Floodplains by Design grant program

Floodplains by Design is our primary grant program for projects in the floodplain. This partnership of local and tribal governments, state and federal agencies, and private organizations works to coordinate projects that reduce community flood hazards while restoring the natural functions Washington rivers and floodplains provide. 

Local organizations have used these grants to improve flood protection for towns and farms, restore salmon habitat, improve water quality, and enhance outdoor recreation.

About the Floodplains by Design partnership

Floodplains by Design is an ambitious public-private partnership working to reduce flood risks and restore habitat along Washington’s major rivers. By transforming how floodplains are managed on a landscape scale, we can support thriving communities and a healthy environment. Since 2013, the Washington Legislature has appropriated $115 million to support large-scale, multiple-benefit projects across the state.

Program goals

  • Reduce flood risks and recover floodplain ecosystems while maintaining or improving agricultural production, water quality, and open space/recreation.
  • Improve coordination of public funding for floodplain efforts.

Primary partners

2019-2021 Funding Cycle

2019-2021 Floodplains by Design grants: Legislature approves $50.4 million

The Washington State Legislature approved $50.4 million in the 2019-21 two-year state capital budget (July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2021) to fund 10 Floodplains by Design projects. We worked closely with our partners at the Nature Conservancy and Puget Sound Partnership to help evaluate and rank the projects.

Our ranked and funded 2019-2021 projects

Project sponsor Project Rank Funding request
Whatcom County Public Works The Nooksack River: Floodplains that Work

This project on the Nooksack River will fund preliminary design for Ferndale levee improvement, final design for Lynden levee improvement, Reach 4 levee reconfiguration, Jones Creek debris flow mitigation, Glacier-Gallup creek alluvial fan restoration, and agricultural program support.
Kittitas County Public Works Upper Yakima River Floodplain and Habitat Acquisition

This project will acquire 413 acres of contiguous Yakima River floodplain and associated senior water rights; prevent residential development on 90 subdivided floodplain acres; and provide opportunities for habitat enhancement in Spring Creek and historic side channels.
Mason Conservation District Skokomish Watershed Ecosystem and Floodplain Restoration: Phase 2

This project will construct two setback levees, help remove an existing levee, reconnect a side channel, and install large woody debris in the Skokomish watershed. It will also reconnect the South Fork Skokomish with the Swift Creek wetland complex.
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation North Fork Touchet Floodplain and Habitat Restoration

This project will reconnect 50 acres of floodplain, remove or set back one mile of levee, and use large woody debris to create habitat. It will also improve irrigation efficiency.
Yakima County Public Services Gap to Gap 1135 Locally Preferred Alternative

This project will reconnect 1,039 acres of floodplain to the Yakima River, set back and raise the freeboard on an existing levee, create new pilot channels, replace a culvert and flood gate, and remove bank armor.
Snohomish County Public Works Advancing Sustainable Lands Solutions in the Snohomish Basin

This project will elevate three sections of flood-prone road, acquire up to four properties, protect agricultural land, and restore aquatic habitat. It will also include agricultural land project designs as well as  modeling and risk assessment on the Skykomish and Snohomish rivers.
Yakima County Public Services Naches-Cowiche Flood Risk Reduction and Floodplain Restoration

This project will entail spearheading a collaborative design process, acquiring flood-prone parcels, and completing final design and permitting of the Naches-Cowiche river confluence project.
Pierce County Public Works Floodplains for the Future: Puyallup, White, and Carbon Rivers

This project will use a variety of approaches to reconnect floodplains and restore habitat in the Puyallup River basin including land acquisitions, agricultural land conservation measures, restoring habitat functions in the river basin and its tributaries, and continuing engagement with local agricultural community.
Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians Stillaguamish Watershed Integrated Floodplain Management Project

This project will include managing stormwater in the city of Stanwood, restoring District 7 dikes, undertaking phase 2 of the dairy waste processor project, developing solutions to landslides in the Gold basin, acquiring property, protecting farmland from development, and conducting modeling.
The Nature Conservancy Floodplains by Design facilitation and technical assistance

As the primary partner in the public-private Floodplains by Design partnership, the Nature Conservancy will provide critical program support including statewide technical assistance, technical studies, and facilitation of public-private-tribal advisory groups related to implementing the proposed capital projects. They will also contribute a minimum of $600,000 in match funding to support these activities.
10 $800,000

Please note that 3 percent has been added to each funded project to pay for our administrative costs.

Previous Funding Cycles