Department of Ecology News Release - September 22, 2015

Restoring habitat and reducing flood damage: Working together in the Chehalis River Basin
Public invited to scoping meetings for the Chehalis Basin Strategy

OLYMPIA – The Chehalis River Basin is at a turning point. Recent years have brought extreme and frequent flooding; a trend that may continue into the future. Healthy habitat for aquatic species is significantly degraded in the basin. This impacts wildlife and, if action is not taken, the current course could lead to Endangered Species Act listings and related restrictions.

The Washington State Department of Ecology is seeking input from stakeholders to develop a comprehensive environmental strategy for the Chehalis River Basin. This work, called the Chehalis Basin Strategy Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), will focus on possible solutions to reduce flood risk and restore aquatic species habitat in the basin.

Ecology invites the public to attend two public scoping meetings to provide ideas and give feedback on possible solutions. These meetings will give tribes, agencies and the public the opportunity to discuss issues and concerns associated with the proposal and identify other potential alternatives to consider. Stakeholder input is vital to crafting a holistic environmental solution for the Chehalis Basin.

Monday, Sept. 28
6-9 p.m
Veterans Memorial Museum
100 SW Veterans Way
Chehalis, Wash.
Tuesday, Sept. 29
6-9 p.m
City Hall Banquet Room
112 N. Main St.
Montesano, Wash.

Presentations will be followed by a question and answer period and an open house. The meeting facilities are accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired or other special assistance needs should be submitted online at http://chehalisbasinstrategy.com/comment-form.

In addition to comments received at the scoping meetings, written comments will be accepted through Oct. 19. You can submit comments online at http://chehalisbasinstrategy.com/comment-form or by mail to:

Chehalis Basin Strategy EIS
c/o Anchor QEA
720 Olive Way, Suite 1900
Seattle, WA 98101

Ecology is the lead agency in developing a strategy to prevent economic and cultural losses for tribal fisheries, residents, local farms, businesses and others who depend on and enjoy the Chehalis Basin. During the past several years, Ecology has worked in coordination with local governments and community leaders to study this dynamic region. The agency has collaborated to identify potential solutions to reduce the risk of flood damage, and to restore fish populations and other natural resources in the basin. Learn more at http://chehalisbasinstrategy.com/strategy/.

A draft of the Chehalis Basin Strategy EIS is expected to be issued in summer of 2016, followed by an opportunity for public review and comment. Ecology anticipates releasing the final programmatic EIS in winter of 2016.

Ecology published a scoping notice in the Washington State Environmental Policy Act Register on Sept. 18.

For additional information, please visit http://chehalisbasinstrategy.com.

Contact:

Jessica Payne, , communications, 360-701-1220, @ecologyWA