King County Flood Control District
Flood Control District adopts work plan and funding to prevent Katrina-like flood disasters
The threat of catastrophic flooding and economic disaster like that seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was addressed by the King County Flood Control District Board of Supervisors with adoption on Nov. 13, 2007, of a 2008 work plan and budget that funds a program to rebuild and maintain King County's aging system of 500 levees and hardened embankments that protect residents, businesses, public infrastructure and roads. Visit the new, official Web site for the King County Flood Control District.
The King County Flood Hazard Management Plan developed by County Executive Ron Sims outlines a flood prevention project list that will cost an estimated $335 million over ten years. The Executive in his 2008 budget proposed funding the project list with a property tax assessment of 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, raising about $32 million per year for levee repairs.
Property owners and local government leaders urged Supervisors to enact the plan and funding, and the FCD Board adopted that levy rate, which was also recommended by the FCD Advisory Committee, a 15-member body of citizens and local mayors and city councilmembers from across the county.
Supervisors addressed sub-regional flooding unrelated to main stem rivers and tributaries by approving an amendment directing 10 percent of the revenues raised to an opportunity fund, to which all cities can compete for flood protection funding.
A one-day shutdown of economic activity within King County’s floodplains would cost the region a minimum of $46 million in economic output, according to a recent analysis by ECONorthwest, Inc. The report estimates that flood levees protect 65,000 jobs generating annual wages exceeding $3.7 billion within King County floodplains. King County has more than 25,000 acres within the mapped, 100-year floodplain, or more than 40-square miles. The cities in the vicinity of the Green River alone comprise the largest single industrial area in the state of Washington.
Flooding during November 2006 marked the eighth federally declared flood disaster since 1990 and alone caused an estimated $33 million in damage to the levees and other facilities that comprise King County’s first and best line of defense against catastrophic flooding.
All 9 members of the King County Council serve as ex-officio members of the FCD Board of Supervisors. The Council created the FCD in 2007 to replace 12 separate districts that addressed areas of localized flooding, with little or no coordination between them.