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2012 Historical Quotes of the Month

Table of Contents

DECEMBER 2012

The dikes are old and a lot of the foundation of these things was built on old cedar logs and whatever have you and they decay. At that point in time we look at it and say yes we have a problem.  . . .  We don't have the understructure underneath the dikes to hold more than a 25 year flood, not in our area. We have boil ups that will raise anywhere from 10 feet from the dike to 150 to 200 yards inside. So we're about the level that we are going to be.

(Source: May 1992 Neal Hamburg Testimony Before Joint Select Committee on Flood Damage Reduction May 1992 - Mount Vernon)

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NOVEMBER 2012

We need only remind ourselves that Skagit County is valued, for tax purposes, over one billion dollars, a large part of which is subject to flood damage, and that the City of Burlington is valued, for tax purposes, over fifty-five million dollars all of which is subject to flood damage.

(Source: August 22, 1978 - Burlington Mayor Letter to Corps of Engineers re Flood Project Alternatives)

AC Note: According to the City of Burlington the current 2012 total property valuation is $1,202,840,174. So how much did the flood threat influence/stop development? Obviously very little if at all. The commercial development alone ("all of which is subject to flood damage") is $805,453,934 million dollars. How serious can the flood threat be when this kind of development is allowed?

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OCTOBER 2012

Citizens of Skagit County, on 6 November 1979, voted 28.1 percent for and 71.9 percent against providing County Commissioners authority to obtain required local funding to construct the Skagit River, Washington, flood damage reduction project. District effort will be deferred on the project. Work in the various elements was examined to determine requirements for funds and time to complete activities. Funds requested by the various elements will be used to wind down the project and leave it in good condition to perhaps be continued sometime in the future.

(Source: Corps of Engineers 11/26/1979 MFR re electon results)

See also: 1979 Levee Project Issues Page

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SEPTEMBER 2012

Question: If the southerly route for Highway 20 were chosen, opportunity would exist for joint development of levee and highway (St. Dept. of Transportation).

Corps response: The road and levee could be combined into one project. However if that project uses a continuous fill and prevented overflow to the Samish valley, it would raise the water surface about 4 to 5 feet higher than under existing conditions.

(Source: Corps of Engineers Draft 1979 Skagit River Levee Improvement Public Brochure.)

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AUGUST 2012

We now feel we could support an alternative that will give Skagit County better flood protection but people and property must not be left with a worse flood situation than prior to the project

(Source: Skagit Soil Conservation District comment letter on Corps DEIS for 1979 Levee Improvement Project dated June 27, 1979.)

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JULY 2012

Mr. Hansen said that, in the past, downtown Burlington had usually not been flooded. . .  We discussed what would happen under existing conditions, and both agreed that the danger to Burlington comes from the existing dike being encircled by a flood which would then get into Gages Slough and flow through the city of Burlington and then toward Avon or Samish Bay.

(Source: August 22, 1978 - Corps MFR Re: Skagit River Levee and Channel Improvement Project - Meetings With Local Officials [About Flood Risk to Burlington & Sedro-Woolley])

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JUNE 2012

When a state sacrifices some for others, causes anguish or does harm to even one human being (particularly when there ARE other alternatives), it's an offence which should not be taken lightly by anyone. Surely this isn't the American way. We need your recommendation that this levee project, the way it is set up now should be dropped.

(Source: Barbara McNair, Clear Lake Resident, Letter to Corps of Engineers, April 26, 1979 - page two of May 14, 1979 Corps ltr to Barbara McNair)

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MAY 2012

Construction of dikes and raising dikes makes for a greater catastrophe when they break. Dikes give people a false sense of security. Marshland and French Creek dikes on the Snohomish River in December, 1975 are an example. Upstream storage is an alternative that is acceptable to us.

(Source: 4/10/1978 C. F. Intlekofer, Director, Engineering, Ltr to Corps fm BNRR re why they were opposed to flood project)

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APRIL 2012

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

...

John Mitchem:The Advisory Committee is not in favor of the wild river. I am suggesting this is a tool to fight the establishment of the wild river.  

Denny LeGro:Yes. It gives a group at the county level, who has greater power and weight, to discuss this matter. You will have delegated some responsibility to people who have the power to discuss this with the 19-member task force. The Advisory Committee was set up to handle all water resources.

(Source: 9/1/1970 Skagit County Commissioner Public Hearing Transcript RE: Formation of Flood Control Zone)

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MARCH 2012

The interest of the Skagit System Cooperative is to maintain natural production of salmonids in the Skagit basin at least at the present levels. In fact, some populations are gradually increasing.

(Source: January 31, 1979 Skagit System Cooperative ltr to Corps re Levee Impacts on the Fishery Resource)

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FEBRUARY 2012

Article 36 requires the licensee to provide 120,000 acre-feet of flood control storage during the period 1 October to 15 March. Article 36 includes, by reference, "Details of Regulation for Use of Storage Allocated for Flood Control in Ross Reservoir, Skagit River, Washington," revised 25 May 1967. This reference states that "In the event that the high dam is constructed at Ross (1725-foot pool) or any appreciable change in the economic development of the valley takes place which would necessitate a lower control flow at Concrete, a maximum of 180,000 acre-feet of flood control storage may be required.

(Source: January 15, 1979 Corps Seattle District ltr to Division Engineer in Portland re City of Seattle's application for a new major license for Skagit River Project)

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JANUARY 2012

Building a levee is initially an economic decision. A levee may not always eliminate the misery, it may only delay it until that point of time when nature's forces exceed man's willingness to invest in greater risk protection.

(Source: January 20, 2012 FEMA Levee Approach for Public Review Online Forum Presentation)

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