Howard Hanson

For over 40 years, the Howard Hanson Dam and Green River levees in King County have provided effective flood control to the Green River Valley. The Howard Hanson Dam is estimated to have prevented $4 billion in damage during the January 2009 storm and saved an estimated $40 million per day in lost economic output.  This same storm, however, caused damage to the dam’s earthen right abutment which diminished the effectiveness of the dam. 

Following the 2009 storm, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that it is necessary to restrict the amount of water that can be held behind the dam until a permanent solution can be constructed. Senator Murray fought to ensure a portion of the Army Corps of Engineers Recovery Act funding went to beginning an interim repair called a grout curtain to prevent further damage and allow for more water to be held during a storm. That work was completed and will afford more flood protection as we head into flood season. However, it is important to remember there is still an increased flood risk in the Green River Valley. 

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray was able to successfully include $44 million in emergency funding in the FY2010 Supplemental Appropriations bill, which passed the Senate on May 27, 2010. This funding allowed the Corps to move forward with critical interim repairs at the Howard Hanson Dam. This repair work lowered the flood threat level.

It has always been a priority of Senator Murray’s to ensure the safety of the residents and businesses of the Green River Valley. Senator Murray will continue to work closely with the Corps to ensure the proper steps are taken to restore structural and operational safety at Howard Hanson Dam.