What is the Lower Green River Corridor Flood Hazard Management Plan?
The Lower Green River is susceptible to flooding and flood damage that affects people and residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural properties along its banks. To address these issues, The King County Flood Control District (District) is proposing to implement the Lower Green River Corridor Flood Hazard Management Plan (Plan) to provide an integrated and reasonable long-term approach to reduce flood risk within the Lower Green River Corridor while balancing multiple objectives within the study area. This integrated approach is also intended to reduce flood risks while supporting the economic prosperity of the region and improving fish habitat. The Plan will include a number of actions to increase the level of protection from flooding along approximately 21 river miles of the Lower Green River that flow through the cities of Auburn, Kent, Renton, Tukwila, and unincorporated King County. This would be accomplished by constructing new or improved flood protection facilities to meet current engineering standards.
Why is an Environmental Impact Statement Being Prepared?
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required when the lead agency determines that a proposal or project could result in potentially significant adverse environmental impacts. King County Flood Control District, as lead agency under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), has determined that potential short term and long-term actions could result in adverse environmental impacts, and is therefore preparing an EIS to inform the determination of a Corridor Plan for the Lower Green River.
What is a Programmatic EIS?
An EIS is a decision-making tool guided by the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) that provides impartial information to decision-makers and the public about probable adverse environmental impacts, reasonable alternatives, and mitigation measures that would avoid or minimize adverse impacts or enhance environmental quality. A programmatic, or non-project EIS, considers impacts associated with decisions on policies, plans or programs. A programmatic EIS allows agencies to consider the “big picture” by conduction comprehensive analyses, addressing cumulative impacts, possible alternatives, and mitigation measures.
How will stakeholders engage in the EIS process?
Stakeholders (including members of the public, business groups, Tribes, agencies, and other governmental entities) will be encouraged to participate in the EIS process at two key milestones defined in SEPA: Scoping and the Draft EIS. All relevant input received during the Scoping and Draft EIS public comment periods will be considered in the EIS process.
What is Scoping?
Scoping is the first step in the EIS process. The purpose of scoping is to narrow the focus, or “scope,” of the EIS to significant environmental issues, and to identify alternatives to be analyzed in the EIS.
How do stakeholders provide comments on Scoping?
Scoping begins November 28, 2018. The scoping process begins with the issuance of a Scoping Notice. The Scoping Notice will be made available to the public through a variety of methods, including by emailing the project mailing list, emailing or calling engaged community groups, posting the notice within the project area, and publishing notices in the Daily Journal of Commerce and Seattle Times. The various methods to provide comments during scoping will be included in the notice.
What alternatives have been preliminary identified to be evaluated in the PEIS?
Three alternatives have been identified for consideration in Scoping: a no action alternative, and two alternatives that meet the District’s flood management objectives.
Alternative 1: the “No Action Alternative” is required by SEPA in order to provide a benchmark to objectively evaluate and compare the “action” alternatives. It would include completing existing projects adopted in the 2018-23 Capital Improvement Program.
Alternative 2: the “Moderate Geographic Extent of Increased Level of Protection” Alternative would include 3 miles of new levees and improvements to 17 miles of existing levees.
Alternative 3: the “Greater Geographic Extent with Increased Level of Protection, Integrated Habitat and Recreation, Agricultural Protection Facilities, and Habitat Restoration Project Partnerships” Alternative is the same as Alternative 2 with the addition of 10 miles of new levees and 2 miles of non-structural improvements. Incentives to provide habitat restoration could also be provided.
Each of the Alternatives includes continued maintenance of existing flood facilities. Alternatives 2 and 3 would also include some drainage improvements to agricultural lands and flood-proofing of agricultural structures. These alternatives may be modified or replaced following review of input received during Scoping.
Who is leading the EIS process and who is preparing the document?
The District is leading the preparation of the EIS. They have hired an objective consulting team with expertise in SEPA, floodplain management, and the technical elements to be evaluated in the EIS to prepare the Draft PEIS and conduct public involvement. King County Water and Land Resources Division, as the District’s service provider, will provide technical planning, modeling, and analytic services to inform the development of the Plan.
What elements of the environment are being considered in the PEIS?
The scoping process will help to identify what should be evaluated in the EIS. Under SEPA, an EIS needs to focus on those with probable significant adverse impacts. This may include, but is not limited to:
Natural environment and built environment
Cultural and Historic Resources
Equity and Social Justice
Geology and Geomorphology
Land and Shoreline Use
Public Health and Safety
Recreation and Public Access
Terrestrial and Riparian Resources
Tribal Treaty Resources
Utilities and Public Services