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A Message from the Mayor:
As the rain continues to fall, the issues of the lake level and downtown flooding reoccur in our city. These issues are interconnected and impact the quality of life and infrastructure in our city. I wanted to write a few words on what the City is doing about the flooding and the lake level.
As I have looked into the issues of the lake level and downtown flooding, I have found they are issues that have not been addressed in what appears to be decades. In November 2020, we received back a study on the lake outflow, see that report here https://www.lakestevenswa.gov/517/Lake-Level-Outlet-Study. We have looked at this study and are committed to working towards implementing some of the recommendations.
Initially, I believe we need to focus on the channel capacity and construction of a new weir. The water can only flow out of the lake as fast as the channel has capacity. The study shows up to three feet of sediment throughout sections of the outflow channel. If we can clear out this sediment, we increase capacity. Building a new weir will allow better and automated control of the lake.
Our constraints in working in the lake or the outflow channel are what is called the fish window. We can only do work in these areas during the fish window which is established by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and for Lake Stevens; the fish window is roughly from mid-July to mid-September. Because of this, we cannot work on the channel at this time. We are working with WDFW as well as other agencies to create a plan and receive the permits allowing us to work in the upcoming 2021 fish window.
In the meantime, we have done a few mitigation efforts attempting to lessen the impacts of the flooding at this time. Building the sandbag wall along Hartford is keeping channel outflow water from crossing the road and increasing the flooding of the Catherine Creek area. We do have a reserve supply of sandbags if citizens need them, please contact the City if so. We as well have purchased a sandbagging machine which if needed by a neighborhood is available. Additionally, I will be speaking with my permits division to streamline dock permits as I know with increased water levels that docks will need to be rehabbed or replaced.
Ultimately, I want you to know this issue is on the radar of the City. We are committed to working on it not only for short term meaningful fixes but also with a long-term outlook.