Reducing Flood Risk: A Look Back at Completed Flood Mitigation Projects

Steven SchauerUncategorized

By Steven Schauer, Deputy Executive Director and King County Staff

The King County Flood Control District (KCFCD) has been working diligently since its creation in 2007 to safeguard our communities from flooding. The KCFCD, in collaboration with King County, has spearheaded over 370 capital projects aimed at mitigating the risk of levee and revetment failures. These projects, along with the operation and maintenance of over 500 flood protection facilities, cover 119 linear miles and approximately 800 acres of land crucial for flood mitigation.

While the KCFCD’s weekly blog typically shares information about new and ongoing projects, each month, we will shine a spotlight on a completed project that is quietly doing its job to safeguard our community against the threat of flooding. The project we’re covering this month is the A Street HESCO Barriers Project near the cities of Auburn and Pacific.

Completion of the A Street HESCO Barriers Project

On February 5, 2024, 1,400 feet of HESCO barriers – wire and fabric baskets filled with sand – were installed on both banks of the White River upstream of the A Street Bridge to reduce near-term flood risk in the area. The new barriers work in conjunction with HESCO barriers in Pacific installed and maintained by the KCFCD since 2009.

Completed A Street HESCO barrier on the right bank of the White River in Auburn, looking downstream. Credit: King County

The HESCOs are needed because the White River carries significant amounts of sediment down from the mountains and that sediment is slowly filling the river channel over time. As a result, flood levels can change unpredictably during the flood season, posing risks to public infrastructure, nearby businesses, and more than 100 residential properties.

King County, in its role as service provider to the KCFCD, worked with the City of Auburn to secure permits for this project, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided the HESCO barriers. Installation by the King County Roads Services Division began on January 16, 2024, and site cleanup was completed on Monday, February 5th.

Supervisor Pete von Reichbauer

“It’s important for the King County Flood Control District to fund projects like the A Street HESCO Barriers Project,” said Supervisor Pete von Reichbauer, whose District includes the residents of Auburn and Pacific. “We’re grateful for the quick work by King County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to get this project installed, protecting nearby residents. We know there’s more flood mitigation work to be done along the White River. Together, we can reduce the risk of future flooding for the residents of Auburn and Pacific.”