Floodplains by Design
Climate change and floodplainsAir & 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.
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.
We administer the FbD grant program under the state's biennial funding cycle. 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.
The 2025-27 competitive funding round is now open. Pre-applications will be due Jan. 12, 2024. After review, Ecology will invite selected applicants to submit a full application and present their projects to an evaluation team. Presentations will be held the week of Feb. 12-16, 2024. Full applications will be due May 1, 2024.
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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
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.
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.
|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.
|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..
|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.
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.
|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..
|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.
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 ProcessesConstructing 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.
|Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe||
Dungeness River Floodplains and FarmlandsPurchasing 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.
Puyallup Watershed Floodplains for the FutureRestoring 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.
|Walla Walla Conservation District||
Mill Creek Floodplain ImprovementsConducting 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.
|Stevens County Land Services Department||
Colville River Floodplain ImprovementCompleting 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.
|City of Kent||
Downey Farmstead Restoration
|Whatcom County Public Works||
The Nooksack River: Floodplains that Work Phase 2Building 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.
|Snohomish County Public Works||
Community Floodplain SolutionsProject includes acquiring properties and implementing various agricultural resilience and trail and water conveyance/connectivity improvement projects in the Snohomish River floodplain.
|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.
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.