WHAT WE DO

The SVPA plays an important role in creating an organized and sustained voice for the community. Our community of supporters enables us to participate in and even lead strategic initiatives over a prolonged period of time. Water and land use issues impacting these working resource lands are complex, and the valley community is best served by consistent representation over years and decades.

Here is an example of some of our recent projects:

Past Projects

  1. Launch the Watershed Improvement District: Farmers have long recognized that there is often too much or too little water for productive farming.  The purpose of the watershed improvement district is to address water needs on a system-wide basis, protect water rights, increase access to irrigation, and address drainage issues. The SVPA helped the community form the district and secured resources to launch this powerful tool to empower the community to achieve sustainable water management.
  2. Participated in comprehensive Fish-Farm-Flood watershed management initiative: the first of its kind, the FFF process was facilitated by King County to help balance competing needs among various groups who rely on these working resource lands for their survival. The SVPA had a seat at the 14-member advisory committee, and was instrumental in organizing the valley community and seeking meaningful input to help the committee reach its historic agreement.
  3. Protected 180 acres of farmland from becoming a housing subdivision: after the Tall Chief Golf Course closed its business, a housing subdivision was being proposed. The SVPA challenged the master plan, which resulted in King County purchasing the property and returning it to farmland.
  4. Filed a lawsuit against the US ACE for downstream impacts of their construction project. The SVPA’s first act was to challenge the widening and lowering of Snoqualmie Falls. The project proponents did not have an adequate downstream impact study; King County Flood Control District conducted the impact study after the fact, and found that the project, in conjunction with the 205 Project, violated the zero-rise standard that King County residents are normally held to.

Current Projects

  1. Make farms, residents and rural businesses safer during floods:
    No single factor impacts the viability of farms more than the river itself. Flooding is a part of life in the Snoqualmie Valley, but flooding made worse and less predictable by human intervention must be addressed if farms, businesses and residents are to thrive. Development activity upstream and downstream can result in flood devastation from any combination of higher peak flows, slower drainage, less reliable flood warning and monitoring tools, and late season flooding, which can destroy spring plantings. Our work focuses on both long and short-term solutions to these problems. To address the long-term issue of flooding in the face of an uncertain climate future, the SVPA is spearheading an effort to pursue environmentally responsible flood storage, which can be released during the extreme low flows of late summer to benefit salmon and provide water supply for cities and farmers. Generally, this concept is simple, but is of course extremely complex. The SVPA has undertaken an initiative to more clearly define the needs for water storage. We are pursuing a robust needs assessment to quantify and to characterize the water management needs of fish, cities, farmers, and all those who are impacted by either too much or too little water. We are currently scoping the study, seeking funding, and hope to have it underway by early 2018.
  2. Floodzilla 2.0: Citizen-science gaging program:
    the SVPA is working on a tool to make it easier to track what’s happening while it’s happening, and also to collect data to gain insight on how flooding is changing.A small team of dedicated members of the valley community, led by Floodzilla author Geary Eppley, is working to deploy remote sensed flood monitors. We have 10 units in field testing, and expect to have 20 units deployed by December 2017.In addition to the remote sensors, we are also working on a tool to facilitate and organize community members’ observations to provide up to date information while floods are happening. Observations such as water levels, road closures, and flood damage would be loaded by users and stored over time. Users could check in to see what is happening upstream, which is especially useful for individuals needing to prepare for floods.
  3. Strategic Watershed Planning:
    the 3-year Fish-Farm-Flood process was a major step in watershed planning efforts, and much was gained through that process. This work is perhaps the hardest to describe, but it is arguable the most important. The SVPA is a voice for the farming and rural community in these very important discussions. And it is paramount that the discussion be sustained over time by a group that is consistent and accountable. Managing the limited resources in this valley against a variety of competing interests is difficult; but if we all work together, we will all be better off.
  4. Monitoring major development activities
    We are currently working with other interested parties to monitoring the impacts of large scale proposed developments, including the Snoqualmie Mill site and the Pearson Eddy WRP Restoration near Duvall. If you have concerns about a proposed project, please let us know; we’d like to hear about it. Email cynthia@svpa.us.