The goal of this project is to reduce flood risk and restore sustainable floodplain habitats on the White River, while addressing the challenges of a highly developed area with a high sediment load in the river.
A corridor of levees was installed along the lower White River over 50 years ago to keep infrastructure, residents, and businesses safe in the Sumner, Bonney Lake, Auburn, and Pacific communities. Since then, the riverbed of the lower White River has risen over 20 feet due to sediment build-up. Continued sedimentation in the White River near the cities of Pacific and Sumner and has reduced the flow capacity of the White River which has resulted in adjacent areas being more prone to floods.
Among these levees is the Butte Pit Levee, named after the old Butte gravel pit, purchased by Pierce County in 1922. Over the decades, this levee has experienced several flooding events resulting in severe damage.
The Butte Pit Levee is critical to reduce flood risks to commercial businesses and homeowners along Butte Avenue Southeast in the heart of Pacific’s industrial district. Pierce County is working with city governments, tribal partners, and community stakeholders to design a new levee that benefit residents, businesses, critical infrastructure, and salmon habitat.
Pierce County is taking a Pathways Approach to this project. As projects are developed upstream and downstream of this project site, Pierce County will use adaptive management to create a plan to meet the flood control needs.
Other jurisdictions are working on river-related projects in this area. Pierce County is coordinating with these other agencies on the Butte Pit project.