Smelt Dip in Castle Rock

Image from an open water smelt dip along the Cowlitz River in Castle Rock in February.

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler has helped to land $870,000 in federal funding intended to protect against potential flooding on the lower Cowlitz River, the congresswoman’s office announced Monday, Sept. 14.

The funding will be used to monitor sediment and conduct predesign work for the sediment retention structure (SRS) on the lower part of the river, a news release from Herrera Beutler’s office stated. The more than three-quarter million dollars in funding will allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take on sediment monitoring, easing the financial burden on local governments who have had to handle the federally-required burden in recent years, according to the release.

“Protecting Cowlitz County communities from potential devastating floods is of extreme importance, and in order to accomplish that goal, we have to adequately monitor the Lower Cowlitz River and buildup of sediment caused by the eruption of Mount St. Helens,” Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, said in the release. “I’m grateful to the City of Longview and Cowlitz County for their work to help me secure the funding necessary to help protect homes, businesses, and families from potential life-threatening floods.”

Cowlitz County commissioner Dennis Weber thanked Herrera Beutler’s help in securing the funding in the release as well as the rest of the area’s Congressional delegation, noting that sediment issues resulted from the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption.

“Their collective work ensures that valuable local funding won’t have to be used to meet this federal responsibility and puts us on a path to receiving annual federal appropriations for sediment monitoring along the Cowlitz River,” Weber said in the release.

Herrera Beutler had pressed the Army Corps of Engineers and the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on a prior lack of funding for sediment monitoring she had pushed for last year, the release noted, adding she had worked with the OMB to approve the Corps’ request to reconfigure funding to address the needs covered in the recently-announced funding.

— The Reflector

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