The public is invited to review and comment on the Upper Nisqually River Levee Retrofit Environmental Assessment, which was recently released by the National Parks Service.

An Environmental Assessment analyzed the potential impacts and benefits of a proposed retrofit to the upper Nisqually River levee, according to a National Parks Service press release.

A proposal from Pierce County includes retrofitting the levee with deflectors in Mount Rainier National park. Pierce County maintains the levee in the park under a right-of-way permit, the press release stated. The primary action of the deflectors is to reduce the effects of erosional flows that have resulted in repetitive damage to the levee and to reduce the long-term maintenance frequency of this nearly one-mile long flood control facility.

There are three alternatives that were assessed by the National Parks Service;

  • Alternative A was to propose no action except to continue maintenance and repairs on the levee
  • Alternative B represented the installation of rock deflectors
  • Alternative C represented the installation of engineered logjams near Sunshine Point in addition to deflectors, adjacent to the upstream end of the levee, located in Mount Rainier National Park.

“In 1961, the county obtained the right-of-way permit to construct and operate the upper half of the levee,” the press release stated. “The county levee was constructed to protect the historic Nisqually Entrance, the Nisqually to Paradise Road, Sunshine Point Campground and the small residential community and businesses located west of the park boundary.”

In November 2006, a flood caused heavy damage to the levy, which temporarily closed the Nisqually to Paradise Road within the park, according to the press release. The flood also destroyed the Sunshine Point Campground. Since then, less severe flooding has repeatedly damaged the levee requiring repairs in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2017.

Any residents who wish to review and comment on the Environmental Assessment may post comments online at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/nisquallylevee or mail comments to: Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 52210 238th Ave. E., Ashford, WA 98304.

Comments will be accepted through 11 p.m. on Nov. 28.