Letter to the Editor: Dwindling Run of Salmon Shouldn’t Outweigh Downstream Residents’ Flood Risk

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In response to recent comments by David Fenn, Dr. John Henricksen and others supporting a flood prevention facility on the upper West Fork of the Chehalis River, please count me in as a strong supporter.

I personally attended the meeting at the Adna High School soon after the 2007 devastating flood. The room was full of people who had been personally affected by this tragedy. The main theme then and now is “build a retention facility on the upper Chehalis River.”  I have lived in the Chehalis/Centralia area most of my life. Our family was affected by minor flooding almost every year while we lived at Adna near the river. We just learned to live with the high water during the winter months. But nothing like the catastrophic event of 2007 when approximately 12 inches of rain fell overnight in the Willapa Hills above the West Fork of the Chehalis River.

Has anyone done an actual fish count where the dam would be built? How many salmon and steelhead are returning to spawn? We set aside a dwindling run of fish up stream while hundreds of homes, businesses and lives downstream are at risk. 

The proposed dam would act as a “flood control valve.”  It can be turned on and off when necessary. Maybe it may not be used often but those downstream can be at ease knowing the dam will help control flooding in the whole Chehalis watershed to Aberdeen.

Other ideas have been mentioned (dredging, diking, etc.). These have been studied and proposed but none seem realistic. The environmental effects of a temporary reservoir seem only minimal. In closing, I feel the benefits to the community far outweigh any harm to the environment and fish runs.

 

Mike Dooms

Centralia

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