Priorities for 2018-2022 focus on accelerating progress toward the Floodplains Vital Sign.
Floodplains are important areas in the Puget Sound region because they support fishable, swimmable, drinkable waterways. It is the intent of this strategy to restore and protect floodplain functions. The priorities and appoaches attempt to guide floodplain work at a regional level while providing flexibility for local implementation. In this stepwise structure, the strategy to support floodplain protection and restoration is to create the enabling conditions necessary for strategic work, then designing solutions and strategies on a project level, and finally implementing those solutions. This structure allows communities to discuss the balance between social, ecological, and economic services provided by floodplains and to develop agreed upon, strategic and collaborative solutions.
The Floodplains Implementation Strategy prioritizes 17 rivers that have the potential to contribute the most to the Floodplains Vital Sign indicator target. These 17 floodplains are the: Big Quilcene, Cedar River, Deschutes River, Dosewallips River, Duckabush River, Dungeness River, Elwha River, Green/Duwamish River, Hamma Hamma River, Nisqually River, Nooksack River, Puyallup River, Samish River, Skagit River, Skokomish River, Snohomish River, and Stillaguamish River. Projects proposed within one of these 17 floodplains are a priority because they can contribute the most to the regional Floodplains Vital Sign indicator target.
In order to protect and restore floodplain area and function, the Regional Priorities first emphasize that the technical resources and human capacity need to be in place to enable recovery planning. The Regional Priorities then promote the design of multi-benefit recovery plans. These plans should strive to balance the need for habitat, agriculture, development, and flood risk prevention. The plan should identify the best sites for floodplain restoration or protection while ensuring that all stakeholder needs are considered. To enable successful implementation of the plans, the Regional Priorities provide an opportunity to address the policy and regulatory limitations that may inhibit funding or delay needed recovery actions. Finally, once the plan is developed, the Regional Priorities promote implementing the site-specific actions that are supported by the multi-benefit plan. Other actions include sharing and communicating with partners about the plan and monitoring project outcomes to adaptively manage floodplain protection and restoration planning.