Recently comments were sought by the state on a proposed dam on the upper Chehalis River, a river which is a very important part of the critical habitat for salmon in western Washington. On July 22, Governor Inslee sent letters to the state agencies responsible for evaluating the dam project. It appears that public comment played an important role in this change of direction from a dam to a non-dam alternative to deal with the flooding of the Chehalis River.
“Recent work evaluating a proposed large-scale flood retention project in the upper Chehalis River has brought additional and significant questions and concerns about impacts and alternatives. I have requested that the Chehalis Basin Board provide recommendations on the process for addressing some of these concerns, particularly the development of a basin-wide, non-dam alternative to flood damage reduction and evaluating the potential to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts of the flood retention and other flood risk reduction projects.
Furthermore, I am directing that Ecology pause the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process through the end of the year and to use funding available within the office of Chehalis Basin budget to assist the Board in the development of a non-dam alternative.”