Six major river systems flow through King County (South Fork Skykomish, Snoqualmie, Sammamish, Cedar, Green and White Rivers) along with their significant tributaries (Tolt, Raging, Miller and Greenwater rivers). Additionally, the county has other smaller tributaries and streams, including but not limited to those with existing flood risk reduction facilities (Tokul, Kimball, Coal (Snoqualmie), Issaquah, Fifteen Mile, and Holder creeks).
More than 500 flood protection facilities stretch over 119 miles in King County. Many were built 50 years ago by farmers to protect their fields. Now, these aging levees protect major business centers, residences and critical public infrastructure. They span at least $7 billion of assessed value that include Boeing facilities, Southcenter Mall, and distribution centers for medical centers, grocery stores, and gas stations. Approximately 65,000 jobs are located in these areas. It is estimated that a one-day shutdown of economic activity in the King County floodplains would cost the region at least $46 million in lost economic output.
Since 1990, the King County floodplains have been declared a federal flood disaster area 13 times.
In April 2007, the Metropolitan King County Council created a new countywide special purpose district, the King County Flood Control District, to provide funding and policy oversight for flood risk reduction capital projects and programs in King County.
The Flood Control District’s Board of Supervisors is its primary governing body and is composed of the members of the Metropolitan King County Council. The District is responsible for planning and funding maintenance and repairs of the flood control system.
The District is aimed at protecting lives and property and ensuring that a significant portion of King County’s economic infrastructure is safe from the damage that can be caused by fall and winter storms.
Mission & Vision
The King County Flood Control District brings a comprehensive approach to flood management and provides funding to improve the County’s aging and inadequate flood protection facilities.
The 2006 King County Flood Hazard Management Plan serves as a blueprint for county management of the 500 flood control facilities, and features capital improvement projects as well as floodplain management programs.
The Plan identifies up to $335 million in priority repairs and upgrades, including work on flood containment levees and bank stabilization projects. It also provides for a regional flood warning center and emergency response, flood facility maintenance, public education and outreach, mapping and technical studies, citizen inquiry and public response.