(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included $700,000 in funding for an Army Corp of Engineers study on Skagit River flooding in an annual Senate spending bill. The Corp study is looking at the best way to proceed with a flood control plan in the region. The funding was included in the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations bill. Senator Murray is a senior member of the Energy and Water Subcommittee.
"The Washington state residents who live in the Skagit River floodplain deserve a long term solution to the flooding problems along the river," said Senator Murray. "These funds will be used to identify problems, and generate potential solutions that will reduce the chance of a flood catastrophe."
The funding Murray has provided will be used to support the Skagit General Investigation Study which is examining the flooding problems of the Skagit River. Risk of flooding in the Skagit basin is the largest on the West Coast.
The Skagit River floodplain includes the cities of Mount Vernon, Burlington, and Sedro-Woolley. Mount Vernon and Burlington are currently protected by levees that are inadequate for the large floods that have occurred in the past and are predicted to recur. Catastrophic levee failure would result in a huge economic disaster and potential loss of human life. According to the Corps’ Economic Baseline Report, damage estimates to Burlington and Mount Vernon are over $1.9 billion for a large flood.
A significant Skagit River flood would also close critical Washington state transportation routes including Interstate 5, State Highway 20, and the BNSF Railroad. This would result in limiting emergency response and would have a damaging economic impact.