Washington Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon has named Andrea McNamara Doyle as the first director of the Office of Chehalis Basin. This office oversees the state’s effort to address catastrophic flooding and significantly restore habitat in the Chehalis River Basin.
McNamara Doyle most recently served as executive director of the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Coalition, a diverse public, private, non-profit effort to fund land conservation, habitat restoration and publically accessible outdoor recreation facilities.
“Andrea brings a wealth of experience and understanding to this office,” Bellon said. “She has an impressive record of working with a wide variety of stakeholders to achieve sustainable environmental outcomes based on consensus and science.”
“She is particularly adept at building important partnerships with members of the public, tribes, elected officials and environmental groups, which is crucial to finding solutions in the Chehalis River Basin,” Bellon said.
As the new director of the Office of Chehalis Basin, McNamara Doyle will work with a seven-member board, and five ex officio members, tasked with implementing projects that protect communities, families and livelihoods in the flood prone watershed as well as restore habitat for salmon, steelhead and other aquatic species.
The Chehalis Basin Board recently provided $4 million for major projects, opening over 30 miles of improved habitat for salmon in the basin. The board is overseeing environmental assessments of potential flood prevention solutions.
McNamara Doyle was also executive director of the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, director of the Environmental Hearings Office, and chair of the Pollution Control and Shorelines hearings boards. In her new position, she will report directly to Director Bellon and work as the office’s liaison to the Legislature.
In 2016, the Legislature created the Office of Chehalis Basin within Ecology to administer legislative funding and implement the goals of the Chehalis Basin Strategy. The strategy was developed in 2014 by the governor-appointed Chehalis Basin Work Group to address severe flooding and aquatic habitat degradation in the watershed that begins in Lewis County, crosses Thurston and Grays Harbor counties, and drains into the Pacific Ocean in Southwest Washington.
Over the past 30 years, the basin suffered its five largest floods in recorded history, resulting in millions of dollars in damage. At the same time, the basin fish resources have been in steep decline.
Chehalis Basin Board meetings are held monthly and are open to the public. Agendas and meeting materials are available through EZ View. Learn more about Office of Chehalis Basin projects and partnerships on Ecology’s blog.