Wilkeson lands state grant to help with flood prevention

The town of Wilkeson will be one of 12 Washington communities to receive funding from the Washington Department of Ecology to prevent future damage from floods.

During the 2009 legislative session, state lawmakers created a special account to help towns, cities and counties fund targeted flood damage prevention activities.

Wilkeson will receive $150,000 to restore and stabilizes stream banks.

According to an Ecology press release, the Legislature directed Ecology to give priority to communities least able to fund flood mitigation projects and those projects most ready to proceed.

"We're trying to get it done before winter sets in," said Mayor Janet Kepka, who also noted the town had applied for $300,000 in funding. "We're trying to do as much as we can with it (the funds received)."

Town clerk and treasurer Meredith Shirey said the money will be used to provide some permanent stabilization of the bank along Wilkeson and Gale creeks. During January's heavy rains, Wilkeson's creeks ran over their banks, washing into homes, shutting down the state highway and damaging a water line.

A temporary fix has been protecting the water and sewer lines that cross the creek. The money is expected to provide a more permanent solution.

“The recent catastrophic floods we experienced in 2007 and earlier this year highlight how critical it is to get these funds out to our local communities,” said Gordon White, who oversees Ecology’s statewide shoreline and environmental assistance activities.

In all, 38 communities submitted applications for 41 projects valued at $18 million. Ecology, however, only had $1.35 million for state assistance.

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