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Repairs to damaged Nooksack River levee in Ferndale coming this summer

Corp of Engineers and their contractors work to repair the Nooksack River levee in Ferndale (September 2010). Photo courtesy Ferndale Public Works.

FERNDALE, Wash. — Citing damages sustained during November flooding events in 2017 and 2018, officials with the US Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District are planning to make repairs to the Nooksack River levee in Ferndale this summer. The location of the repairs is on the west bank south of Main Street between Star Park and the river water intake building (see map below).

According to a letter dated October 2018 from the Corps of Engineers to the Department of Ecology,

The Corps has received Federal funding to repair the damage under the Federal Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act (PL 84-99) which authorizes rehabilitation to the level of protection exhibited by the flood control structure prior to the damaging event. The Corps plans to repair the levee in June 2019 to reduce the potential for additional damage to any structures or further damage to the levee during the next high water event.

The Ferndale levee project provides a 100year level of flood risk reduction to over 50 residences, several farms, multiple businesses, and public entities including, Central Elementary School, the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, the Ferndale City Hall and the combined Ferndale Water/Wastewater Treatment Plant.

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High river flows in the Nooksack River resulted in scour of the riverward levee slope and toe, including loss of riprap. The damage is upstream of the water treatment plant intake. The approximate area of missing material is triangular, approximately 20 feet high and 10 feet wide along 125 linear feet of levee. The levee provides a 1-year level of flood risk reduction in its damaged condition.

The damaged levee embankment would be excavated from the levee toe landward to the upper extents of the damaged area. Existing riprap and other material would be removed and reused in the repair or stockpiled in areas approved by the City of Ferndale or disposed off-site.

Construction is expected to last a few weeks sometime between June 15th and August 15th (identified as “the fish window” in documents). Native shrubs would be replaced in October or November.

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