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Proposed Green River levee project increases safety for Auburn residents, improves habitat

 A look from above shows the Green River and the Reddington levee in proximity to the River Mobile Estates in northeast Auburn. The levee is worn, but King County is proposing to rebuild it.  - Courtesy photo/Ned Ahrens, King County
A look from above shows the Green River and the Reddington levee in proximity to the River Mobile Estates in northeast Auburn. The levee is worn, but King County is proposing to rebuild it.
— image credit: Courtesy photo/Ned Ahrens, King County

King County is planning a major levee reconstruction project on the Green River in Auburn.

The project includes work along more than one mile of the river that would enhance flood protection for hundreds of Auburn residents and nearly $700 million of residential and commercial properties, while also improving fish and wildlife habitat.

The scope of work includes rebuilding, setting back and extending the Reddington Levee along the west bank of the Green River, from Brannan Park at 26th Street Northeast downstream to 43rd Street Northeast.

The cost of the project is estimated at $14 million, with $13 million coming from the King County Flood Control District and $1 million coming from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

While the project design is in the initial stages and construction won't start until next spring, the required comment period under State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) is now open and runs through Sept. 6.

If approved, the project would:

• Replace levees that do not meet modern structural design standards and have a history of seepage problems.

• Set back levees to reduce their susceptibility to scour, which is the forceful removal of soil by sustained water flow.

• Increase the levee system's capacity beyond the existing 12,000 cubic feet per second.

The project would improve flood protection for nearly 600 properties just north of downtown Auburn, including 321 residential properties and 275 commercial properties with more than 960 structures and a total assessed value of approximately $680 million.

Additionally, the wider riparian corridor through this stretch would greatly enhance the ecological benefits to fish and wildlife species that live in the Green River, including several species of salmon, trout, birds and other wildlife.

Project information and links to SEPA documents can be reviewed at www.kingcounty.gov/rivers. Select "projects" from the menu, and then scroll to "Reddington Levee Setback and Extension."

Comments on the SEPA environmental checklist should be sent by Sept. 6 to Sarah McCarthy, project ecologist, at sarah.mccarthy@kingcounty.gov.

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