Everson Flow Split Reach

As a result of the catastrophic November 2021 flooding, a priority for flood hazard reduction was is being revisited for the area upstream of Everson where water overflows the Nooksack River and flows north to Sumas, Abbotsford, and the Fraser River.

Everson Flow Split area

Location

The Everson Flow Split Reach is located at the confluence of three of the lower river reaches – Reach 4 (Deming to Everson), Reach 3 (Everson to Guide Meridian), and Reach 5 (Everson to Sumas).

Team Members 

The Everson Flow Split Reach Team is comprised of members from the tribal governments of Lummi Nation and the Nooksack Indian Tribe and a diverse group of stakeholders representing interests of the agricultural community, small cities (Everson, Nooksack, Sumas, Lynden and Ferndale), Whatcom County, public and private utilities, state and federal agencies, and universities. The reach team is supported technically by consulting facilitators, engineers, geomorphologists, and biologists.   

Goals

  • Reduce flood risk in the Everson-Sumas overflow corridor without transferring risk downstream
  • Reduce flood risk throughout the floodplain and improve habitat in the mainstem
  • Create long-term dependable funding program(s) to support flood risk reduction and salmon recovery
  • Complete technical foundation and alternatives analysis of flood risk reduction measures to enable selection of a preferred alternative
  • Inform the Floodplain Integrated Planning (FLIP) process  

Status

Team members attended a design charrette and field trip on April 25-26, 2022 to: 

  • Develop shared values among the team members for the reach
  • Share reach information and perspectives on cultural importance, land uses, community concerns/interests, hydrology, hydraulics, habitat, and geomorphology 
  • Generate ideas and possible solutions to address flood risk reduction and salmon recovery within the reach that align with the shared values of the team members
  • Further develop the ideas/possible solutions into project concepts 

Some of the project concepts being considered as a result of the design charrette include: 

  • Setting back the Twin View levee and possibly widening the SR-544 bridge to give the river more capacity
  • Acquiring homes of willing property owners and removing structures located in the floodway where floodwaters flow north to Canada during large floods.
  • Building berms around populated areas to protect them when the river overflows at Everson. 
  • Strategic gravel removal in areas that will increase the river’s capacity without damaging other properties or salmon and salmon habitat.

A draft list of actions have been developed to evaluate and potentially advance the above project concepts and overall reach strategies resulting from the design charrette including: 

  • Long-term stable funding and international coordination initiative
  • Land use planning/rezoning/regulation
  • Education and communication
  • Technical work and alternatives analyses – 1 year deadline
  • Design and construction of the preferred alternative of identified capital projects 
  • Acquisition and elevation assistance program 
  • Early action – side channel enhancement project (planned construction 2022) 
  • Improvements to emergency response, coordination and communication  

The reach team will meet again in Fall 2022 to discuss the outcomes of the design charrette and share feedback to ensure that team members are in agreement with the proposed list of actions and that they align with the shared values of the team. The list of actions will be adjusted to ensure there is collective buy-in before moving forward with the plan. 


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