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The Cedar River as it flows toward the Camp Freeman and Buck's Curve revetments.
The Cedar River as it flows toward the Camp Freeman and Buck's Curve revetments, viewed looking upstream (January 2021).

Project Overview

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    The Herzman to Camp Freeman project—formerly known as the Herzman Levee Setback Project—will provide flood and erosion risk reduction along a half mile reach of the Cedar River. The need for the project was originally identified in the Cedar River Capital Investment Strategy, completed in 2017, which evaluated flood and erosion risks and potential solutions throughout the lower Cedar River valley. King County is implementing this project as service provider to the King County Flood Control District.

    The project area includes the Herzman Levee, Camp Freeman Revetment, and a portion of the Buck’s Curve Revetment—all flood protection facilities along the right bank of the river that reduce erosion and channel migration risks to six homes and to Southeast Jones Road. In the same reach, on the left bank, the Cedar River Trail Site 2 (CRT2) Revetment provides protection for State Route 169, the Cedar River Trail, and underground utilities.

    A major flood in February 2020 caused an avulsion, a rapid shift in the location of the river channel in the project area. The river cut across the floodplain upstream from the project area, abandoning its channel next to the Herzman Levee. Downstream, the river eroded up to 80 feet of floodplain that once provided a buffer between the river and the Camp Freeman and Buck’s Curve revetments, significantly increasing risk to nearby homes and Southeast Jones Road.

    The furthest upstream portion of the Herzman Levee that protects Southeast Jones Road has an overly steep riverbank that was damaged in the February 2020 flood. However, for all but the largest floods the Herzman Levee is no longer in contact with the river.

    The project team is evaluating possible alternatives to repair the damaged levee and revetments to reduce flood risks to critical public infrastructure and the people who live nearby.

    The potential alternatives being considered include:

    • Repairing and reinforcing the Camp Freeman Revetment.
    • Repairing the unstable upstream end of the Herzman Levee and setting back the downstream segment, which would open nearly eight acres of floodplain habitat.
    • Reconnecting the river and its floodplain, which would increase the area available for the passage of flood water and provide slow water habitat needed by fish.
    • Maintaining or improving flood and erosion protection for homes in the area. 

    The project team is also coordinating with the Riverbend Levee Setback and Floodplain Restoration Project to complete upgrades to the CRT2 Revetment for improved stability and resiliency.

    Project Area

    The Herzman to Camp Freeman Project area is approximately 0.5 miles along the right bank of the Cedar River between Renton and Maple Valley, and about four miles east of the I-405/SR 169 interchange in unincorporated King County.

    It is adjacent to the Riverbend Levee Setback and Floodplain Restoration Project, which is in development. Due to their proximity, the projects are being coordinated to maximize the flood risk reduction and habitat benefits.          

    Herzman to Camp Freeman Project area map

    Project Goals

    • Repair and upgrade the damaged Camp Freeman and Buck’s Curve revetments to restore long-term protection for Southeast Jones Road.
    • Repair damages at the upstream end of the Herzman Levee to establish a stable bank and protect Southeast Jones Road and a residential property.
    • Remove or setback the downstream portion of the Herzman Levee, reconnecting access to the adjacent floodplain for storing and passing flood water and providing habitat for juvenile salmonids.
    • Reduce the frequency of future maintenance and repair needs by improving the resiliency of the Herzman Levee and Camp Freeman and Buck’s Curve revetments.
    • Protect and improve existing riparian and aquatic habitat in the reach.
    • Maximize multi-benefits of flood risk reduction and habitat by coordinating the design with the Riverbend Levee Setback and Floodplain Restoration Project located immediately upstream.

    Project Timeline

    Benchmark Date
    Acquisitions 2017-2020
    Planning and Alternatives Selection Summer 2020 to Spring 2021
    Preliminary Design (30 percent) Fall 2021
    Final Design and Permits Fall 2022
    Construction Completed Fall 2023
          The Cedar River flows again Southeast Jones Road and the Camp Freeman and Buck's Curve Revetments.
    The Cedar River flows against Southeast Jones Road and the Camp Freeman and Buck's Curve Revetments.

    Project Sponsors

    The alternatives analysis and preliminary design of the project were funded by a Floodplains by Design grant from the State Department of Ecology. Subsequent phases of the project, including final design and construction, will be funded by the King County Flood Control District, partner agencies, and grants.  

    Additional Information

    For more information about the Herzman to Camp Freeman Project, please contact Nancy Sandford (formerly Nancy Faegenburg), Project Manager, King County River and Floodplain Management Section, Water and Land Resources Division, Department of Natural Resources and Parks.