Strategizing A Future with Healthy Floodplains


Innovative Topics on Display at the Floodplains by Design Management Meeting

Guest blog by Gordon White, Program Manager, Shorelands & Environmental Assistance, Department of Ecology
Photograph by (1) Andy Porter, Northwest Photographer

What do we want our rivers and valleys to look like in ten years? How can we strategize and plan now so that we have reduced flooding, clean water and ample wildlife habitat a decade from now? Those are some of the topics that were tackled at Floodplains by Design Management meeting hosted by The Nature Conservancy, Department of Ecology and Puget Sound Partnership.

“Fun” and “enlightening” are not words you usually hear after an all-day workshop on a beautiful Friday in Seattle. Yet I came away from the gathering feeling I’d enjoyed myself and gained important new insights into our challenges and our work.

The workshop was a working session with key leaders and project proponents from across the region with an interest in advancing integrated floodplain management and implementing Floodplains by Design-like projects. It presented an opportunity to continue the dialogue on what “it” is; what makes for useful planning scales and timeframes; and how to talk about success measures and stories.

Bob Carey from The Nature Conservancy gave an overview of the Floodplains by Design initiative, which created a strong entry point for everyone to work from as they discussed the finer points of the program. Jim Kramer, who specializes in building collaborative programs and initiatives, facilitated moving the dialog from conceptual to specific.

Cogs began spinning for attendees when Carol MacIlroy, a specialist in natural resource planning, shared a regional vision and planning scale along with timing. Participants were challenged with how best to capture the multi-benefit approach in their watersheds and regions. The Nature Conservancy’s Kris Johnson of gave a clear explanation of a GIS tool that creates new possibilities for scoping projects, leaving participants eager to learn more and try the tool.

For a summary of the legislative process and the Capital Budget we turned to Tom Bugert of The Nature Conservancy. The time is critical for this kind of information, and participants were empowered to play a role in fostering a successful outcome to the current legislative session.

We covered a lot of ground in one day and it was truly a team effort – one that is sure to yield long term results around our region. Results that will help our communities and ecosystems thrive well into the future.

You can learn more about Floodplains by Desgn.

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