Letter to the Editor: Response to the Governor’s Letters Regarding the Dam

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As an active member of the Chehalis River Alliance and a resident of Lewis County, I applaud Gov. Jay Inslee for directing the Chehalis Basin Board and Office of the Chehalis Basin to develop a more robust local actions alternative. We appreciate his guidance, and we agree, that in light of the conclusions of the recent draft Environmental Impact Statement, that the dam would have significant, unavoidable impacts and provide insufficient flood reduction across the Chehalis Basin. Therefore, the state should stop wasting money on a 20th century solution to a 21st century problem.  

Like the Chehalis River Alliance, I stand with the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis and the Quinault Indian Nation in calling for the dedication of state funding for a transparent and inclusive process to comprehensively develop a local actions alternative to the dam. An improved process would provide opportunity for public input and use statewide expertise that has up until now been underutilized by the Chehalis Basin Strategy. The local actions alternative should be specific and include detailed actions to address flood damage reduction in communities throughout the basin. It should also complement the ongoing actions identified in the Aquatic Species Restoration Plan and the Community Flood Assistance and Resilience (CFAR) program.

It is time to take a fresh look at our options for more effectively and responsibly reducing flood damage, building basin-wide flood resiliency and restoring aquatic species. This will not only benefit Chehalis salmon runs, Puget Sound resident Orca whales, habitat connectivity, wildlife corridors and climate change resiliency, but is in the best interest of all the residents of the Chehalis Basin and all citizens of the state. 

 

Brian Stewart M.E.S.

Cascades to Olympics

 Program Coordinator,

Conservation Northwest 

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