Jones Levee Feasibility Study

Current Status

Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Pierce County completed the draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment (IFR/EA) for the Jones Levee Flood Control Feasibility Study.

The draft IFR/EA presents the results of a Corps Flood Risk Management feasibility study to identify and evaluate alternatives for managing the flood risks along Jones Levee in the city of Orting, Washington.  The recommended plan consists of three major components: a setback levee, breaching of the existing levee, and engineered log jams. The proposed setback is approximately 6,414 feet long and moves the levee alignment landward.

About the Project

The Jones Levee is the connection between the Ford and Wolfe (Calistoga} setback levees. The project is a levee setback project designed to work in combination with the Ken Wolfe (Calistoga) setback levee to provide an improved level of flood protection to the City of Orting. Together, these three levees will help reduce flood risk to the City of Orting. Three primary contributors to increased flood risks are (1) development in the floodplain, (2) deposition of sediment, and (3) significant channel migration potential. 

Development in the floodplain has increased risk to life safety, property, and infrastructure. Levees confine the Puyallup and Carbon Rivers next to the City of Orting and limit channel capacity, increasing flood risk. Since 1990, major flood events in the basin occurred in 1990, 1996, 2006, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2020. Flooding can cause significant damages. Pierce County is currently working on the 2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan to create a resilient community. The increased area the river will be able to occupy after project completion has benefits to salmon habitat as well as offsetting the effects of the deposition of sediment. The US Army Corps of Engineers will take the lead in design and construction.

Project History

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, has partnered with Pierce County to address flood risk at Jones Levee under the Continuing Authorities Program (CAP) Section 205. Modifications to Jones Levee to protect the City of Orting were evaluated as part of the Puyallup River General Investigation Study (GI) from 2009 to 2018 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District in partnership with Pierce County. The Corps released a Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (FR/EIS) for the GI in 2016, which recommended raising Jones Levee. Significant public comments and concerns were put forward with the raise-in-place recommendation due to environmental impacts associated with the levee modification. Several comments were received supporting a setback levee option which provides secondary benefits in the form of increased habitat value to the primary benefit of flood protection. The Puyallup River GI Study was cancelled in 2018 due to economic infeasibility (costs outweighed benefits).  Upon its cancellation, this CAP Section 205 study was initiated to further study alternatives for Jones Levee given significant flood risk concerns and opportunities to reduce flood risk with a smaller scale flood risk management project.

The non-Federal partner for this project is Pierce County.