A schematic details the Rivers Edge setback levee, construction of which is in progress and expected to finish in September. (Map courtesy of Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe)

A schematic details the Rivers Edge setback levee, construction of which is in progress and expected to finish in September. (Map courtesy of Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe)

Levee setback aims to provide flood protection, protect salmon

Jamestown S’Klallam tribe replacing old structure

SEQUIM — A 1960s-era levee on the Dungeness River is in the process of being replaced.

Representatives with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is constructing a 5,000-foot long Rivers Edge setback levee on the tribe’s property west of Towne Road to increase flooding protection for landowners and nearby properties and to restore salmon habitat.

The tribe’s contractor, DelHur Industries, is leading the Rivers Edge Levee Setback Project.

The levee construction project is expected to be complete in September.

The new levee will replace the adjacent section of the 1964 levee, which is vulnerable to failure in its current location and condition, tribal representatives said.

In 2022, the tribe will remove the adjacent segment of the 1964 levee.

Floods will be able to spread safely across 56 acres of newly reconnected floodplain on the tribe’s land, they said.

“We designed the levee to provide flood protection for the community of Dungeness for any conceivable flood level — including increased storm events; and less snowpack predicted with climate change. No other segment of the levee system meets this safety standard,” Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe officials said this week.

“The restored floodplain will make this reach of the Dungeness River a safer place for people and salmon,” they said in a press release.

The Rivers Edge levee will serve as a permanently conserved walking path for the public.

Immediately north, Clallam County will construct a companion setback levee, which also includes relocating and upgrading Towne Road.

“Together, the two projects will set back 1.8 miles of river levee to vastly improve public flood safety and reconnect, restore, and permanently conserve 143 acres of historic Dungeness River floodplain for salmon, birds, and wildlife,” tribe representatives said.

To offset any impacts the Rivers Edge project caused to the agricultural community, the tribe and the North Olympic Land Trust plan to purchase conservation easements on at least 130 acres of Dungeness area farmlands, tribe officials said.

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