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Posted 4/16/2014

Release no. 14-019

Tanya King

SEATTLE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, has nearly completed construction of the temporary berm within the SR530 slide area. Though the berm is complete in length, construction efforts have now shifted to raising the berm an additional foot ahead of predicted heavy rainfall.

The additional height is expected to help reduce potential flooding risks, and the Corps is maintaining close coordination and communication with Snohomish County officials as recovery workers continue to search the area. 

“We have until tomorrow, based on the current forecasts, to get the berm above the predicted rainfall peak and that’s our main focus,” said Doug Weber, the Seattle District Emergency Management Branch Chief.  “We expect it to be raised by midday Thursday, ahead of the forecasted rainfall.”

The 3,000-linear-foot berm, made from 20,000 tons of rock, gravel and earthen materials, was constructed under difficult conditions. Work on the berm began only a week ago.  It was built through areas of deep water and has been accessible only via a gravel road by a USACE team and workers from Snohomish County public works. 

The temporary berm is located near mile post 37 at C Post Road and is used to help recovery workers pump out water from a search area, reduce flood impacts and prevent near-term flooding of State Route 530. The berm is a temporary flood prevention measure designed to prevent flooding under normal spring runoff conditions.

The Corps’ work is at the request of Snohomish County, and has been coordinated with the Stillaguamish, Tulalip and Sauk-Suiattle Tribes, State of Washington, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and County officials.

Public Law 84-99 enables the Corps to assist state and local authorities in flood fight activities and cost share in the repair of flood protection structures. The purpose is to prevent loss of life and minimize property damage associated with severe weather.