Big Changes to the King County Flood Control District

dave upthegrove - king county council district 5

October 22, 2019

Big Changes to the King County Flood Control District

Big Changes to the King County Flood Control District


The Coastal Salish people who inhabited our region lived in harmony with the natural world. But over time we have ravaged our environment, altered the course of our rivers, and now risk losing our King Salmon and Puget Sound orca.

The King County Flood Control District has a responsibility to tribal governments who co-manage these resources—and a responsibility to the next generation—to do better.

This is why I’ve asked to serve as Chair of the Flood District Board of Supervisors in the year ahead to oversee implementation of major reforms, including:

  • Fundamentally re-orienting the work of the district to prioritize multi-benefit flood projects that restore habitat and water quality.
  • Making systemic changes to better ensure all parts of King County—not just major river systems—benefit from the work of the district; and
  • Improving the budget process by increasing transparency and alignment with our adopted policies. 

Early actions I propose include:

  • Doubling our salmon habitat investment by doubling our annual contribution to Watershed Resource Inventory Areas (WRIAs).
  • Providing significant funding for three new county-wide flood management initiatives that benefit the environment:
    • Urban Streams
    • Culvert Replacement
    • Coastal Erosion
  • Adopting an updated King County Flood Hazard Management Plan that enshrines as policy our new commitment to prioritize multi-benefit projects.

I propose these changes be made in a 2020 supplemental budget early next year so the Flood District Advisory Committee has the opportunity to review and shape them.

We have the fiscal capacity and funding tools to do these big things.

It is a new day for the King County Flood Control District. I invite you to join me in supporting these reforms, and feel free to reach out to me at with any questions.