Federal grant moves Aberdeen levee project forward

Office of Chehalis Basin commits $17 million in state funds

The city of Aberdeen has secured a $50 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help fund the North Shore Levee project designed to reduce community flood risks and boost local climate change resiliency. Our Office of Chehalis Basin has committed another $17 million in state funding along with additional local and federal funding for the $78 million flood mitigation project.

The cities of Aberdeen and Hoquiam are located near where the mainstem of the Chehalis River empties to the Grays Harbor estuary. The cities, which rely on tourism as well as the timber and fishing industries, face tough economic conditions and increasing flood risk from the estuary, Hoquiam and Wishkah rivers, and interior drainage — preventing growth and development.

Levee system to protect thousands of properties and businesses

To help protect the cities against coastal flooding, the North Shore Levee project will construct two floodwall and levee systems spanning 6.2 miles. Once complete, the project will:

  • Protect 5,100 properties and nearly 1,000 businesses against flood damage.
  • Reduce annual flood insurance premiums for local property owners and businesses by $1.2 million.
  • Attract development and bring new jobs and revenue to Grays Harbor County.

The North Shore Levee began as several individual projects. As they linked together and grew in scale, they attracted state level support from the Office of Chehalis Basin.

Office of Chehalis Basin commits $17 million in state funding

Launched in 2016, the Office of Chehalis Basin has committed $17 million for the North Shore Levee through the Chehalis Basin Strategy — a network of partners committed to protecting Chehalis River basin communities from flood damages, restoring habitat for aquatic life, and ensuring the basin is safe and prosperous for coming generations.

“The Office of Chehalis Basin and Chehalis Basin Board connects partners and resources,” said Office Director Andrea McNamara Doyle. “This is the biggest and best example yet where the state’s support for local communities through the Chehalis Basin Strategy has made federal funding possible.”

North Shore Levee project garners strong support

While FEMA received nearly 800 applications seeking funding through its Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, the agency selected to fund only 53 large competitive projects across the nation. The North Shore Levee project is receiving as much funding as New York City and the South Florida Water Management District.

“This federal recognition proves that community-driven solutions right here in the Harbor are on par with some of the largest cities and flood risk reduction efforts in the country,” said Vickie Raines, Chehalis Basin Board chair and Grays Harbor County Commissioner. “It’s the incredible collaboration that has allowed this project to grow from the local community’s vision, to statewide support with the Chehalis Basin Strategy, and now to sizable federal funding that will bring benefits to thousands of residents and the broader region.”