documents) and need to be evaluated."  Historical newspaper records have been located and were either not reviewed by Dr. Jarrett or were ignored by him.  See also Declaration of Fred W. Slipper.
8/2005 USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2005–5029 USGS in August 2005 decided not to revise James E. Stewart’s 1921 flood figures of an n value of 0.033 and a peak discharge of 240,000 ft3/s., even though finding a spread of “an n value of 0.024 and a peak discharge of 266,000 ft3/s” on the high side versus a low side of “an n value of 0.032 and a peak discharge of 215,000 ft3/s.”  Two years later, USGS reduces the peak discharge of 1921 to 228,000 cfs with an n value of 0.0315.

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.

1/12/2006 Flood Reduction Measures Workshop PowerPoint by Pacific International Engineering

PowerPoint discussing hydrology and the Nookachamps storage proposed project.

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.
4/2006 Ted Cook Writes the Angry Citizen Discussion about, among other things, hydrology.
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. 

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.
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.

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.

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.
11/1/2006 City of Burlington Letter to Colonel Michael McCormick City of Burlington Public Works Department raises issues with Corps of Engineers hydrology.
11/9/2006 Skagit River Impact Partnership ("SRIP") letter to FEMA Region X re: response to Wil Thomas Evaluation of Flood Frequency Analysis SRIP forwards "Technical Memorandum" response to Wil Thomas evaluation and provides history of controversy surrounding Skagit hydrology.
11/16/2006 SRIP letter to FEMA Region X SRIP (local consortium of stakeholders) expresses their extreme displeasure at new FEMA maps that use "unreliable data".
11/17/2006 SRIP letter to FEMA Director SRIP expresses concerns with FEMA Region X handling of the Skagit River Flood Insurance Study to the Wash. DC Director of FEMA.
11/20/2006 PIE response to Evaluation of Flood Frequency Analyses "Technical Memorandum" points out discrepancies in the Wil Thomas Michael Baker evaluation for FEMA FIS analysis of PIE's work product.

Fall/Winter 2006

City of Burlington Bulletin Mayor Gus Tjeerdsma updates the community on the status of flood control.

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.
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.

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.
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.

2/12/2007 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).

2/16/2007

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.

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)
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 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.
3/22/2007 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.
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.
4/3/2007

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.  
4/15/2007

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.

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 Ask the Angry Citizen: Here We Go Again! What’s wrong with this process?  The FEMA hydraulic study performed by the Seattle District Corps of Engineers is based on flawed data...
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.

5/21/2007 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)."

5/24/2007

TV10: May 24, 2007 Town Hall Meeting - FEMA Flood Mapping: How Will It Affect You?
City of Mount Vernon TV10 video hosted on Google Video of May 24, 2007 town hall meeting convened by the Mount Vernon and Burlington Chambers of Commerce.  The City of Burlington, City of Mount Vernon, FEMA and county commissioner candidate Don Gordon all spoke at the meeting.

There is 12 seconds of silence before the movie starts.

5/21/2007

Common Questions & Answers Pertaining to the Skagit River FIS (Handout at the May 24, 2007 Town Hall Meeting)

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

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.

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.

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.

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.
6/27/2007 Ltr to Board of Commissioners RE: Skagit River Hydrology Independent Technical Review - Final Report

"We are currently working on a report that bears directly on the magnitude of the historic floods on the Skagit River near Concrete."

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."
8/2007 Ask the Angry Citizen: Does Anybody Really Care? An over 2,600-word editorial on attempting to use local history to justify or alter Skagit River hydrology.
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.
8/9/2007 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
8/10/2007

Re-evaluation of the 1921 Peak Discharge at Skagit River near Concrete, Washington

USGS lowers 1921 flood at Concrete by 5% (12,000 cfs).

8/13/2007 Mark Mastin of USGS Presentation USGS presents their report of a slight reduction of five peak historical floods to the Skagit County Commissioners.  City of Burlington, among others, responds with a statement.
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."

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."

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 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."
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."

9/5/2007 TV10: Burlington-Mt. Vernon Joint City Council Meeting

Briefing by City Engineer of Burlington Chal Martin on Skagit River hydrology issues, followed by discussion and action to join the Skagit Flood Advisory Conference Team (Skagit FACT). Also a request for the federal government to submit the municipal-generated data from expeditions to The Smith House and work by Pacific International Engineering (PIE, PI Engineering).

As to documents, the Impacts of an Incorrect Hydrologic Analysis for the Skagit River presentation is available, as is the Joint Resolution of the Cities of Burlington and Mount Vernon to use PIE hydrology for FEMA base flood elevation maps plus a Joint Mount Vernon-Burlington letter to US Rep. Rick Larsen, Re: Support for alternative hydrology.  Finally, official Mount Vernon minutes are available.

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.

10/9/2007 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.

10/23/2007 TV10: Community Hydrology and Base Flood Maps City of Mount Vernon TV10 video of an October 23, 2007 Mount Vernon town hall meeting on the proposed revised FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).
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.
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.

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.
2/14/2008 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."
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."

4/23/2008 TV10: Update on the Flood Insurance Study City of Mount Vernon TV10 video hosted on Vimeo of April 23, 2008 Presentation by City of Burlington Public Works Director Chal Martin after being introduced by City Government of Mount Vernon Community and Economic Development Department Director Jana Hanson using historical data to debate the hydrology used by the Federal Government to assess the Skagit River Flood Risk. The slides are available in PDF HERE. Finally, comments and observations were made towards the end of the presentation by Mt. Vernon Mayor Bud Norris, John Schultz - attorney for Dike Districts 1 & 12, and also Dike District 17 Commissioner Daryl Hamburg.
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

5/1/2008 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.”

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.
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 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.
9/14/2008 LJK Comments on Aug. 18, 2008 Corps of Engineers Presentation

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

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.

10/30/2008 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.

11/5/2008 Mark Mastin Letter, Re: 1921 Flood Datum

It should be stated that at this time the USGS considers the peak-discharge estimate of 228,000 ft3/s for the 1921 flood on the Skagit River near Concrete as documented in the USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5159 as the best estimate of the 1921 peak discharge. It utilizes modern indirect hydraulic analysis at a relatively uniform site selected to minimize complications in the flow hydraulics. Also, it utilizes HWMs and channel geometry data surveyed soon after the peak, and it does not require the data to be tied to an elevation datum.

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.
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.
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.
6/2009  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 

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.
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.
10/2009 Report from the Mayor “The City's CLOMR application and submissions addressed every concern raised by federal agencies -including FEMA.  The City followed the rules.” 

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.”
10/08/2009 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.”
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.”
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.”
12/16/2009 FW: FEMA Skagit County Receives 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.
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.”
12/18/2009 FW: FEMA Public Involvement Plan E-mail discussion within Skagit County Public Works on plan to respond to FEMA Draft FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) release.  The primary objective is to, “Create broad public awareness about the release of the maps – their purpose, process, and schedule – and promote active public participation.
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. ”
1/4/2010 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”.
1/6/2010 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.” 
1/12/2010 D.C. Trip; possible Tech Conference 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.
1/19/2010 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.
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.”
2/10/2010 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.”
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.”
3/10/2010 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.”
3/11/2010 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 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.
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.
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.
4/2010 University of Washington Climate Impacts Group Draft Report “Under a warmer future climate, more winter precipitation falling as rain, rather than snow, will intensify winter flood risk for warmer transient basins.”
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.”
5/6/2010 USGS responses to issues raised by the Technical Memorandum, “Review and reevaluation of Skagit River 1921 flood peak discharge.” “Because they do not represent peak flow conditions, the USGS generally disregards the lower highwater marks in favor of the higher marks, particularly when multiple highwater marks provide confirmation of those higher elevations.”

See Also: nhc Re-Evaluation of the Magnitude of Historic Floods On the Skagit River Near Concrete Revised Final Report, 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.”  and nhc Memo Re: Skagit River 1921 High Water Marks
5/7/2010 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.” Rereading these notes, the HWM at the upper gage was at an elevation of 27.468 feet (gage datum) not 27.714 feet. It was located at the upper section of the upper gage not the current gage. The recorded gage height for the February 27, 1932 peak was 27.30 feet (gage datum) at the current gage.

See Also: nhc Re-Evaluation of the Magnitude of Historic Floods On the Skagit River Near Concrete Revised Final Report and USGS responses to issues raised by the Technical Memorandum, “Review and reevaluation of Skagit River 1921 flood peak discharge.”
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
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
6/15/2010 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.
6/30/2010 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.
7/6/2010 Skagit County Public Works and Planning Briefing of Skagit County Commissioners RE: FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps on Skagit 21 Skagit County Commissioners and staff discuss the released FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the Skagit River from Concrete to the mouth.  Items of discussion include options of appeal and financing to address the Skagit River Flood Risk.

See also: June 30, 2010 FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map Packet for Skagit County (65 MB PDF file), & June 15, 2010 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Update - Status of Flood Mapping for Skagit County plus October 29, 2007 Public Meeting - Skagit County Community Update Regarding FEMA Flood Mapping
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.

8/24/2010 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.
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.
9/3/2010 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.
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.”
2/28/2011 2011-02-28 Mount Vernon, Burlington, Sedro-Woolley & LaConner Joint Meeting on FIRM Appeal Complete video from TV10 of the "combined meeting with the City Council of the City of Burlington, City of Sedro-Woolley and Town of LaConner to engage in a general discussion on the subject of the FEMA flood insurance study and preliminary flood insurance rate maps" plus the City Council of Mount Vernon The municipalities have since filed their appeal - and on the FEMA FIRM Appeals Issues Page are all appeal documents.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
1/23/2012 Agenda for Monday, January 23, 2012 Meeting

Meeting will have a Skagit GI Update & a nhc Hydraulic Effectiveness Report presentation.

11/4/2011

Handout: Skagit River Flood Risk Management Study Hydraulic Effectiveness of Measures Spreadsheets

A series of spreadsheets in small print showing the impact in CFS of potential flood projects.
1/12/2012

Handout: Skagit River Flood Risk Management Study Hydraulic Effectiveness of Measures FINAL DRAFT

This report describes analysis of the hydraulic effectiveness of various measures proposed for management of floods in the lower Skagit River basin, focusing on conditions at and downstream from Sedro‐Woolley. The intent of the work is to identify those measures which hold promise for improving flood management and for which additional more detailed analysis is warranted. Hydraulic effectiveness is defined for current purposes as the impact of the proposed measure on flows and water levels in the Skagit River (including the North and South Forks) upstream and downstream from the measure location, and the impact on spill from the river channel onto the floodplain.
See also: nhc Presentation to SC FCZD AC, Re: Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Hydraulic Effectiveness of Measures
1/12/2012 nhc Presentation to SC FCZD AC, Re: Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Hydraulic Effectiveness of Measures 33 slide presentation on the Skagit River Flood Risk reduction potential of measures being reviewed by the Skagit River GI Study.  Hydrology is from the Corps March/April 2011 report.
See also: Corps Skagit River Basin Skagit River Flood Risk Management Study Draft Report Hydraulic Technical Documentation, nhc Skagit River Flood Risk Management Study Hydraulic Effectiveness of Measures FINAL DRAFT
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.
8/2013
NEW
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.