2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan
Managing Flooding from Mount Rainier to Puget Sound
What is the 2023 Flood Hazard Management Plan?
The purpose of the Pierce County Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan continues to be to create a resilient community by:
- Outlining the County’s local and federal obligations;
- Recommending regional policies, programs, and projects that reduce risks to public health and safety;
- Reducing damage to private improvements as well as critical infrastructure such as roads, highways, ferry landings, assisted living facilities, bridges;
- Reducing maintenance costs; and
- Improving habitat conditions while protecting and maintaining the regional economy.
The 2023 plan takes a new approach to updating Pierce County’s Flood Plan. While past plans only addressed riverine flooding, the 2023 plan will address coastal, groundwater, urban, and riverine flooding. It will identify projects, policies, and that will reduce the impact of major flooding on the community to be implemented over a 10-year period.
The Plan will also ensure those efforts are both financially and physically completable within that timeframe. In addition to moving forward priority projects identified in the 2013 plan, the 2023 plan will identify studies needed to inform future capital projects in the 2033 plan.
A Huge Thank You!
Thank you to those of you who provided comments on the scope of the Pierce County 2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan (Flood Plan) and environmental impact statement. Although the comment period has closed, we would still like you to take part in our Flood Hazard Survey. Please visit the below link to take the survey.
Due to current restrictions on public gatherings we are unable to host in-person scoping meetings. Instead, please view the recorded presentation below. Additionally, read more about the Flood Plan on this website and provide any comments via mail or email [email protected]. You are also encouraged to complete the survey to help us better understand what flooding means to you and how you have been impacted by past flood events. The survey can be accessed at piercecountywa.gov/FloodSurvey. The SEPA Determination of Significance and Notice of Scoping can be accessed in the document library on the right.
Thank you to those of you who provided comments on the scope of the Pierce County 2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan (Flood Plan) and environmental impact statement. Starting in 2023 the Flood Plan will identify projects and polices that will reduce the impact of major flooding to the community to be implemented over a 10 year period. The 2023 Flood Plan takes a new approach - while past plans only addressed riverine flooding, the 2023 Flood Plan will also address coastal, groundwater, and urban flooding.
Scoping was the first step in the EIS process. The comments received will help Pierce County’s Surface Water Management Division determine what issues should be considered in its technical analysis of potential alternatives, what environmental impacts and potential mitigation measures should be considered and evaluated, and what permits may be required.
After review and consideration of the scoping comments, Pierce County will prepare a draft EIS that will cover aspects of the built and natural environment, including water, plants and wildlife, environmental health, and transportation, among other issues. The draft EIS and draft Flood Plan are expected to be issued for public review and comment in early 2023.
Even though the formal comment period has closed, Pierce County will continue to accept comments and answer questions throughout the development of the Flood Plan and EIS. Comments and questions may be submitted by email at: [email protected]
Pierce County continues to monitor the latest information from Governor Jay Inslee’s office, State Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus. We are planning to host meetings with stakeholders and members of the public online until further notice.
Stay tuned for details about upcoming opportunities to get involved. Sign up for project updates
Pierce County is adopting a pathways approach to adaptive management in this flood plan. With uncertainty and limited known information regarding groundwater, coastal and urban flooding, the pathways approach promotes adaptive management. This approach enables adaptation plans to be ongoing by incorporating flexibility and adaptability into the decision-making process. Not all decisions must be made immediately, and options can remain on the table. This prevents decisions being made now that lock decision makers out of other options in the future.
An adaptation pathway is a decision-making strategy that is made up of a sequence of manageable steps or decision points over time. This approach helps to deal with the deep uncertainty associated with climate change, shifts in public support, politics and policy changes.
These uncertainties make it difficult to develop specific plans for future flood hazard management projects, particularly when little is known about the hazard, and instead highlight the need for plans that are flexible and responsive to changing conditions over time.
The concept of adaptation pathways has emerged to address these challenges. The adaptation pathway approach has been successfully applied in many countries around the United States and the world. In this plan, three pathways will be prepared for groundwater, coastal and urban flood hazards.
Watch the video below to learn more about the pathways approach.
The Adaptation Pathways video that was referenced in Introduction to Pathways can be found below.
To better understand residents and stakeholders experiences with flooding and their preferences for future flood risk reduction projects, Pierce County recently conducted an online survey. A total of 231 people took part in our survey. Thank you to those of you who responded! Your responses will make sure that we are including important information in the study and prioritizing the right values as the work continues.
What did we hear?
- Most survey participants live or own property in Pierce County.
- Many of the survey participants have experienced flooding, ranging from low to severe in nature.
- Most survey participates experienced flooding on their property or their street was flooded.
What will we do with the feedback?
- The results from this survey help us learn from the community’s experiences with flooding in the County. We will use this information to gather where, when, and what types of flooding (coastal, groundwater, urban, and riverine) happens in the County.
- We heard that you want to stay connected, so as this plan progresses, we will send periodic updates about progress we will continue to be available for questions.
Although the EIS comment period has closed, the floodplain survey is still available for you to take. If you would like to complete the survey, please follow this link http://piercecountywa.gov/floodsurvey as we look forward to hearing from you.
Posted on June 23, 2022
Posted on June 16, 2022
Posted on June 8, 2022
Explore the tabs and you will find the draft outline for the Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan, organized by chapter. During scoping we are seeking input on the major components of the flood plan.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2 - Part 1: Needs and Drivers
Chapter 2 - Part 2: Regulatory Commitments/Agreements/and Other Considerations
Chapter 3: Project Considerations
Chapter 4: Programmatic Recommendations
Chapter 5: Hazard Breakdown
Chapter 6: Plan Implementation
Chapter 1 lists elements such as the goals, objectives, and guiding principles that guide the work for how Surface Water Management provides flood services in Pierce County.
- Guiding Principles
- Planning Process
- 2013/2018 Flood Plan Accomplishments
- Basin Plan Incorporation
- Relationship to other Pierce County Plans
- Supporting Plan : Levee Feasibility Study
- Supporting Plan: Channel Migration Zone Study
- Supporting Plan: Economic Analysis
- Supporting Plan: Flood Inundation study
- Supporting Plan: Levee Vacation study
- Supporting Plan: Groundwater Studies
- Supporting Plan: Flood Risk Analysis
- Supporting Plan: USGS study/Lidar
- Supporting Plan: Financial Rate Study
- Supporting Plan: Hydrology recalibration
Chapter 2 explains the regulatory commitments the County has to meet to stay in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws.
Needs and Drivers
- Pierce County River Systems
- Types of Flood related hazards
- Effects of sediment in the river
- Flooding and Future Trends
- Flood Damage Impacts
- Floodplain management policies
Regulatory Commitments/Agreements/and Other Considerations
- Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)
- Water Quality
- National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
- Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)
- System Wide Improvement Framework (SWIF)
- Inter County River Improvement (ICRI)
- Community Rating System (CRS)
- Pierce County Floodplain Regulations
- Orca Restoration Plan
- Salmon Restoration Plan
- Salmon Habitat
- Puget Sound Action Agenda
- Temperature /Shading
- Fish Habitat/Spawning
- 200 Foot Riparian Buffer
Chapter 3 describes external initiatives that influence and support the work that Surface Water Management carries out.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Climate Change
- Adaptive Management/Pathways
- Sediment Management
- Floodplain for the Future
- Coordination with Cities/Counties
- Tribal Coordination
- System Wide Improvement Framework (SWIF)
- Agriculture/ Flood Easements
- Preservation and Maintenance
- Rights & Access to County Facility
- Sea Level Rise Impacts on drainage
Chapter 4 describes the four types of flood hazards and associated programmatic recommendations and non-structural actions to reduce the associated risks of future floods.
- Flood Risk
- Groundwater Flooding
- Riverine Flooding
- Urban Flooding/Streams/ Creeks
- Coastal Flooding
- Water Quality
- Programmatic Recommendations
- Comp/Strategic Plans
- Level of Service
Chapter 5 will explain the different flood hazards and their associated projects and strategies to reduce the associated risks of future floods.
- Coastal Flooding: Overview
- Coastal Flooding: Pathways
- Groundwater Flooding: Overview
- Groundwater Flooding: Pathways
- Riverine Flooding: Overview
- Riverine Flooding: Projects
- Urban Flooding: Overview
- Urban Flooding: Pathways/Projects
Chapter 6 will outline how SWM will implement and fund this comprehensive plan over a ten-year timeframe.
- Financial Rate Study
- Plan Implementation
- Role of the County
- Who is going to do the work and when?
SEPA Determination of Significance and Notice of Scoping
Committee Meeting Agenda & Notes
The project is funded by fees from the Surface Water Management Service Charge. On your annual property tax statement, this charge is listed as “Surface Water Management.”
2023 Flood Plan Timeline