OLYMPIA – A bill addressing dwindling populations of Puget Sound orca whales and amended so that it could help Satsop area farmers who have lost land to Satsop River erosion, passed the Senate Wednesday night.
The amended version now goes back to the House for reconsideration there.
The legislation would set several state agencies to work jointly to assess and recommend strategies to improve environmental health and reduce the threat of flooding along the river. It could mean dredging in parts of the river.
“This is a chance to address a growing flood threat while increasing the health of our salmon population,” said Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim). “Right now, the river doesn’t work well for salmon or for area property and infrastructure. If we’re going to reshape the river to address one problem, it only makes sense to address the other at the same time.”
Van De Wege amended House Bill 1579 in committee to broaden its goals. As amended, the bill calls for the development of flood plain management strategies to better protect agricultural lands, restore and enhance fish runs, and protect public infrastructure such as roads and bridges from flooding.