Dear Wilderness Rim residents,
With the recent heavy snow and forecasted warmer weather and rain, it is setting us up for potential flooding in your neighborhood as soon as this weekend. If you are part of the neighborhood group that volunteered to help out your neighbors who are impacted by the flooding, now would be a good time to see if they need help with sandbagging, moving items to a higher floor, or anything else.
We are hopeful that the extra excavation done at the infiltration pond this fall will provide enough benefit to keep homes from flooding, but it is impossible to predict just how fast the snow will melt and how quickly the water will infiltrate.
We encourage the neighborhood to continue the great e-mail updates of the infiltration pond levels, as was done last year during the flooding. That really helps everyone. Also if there is flooding of homes or roads, please document with photos and measurements of the flood levels. When applying for grants and planning potential projects, that kind of information is critical. We will also try to have staff in the neighborhood to document any flooding.
As I believe you all know, the FEMA grant proposal that the county had made to modify the outlet of Brewster Lake to provide additional flood storage was met with significant resident opposition and the county withdrew that proposal. The county is still in contact with FEMA staff and they know that we are planning to turn in an alternative proposal. As soon as we have a proposal that FEMA may approve, we will discuss it with the Wilderness Rim Association and interested property owners. It’s been more complicated because without being able to modify the Brewster Lake outlet, it’s difficult to achieve the same level of protection as our original grant proposal provided for the flooded homes. Our current proposal is centered on the idea of building floodwalls/berms around some of the homes near the infiltration pond. We had also been unable to contact a key property owner to discuss options on his property. Last week we located the owner, so can now proceed with those discussions.
Since our new proposal is likely to have a lesser flood benefit, we would need to do another cost benefit analysis for FEMA to see if the flood reduction benefits outweigh the cost.
We will let you and the homeowners know when we have a new proposal prepared for FEMA. We expect that to be within the next month.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to call or email me. We will be monitoring phone and e-mail messages over the weekend. I apologize if you get more than one copy of this, as I combined two different e-mail lists.
Wendy Kara, P.E.
Engineer III, Capital Services Unit
Water and Land Resources Division
King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks
201 S. Jackson, Suite 600
Seattle, WA, 98104-8355