U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ officials are gearing up and mobilizing equipment this week in response to a direct assistance request to mitigate risks to life safety and safeguard public infrastructure in Conconully, Washington.
The area became more vulnerable to flash flooding after the 2021 Muckamuck wildfire burned about 13,750 acres northwest of the town, increasing flood risk due to additional runoff that occurs over post-wildfire burn scars.
On July 4, 2022, a flash flood clogged the north fork of Salmon Creek with ash, sediment and woody debris, forcing flood waters and debris to jump the creek banks into the Town of Conconully, impacting homes and businesses.
Given the increased likelihood of imminent flooding in the Muckamuck watershed, the Governor of Washington requested the Corps provide direct assistance to protect the Town of Conconully and its public infrastructure.
The $639,500 federally funded project increases Salmon Creek channel capacity by reconnecting existing side channels and floodplains. The project includes removing sediment and debris as well as installing debris catch structures to reduce large debris-flow impacts downstream in town.
Channel capacity through Conconully will be increased by removing previous depositions and debris out from underneath bridges. In addition to reducing flood risk to the town of Conconully, the project will reestablish lost habitat for native species in the creek.
Construction will take place at five sites, both upstream of and in town, and is expected to be complete by early November.
Throughout the planning process, the Corps directly coordinated with the Town of Conconully, Okanogan County, Washington Emergency Management Division and the Colville Tribe in addition to several other interested agencies and stakeholders to develop a plan to mitigate flood risks to Conconully.