Floodplains by Design

Climate change and floodplains

Air & Climate

Floodplains by Design (FbD) is an ambitious, public-private partnership led by Ecology, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, and American Rivers. 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 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.
 

Washington state 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.

Since 2013, Washington’s Legislature has appropriated $283.3 million to support large-scale, multiple-benefit projects across the state. We administer these funds through a competitive grant program.

The Floodplains by Design grant program has funded the following:

  • 64 projects in 19 counties across Washington, reducing risk in 85 communities. 
  • 8,482 homes or structures removed or with reduced flood risk.
  • 131 miles of river restored, protected, or with improved habitat.
  • 7,778 acres of land protected from development. 
  • 11,374 acres of floodplain reconnection.
  • 34 new or improved public recreation areas.
  • 20,367 acres of improved working lands.
  • 7,184 new jobs.

Projects build climate resiliency 

Learn more about climate action in Washington.

Our Floodplains by Design program is partially supported by funding from Washington’s Climate Commitment Act (CCA). Passed in 2021,  the CCA supports Washington’s climate action efforts by putting cap-and-invest dollars to work reducing climate pollution, creating jobs and improving public health. Some money is being invested in projects that improve floodplains and waterways for salmon.

In 2023, we received $17 million in CCA funding to fund four Floodplains by Design projects. 

Under the CCA, applicants seeking funding must share information about the proposed project with Tribal partners and offer to discuss the project. In addition, state agencies administering grant programs that receive CCA funding must offer consultation to federally recognized tribes. 

About our grant program

We award grants to eligible entities for collaborative and innovative projects throughout Washington. Projects must support integrating 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.

2025-27 FbD project applications 

The table below lists the 2025-2027 applications for the next round of funding for FbD grants. For a more detailed description about the proposed projects, review our FbD 25-27 applications document.

# Applicant Project Name WRIA Associated River/Stream
1 City of Ellensburg Public Works & Utilities Dept. Floodplain Protection Land Acquisition 39 Whiskey Creek
2 City of Tumwater Deschutes River Watershed Recovery Phase 1 13 Deschutes River
3 Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce East Fork Deep River Reconnection & Flood Reduction - Phases 1 & 2 25 Lower Columbia River
4 Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group Lower Big Quilcene River & Estuary Restoration 17 Big Quilcene River
5 King County Water & Land Resources Snoqualmie River Collaborative Floodplain Restoration 7 Snoqualmie River
6 Kittitas County Public Works Upper Yakima River Floodplain & Habitat Restoration Implementation 39 Yakima River
7 Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group Nature-Based Sediment Solutions in the Toutle Watershed 27 S. Fork Toutle River
8 Mason Conservation District Skokomish Watershed Flood Risk Reduction & Habitat Enhancement 16 S. Fork Skokomish River
9 North Olympic Salmon Coalition Hoko River Floodplain Restoration at Upper Cowan Ranch 19 Hoko River
10 Pierce County Planning & Public Works Clear Creek Floodplain Reconnection [Near-Term Actions] 10 Clear Creek
11 Seattle Public Utilities Floodplains for Climate Justice on the Duwamish River - Phase 1 9 Duwamish River
12 Snohomish County Community Floodplain Solutions Phase 4 7 Skykomish River
13 Stevens County Chewelah Valley Floodplain Restoration & IFM 59 Colville River
14 Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians Stillaguamish Watershed - Improving Floodplains & Farmlands 5 N. Fork Stillaguamish River
15 Trout Unlimited Hangman Creek Floodplain Restoration at Grouse Creek Ranch - Phase 1 56 Hangman Creek
16 Whatcom County FCZD The Nooksack River: Floodplains that Work - Phase 4 1 Nooksack River
17 Yakima County Public Services Cowiche Confluence Complex 38 Cowiche Creek

 

2023-2025 Floodplains by Design grants: Washington Legislature approves $67.4 million

The state Legislature approved $67.4 million in the 2023-25 two-year state capital budget (July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2025) to fund 12 Floodplains by Design projects. We worked closely with our partners, including the Nature Conservancy, Puget Sound Partnership, and other state agencies and conservation districts to help evaluate and rank the projects.

Our ranked and funded 2023-2025 projects

Project Sponsor Project Rank Funding request
Whatcom County - Public Works Department

The Nooksack River: Floodplains that Work - Phase 3

Whatcom County will continue a multi-phase project to integrate flood hazard reduction and salmon recovery with the needs of agriculture and other land uses within the Nooksack River watershed.

1 $10,300,000
Pierce County - Public Works and Utility Department

Puyallup Watershed Floodplains for the Future

Pierce County will continue the Floodplains for the Future program that includes targeting integrated, multi-phase projects on 300 river miles and eight reaches of the Puyallup River watershed. The project will help improve salmon habitat, protect communities and infrastructure from flooding, preserve agricultural lands, restore 10.3 miles of natural riverine processes, reconnect 635 acres of floodplain, and preserve up to 100 acres of farmland.

2 $10,290,376
Snohomish County - Conservation Natural Resources Department

Community Floodplain Solutions - Phase 3 Implementation

Snohomish County will continue the Community Floodplain Solutions program to advance implementation of integrated floodplain management in the Snohomish watershed. The program will increase ecological functions, reduce impacts from flooding, and protect and enhance farmland productivity. 

3 $10,203,180
Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians

Stillaguamish Watershed Floodplains and Farmlands

The Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians will coordinate a cooperative effort among watershed partners in Snohomish County aimed at increasing ecological functions, reducing flood impacts, protecting and enhancing farmland productivity, maintaining open space, and improving water quality. 

4 $9,106,385
Forterra NW

Hamilton Floodplain Education, Property Acquisition, and Restoration

Forterra NW will develop a Community Flood Education Program, support property owners with selling their vulnerable properties, and following the acqusition of vulnerable properties, restore the floodway through structure demolition, septic removal, and planting of native species on acquired properties in the town of Hamilton in Skagit County. 

5 $3,644,449
Yakama Nation

Methow River - Twisp Confluence Floodway Restoration

The Yakama Nation will acquire up to nine at-risk private parcels threatened with Methow River flooding within the city of Twisp in Okanogan County to restore salmon habitat, protect lives and property, and keep non-regulated flood protection measures from being constructed in the Methow River-Twisp confluence. 

6 $4,399,130
Kittitas Conservation Trust

Hanson Ponds Floodplain Restoration

The Kittitas Conservation Trust will complete the design of the Hanson Ponds Floodplain Restoration Project, a multi-faceted project that will protect critical local and state infrastructure - regional sewer outfall and I-90, reduce flood hazard for adjacent and downstream landowners, improve floodplain function, create and enhance off-channel salmon and native fish habitat, create high-quality wetland habitat, and enhance recreational opportunities for the community. 

7 $1,032,551
Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation

Sugar Channels Reconnection

The Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation will restore floodplain capacity and connectivity, provide additional opportunities for channel migration, improve instream structural complexity, and improve riparian conditions to support creation of off-channel and channel margin areas needed by salmon along 1.5 miles of the Methow River while maintaining necessary flood protection of infrastructure in Okanogan County.. 

8 $1,334,973
Skagit Conservation District

Samish Basin Working Lands Conservation

The Skagit Conservation District will initiate modeling and data collection for large-scale Colony Creek restoration, water quality improvement, flood hazard reduction, increased farm productivity, enhanced fish habitats, and bacteria reduction in shellfish growing areas. 

9 $236,900
Quileute Tribe

Quillayute River Historic Oxbow

The Quileute Tribe will restore natural riverine processes of the Quilllayute River in Jefferson County using an integrated approach for multi-benefit outcomes. The project will improve floodplain function and connectivity, alleviate erosion, reduce flood hazards, improve salmon habitat, increase climate resiliency, and improve access to Tribal and recreational fishing.  

10 $10,438,969
Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership

Lower East Fork Floodplain Reclamation

The Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership will reduce flood and erosion risk while restoring floodplain function along three miles of the lower East Fork Lewis River severely impacted by gravel mining and development. The project regrades the floodplain, removes four levees, relocates public infrastructure, and rebuilds the river channel in Skamania and Clark counties..

11 $5,581,088
Bonneville Enrivonmental Foundation

Facilitation and Technical Assistance

As the primary partner in the public-private Floodplains by Design partnership, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation 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. 

N/A $824,000

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

Previous Floodplains by Design funding

2021-2023: $50.9 million total for eight projects.

Project sponsor Project Rank Funding request
King County Water Land and Resources Division

Restoring Snoqualmie River Floodplain Processes

Constructing high-priority agricultural drainage projects including removing 1,200 feet of levee and 1,400 feet of revetment, constructing new revetment and a flood protection berm, excavating a new 2,900-foot bank channel, and planting native vegetation in the Snoqualmie River floodplain.
1

$10,309,278

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

Dungeness River Floodplains and Farmlands

Purchasing agricultural easements and acquiring land upon which to design, permit and construct nearly a mile-long dike setback project to restore 60-acres in the Dungeness River floodplain.
2

$9,894,899

Pierce County

Puyallup Watershed Floodplains for the Future

Restoring 2.5 miles of natural riverine processes by reconnecting up to 37 acres of floodplain and preserving up to 350 acres of farmland throughout the Puyallup River watershed.
3

$10,155,670

Walla Walla Conservation District

Mill Creek Floodplain Improvements

Conducting flood modeling and assessing the reach to design River Mile 17 project, including installing large woody debris structures, provide access to 17 acres of historic floodplain and approximately 1,225 linear feet of side channel in the Mill Creek floodplain.
4

$711,340

Stevens County Land Services Department

Colville River Floodplain Improvement

Completing final designs and permitting for Phase 1 improvements and conducting feasibility work for Phase 2 of multi-benefit floodplain improvement projects for the Colville River floodplain.
5

$341,031

City of Kent

Downey Farmstead Restoration
Completing remaining construction work, including excavating 100,000 cubic yards of material, installing 50 habitat structures, and installing native plants in the Green River floodplain.

6

$3,326,680

Whatcom County Public Works

The Nooksack River: Floodplains that Work Phase 2

Building on previous collaborative efforts to implement integrated floodplain management throughout the Nooksack River floodplain, including designing Ferndale levee improvement, Fish Camp integrated fish-flood project, and Glacier-Gallup Creek Alluvial Fan project.
7

$6,515,464

Snohomish County Public Works

Community Floodplain Solutions

Project includes acquiring properties and implementing various agricultural resilience and trail and water conveyance/connectivity improvement projects in the Snohomish River floodplain.  
8

$8,829,047

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.
N/A $824,742

2019-2021: $50.4 million

  • Funded nine projects to reduce community flood risks and restore fish and wildlife habitat at the Naches-Cowiche River confluence, as well as in the Nooksack, Touchet, Snohomish, Puyallup, Stillaguamish, Skokomish, and Yakima River watersheds.

2017-2019: $35 million

  • Funded seven projects to reduce community flood risks and improve the lower Columbia River estuary, as well as the Cedar, Puyallup, White and Carbon, Quilcene, Skagit, Skokomish, and Yakima River watersheds.

2015-2017: $35.6 million

  • Funded seven projects to reduce community flood risks and improve the Cedar, Dungeness, Green, Puyallup, Quinault, and Yakima River watersheds.

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.