be the impact of a 100-Year-Flood on Skagit County?
The first European settlers
in Skagit County built dikes and levees to protect farmland from floods. The
Skagit River was a transportation waterway, causing towns and cities to be built
on its banks. In the past century, the population of Skagit County has grown
from 14,272 to 102,979 with significant development in the flood plain.
Damages today from a 100-year-flood
event would carry significantly larger economic and ecological risks because
of the significant population growth that has taken place. The U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers has been actively seeking a solution for flood control in the Skagit
Valley since 1922. Due to funding requirements and lack of local consensus a
solution for 100-year flood protection has not been implemented.
A 100-year flood event
in Skagit County could potentially:
- Stop traffic on Interstate
5, SR-20 and SR-9. 23,000 commuter trips take place each day to and from Fidalgo
Island. I-5 is utilized by 65,000 vehicles each day. Highway closures and
resulting traffic delays due to a 100 year flood event are estimated to cost
over $15,000,000. Army Corps of Engineers, August 2001.
- Shut down sewers, wastewater
treatment, and major storm water pumping systems would cease to function.
- Shut down the Anacortes
Water Treatment Plant could be down for up to 45 days or more, cutting off
water to the Cities of Anacortes and Oak Harbor, the Town of La Conner, both
petroleum refineries and NAS Whidbey.
- Devastate the economy
of the entire region. Damages could exceed $1 billion dollars and thousands
of people would be unable to get to work. Water, road, railroad and pipeline
transportation to the refineries would be in jeopardy forcing shutdowns for
an industry employing more than 800 workers with annual payrolls exceeding
$57 million. Washington State exports to Canada are worth approximately $6.6
billion and overland imports exceed $14.3 billion annually. 95% of all commercial
goods between British Columbia and Washington are shipped overland. Washington
State Office of Trade and Economic Development.