Floodplains by Design

Floodplains by Design (FbD) is an ambitious public-private partnership led by the Department of Ecology, the Nature Conservancy, and the Puget Sound Partnership. FbD works to accelerate integrated efforts to reduce flood risks and restore habitat along Washington's major river corridors. Its goal is to improve the resiliency of floodplains in order to protect local communities and the health of the environment. FbD also supports important Washington values, such as agriculture, clean water, and outdoor recreation. By working together, organizations can align state and federal investments with locally driven solutions that address floodplain management challenges and create a more sustainable future.

Since 2013, Washington’s Legislature has appropriated $165 million to support large-scale, multiple-benefit projects across the state. We administer these funds through a competitive grant program.

Grant program

Our Floodplain Management Division administers the FbD grant program under a biennial funding cycle. We award these grants on a competitive basis to eligible entities for collaborative and innovative projects throughout Washington. Projects must support the integration of flood hazard reduction with ecological preservation and restoration but may also support other community needs, provided they are part of a larger strategy. Some examples include agriculture preservation, water quality improvements, and increased recreational opportunities.

The State of Washington has been investing in projects using the Floodplains by Design approach since 2013. Project partners share their perspective on the importance of integrated floodplain management.

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 Floodplains by Design funding

2017-2019: $35 million total

  • $35 million funded seven projects to reduce flood risk and improve watersheds for communities large and small along rivers across the state.

2015-2017: $35.6 million total

  • $35.6 million funded seven projects to reduce flood risk and improve watersheds for communities large and small along rivers across the state

2013-2015: $44 million

  • $33 million used to advance nine integrated floodplain projects in Puget Sound.
  • $11 million for a statewide floodplain management and control competitive grant program.