News Release

Mount Rainier National Park has released the Upper Nisqually River Levee Retrofit Environmental Assessment for Public Comment

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Date: October 29, 2018
Contact: Karen Thompson or Tracy Swartout, 360-569-6510

ASHFORD, Wash. - The National Park Service (NPS) has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) to analyze the potential impacts and benefits of a proposal submitted by Pierce County Planning and Public Works (Pierce County) to retrofit the upper Nisqually River levee with deflectors in Mount Rainier National Park. Pierce County maintains the levee within the park under a right-of-way (ROW) permit. The primary purpose of the proposed action would be 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.

This EA evaluates three alternatives: Alternative A (no action), including continued maintenance and repairs; Alternative B, representing the installation of rock deflectors; and Alternative C, the installation of engineered log jams near Sunshine Point in addition to deflectors, adjacent to the upstream end of the levee, located in the park.

In 1961, the county obtained a right-of-way permit to construct and operate the upper half of the levee, which is located within the park. 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. The levee was heavily damaged during the November 2006 flood event, which temporarily closed the Nisqually to Paradise Road within the park, and destroyed the Sunshine Point Campground. Since that time, less severe flooding has repeatedly damaged the levee, requiring repairs in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2017.

If you wish to comment on this EA, you may post comments online using the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at: or mail comments to: Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, Washington, 98304. This EA will be available for public review and comment for 30 days, ending at 11:00 pm PT on November 28.

Last updated: October 29, 2018

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