Innovation and Collaboration
Our region is famous for rivers, big fish and Puget Sound, and of course rain. But did you know flooding is becoming more frequent and severe? Increasingly communities, wildlife and livelihoods are threatened by water at the wrong time, in the wrong place, too much water or poor water quality.
There are innovative ways to keep communities safe, allow salmon and wildlife to thrive and protect farms and businesses. Floodplains by Design uses science, collaboration and partnership to create and integrate projects that improve flood protection for towns and farms, restore salmon habitats, improve water quality and enhance outdoor recreation.
Puget Sound’s major rivers and their floodplains deliver a wealth of economic, natural and cultural benefits and make the region a place we all love to call home. With your support, we are protecting and enhancing these vital regions, for people and nature.
Puget Sound is fed by more than 10,000 rivers and streams. The soils and climate conditions make this one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions. Puget Sound and its rivers are home to millions of salmon and a bounty of wildlife. It’s a crucial stop for migratory birds on the great Pacific Flyway. It’s also the economic heart of the Pacific Northwest, with 70 percent of Washington’s population and jobs, and 80 percent of the state’s income produced right here.
Floodplains By Design
The Nature Conservancy is working with partners, including the Puget Sound Partnership and the U.S. Geologic Survey to bring the Puget Sound community together for integrated and efficient management of its major rivers and their floodplains.
We’ve created a model for funding and carrying out projects that make an impact. In 2013 nine projects used the Floodplains by Design approach to enhance floodplain management in the Puget Sound watershed. In 2014 additional projects received grants through the Washington Department of Ecology.
Floodplains by Design projects will create the information, tools, and inter-agency coordination needed to overcome these obstacles. It will integrate reducing flood hazards with restoring and protecting salmon and wildlife habitat, so that priorities are identified based on factors that matter to people and decisions are made to achieve common goals -- to provide clean water, abundant salmon runs and safer communities.
Several small-scale projects around Puget Sound have demonstrated that this approach can work. The Conservancy has led the way with its Fisher Slough and Port Susan Bay projects, both designed to provide multiple benefits—habitat restoration and enhanced protection against flooding for the region’s farms.