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Series of farm meetings held this month

Three meetings this month will help farmers in the Green River Valley learn more about how to ensure the safety of their farm operations, livestock, equipment and families.

The first sessions is planned for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Flaming Geyser State Park lodge. Subsequent mettings will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 17 at Auburn City Hall and 1 to 3 p.m. in the Turf Club at Emerald Downs.

Sponsored by King County and the King County Agriculture Commission, the meetings are part of a coordinated effort to provide details about the heightened flood risk this year in the Green River Valley because of operational problems at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Howard Hanson Dam in the upper Green River watershed.

Farmers and agricultural landowners face unique circumstances when dealing with potential flooding, including potentially relocating livestock and equipment and managing hazardous materials like fuel, fertilizers and other chemicals.

At the meetings, King County staff will provide an update on the county’s efforts in response to possible flood impacts and provide resources that will let agricultural landowners know how they can best protect themselves, their families and their property against floods.

Storage capacity at the Corps’ Howard Hanson Dam is temporarily restricted until repairs can be made to the right abutment of the dam, which was damaged in January when the dam held back a record amount of water after a heavy rainfall.

King County has already taken several proactive steps to help increase public safety in the event of Green River Valley flooding, including a public-information campaign to get the word out about this heightened risk of flooding, enhancing Flood Warning Center operations and flood patrol crews in response to possible flooding, and stepping up coordination with cities and state and federal agencies.

King County is also working to help ensure farmers and agricultural landowners have the information they need to keep themselves, their livestock and property safe, including:

• Developing a resource list of possible locations where farm animals can be sheltered and equipment stored; and

•Recommending immunizations for livestock and pets prior to the wet season, which will help prevent illness if the animals are exposed to floodwaters or other animals at a shelter site.

The Corps is making safety repairs to the dam, including constructing an interim seepage barrier wall and improving the drainage tunnel to control seepage through a critical portion of the dam’s right abutment.

For more information about how King County and the King County Flood Control District are preparing for and responding to the heightened flood risk and for flood planning links to affected cities visit www.kingcounty.gov/floodplans, or www.kingcountyfloodcontrol.org.

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