FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Chehalis River dam denounced on environmental, cultural and economic grounds Seattle, Washington (January 12, 2015) – We at Wild Game Fish Conservation International (WGFCI) have supported and continue to support flood damage mitigation efforts in the Chehalis River basin These include the following: habitat restoration, raising homes, reducing or eliminating steep slope logging in the headwaters of the Chehalis, restoring the flood plain, and eliminating development in the flood plain. We must find cost effective ways to reduce the impact of flooding on those who live, work and play in the basin. Building the proposed Chehalis River dam will not provide basinwide flood damage relief. The construction of the proposed Chehalis River dam near Pe Ell, Washington fails on environmental, cultural and economic grounds. The Quinault Indian Nation (QIN), with its guaranteed treaty rights, relies on the Chehalis River, its tributaries and the surrounding land for fish, wildlife and other resources. The QIN adamantly opposes this proposed dam The Chehalis Basin Strategy (November 2014), confirms that little if any benefit would be realized by building a dam to retain 2007-equivalent flood levels versus one to retain water from a typical 100-year storm. Additionally, a dam built to retain water from a typical 100-year storm would not be a cost effective, basinwide solution to reducing flood damage. Either scenario would result in a reservoir with catastrophic and irreversible impacts to salmon and steelhead spawning and rearing habitat above and below the proposed dam. Moreover, as recent severe storms have demonstrated, a dam on the headwaters of the Chehalis will not prevent flooding flood damage under most circumstances. Bruce Treichler, WGFCI co-founder, states, “given questionable study results and lack of adequate design, construction, operation, maintenance, benefit/cost, hydrology, geology and seismology detail, it is impossible to determine whether or not this dam would be cost effective. Constructing it would devastate uniquely valuable natural resources while putting downstream lives, property and structures in harm’s way for the life of this structure”. The alternatives submitted and consistently supported by WGFCI to elected and appointed officials to reduce flood damage throughout the Chehalis River basin are critical to the health and well-being of those who live there. Continuing to ignore these kinds of common sense approaches will lead to increased flood damage and loss of human lives. WGFCI and our associates expect full adherence to and enforcement of state and federal legislation developed to conserve this wild river basin, its citizens and the many environmental, cultural and economic benefits it provides freely year in and year out.
Contact: James Wilcox Co-founder - Wild Game Fish Conservation International (360) 352-7988