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Lower Russell Levee Setback Project

Project overview

The Lower Russell Levee Setback project is part of a larger overall flood management strategy for the lower Green River. The project is located in the City of Kent along the right (east) bank of the Green River between South 212th Street and Veterans Drive/South 228th Street.

This 1.4-mile-long levee improvement project replaced an old levee and revetment that do not meet current engineering design standards. The new levee is set back from the Green River to better protect residential and commercial development behind the levee. This also improves habitat for fish and wildlife. The project integrates existing road, trail and park amenities and enhances existing recreational opportunities.

The entire project is shown on Figure 1 below.

Lower Russell Levee Setback Project

View a larger version of the project overview

The Lower Green River Valley supports regionally significant economic assets that contribute over one eighth of Washington’s gross domestic product. The levee system in the Lower Green River Valley is old, outdated, and was originally constructed to protect agricultural lands rather than the regional economic infrastructure, businesses and residential land uses of today.

By setting the levee back from the river, this project supports long-term goals for the Green River levee system. Setting back the levee provides greater flood storage and conveyance capacity, increases shallow, slow water habitat for Endangered Species Act-listed fish, enhances recreational opportunities, and reduces long-term maintenance costs.

Project goals

  • Improve flood protection by replacing and upgrading 1.4 miles of existing levee and revetment with a new flood containment system that meets current engineering design standards and is built to a 0.2 percent annual chance (a.k.a., a 500-year) flood event.
  • Restore aquatic and riparian habitat for fish and wildlife, including species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The project is identified as a priority project in the 2005 WRIA 9 Salmon Habitat Plan.
  • Complement existing parks, trails, and open space, thereby creating a unified landscape that offers opportunities for active and passive recreation while at the same time restoring habitat and providing flood protection.
  • Reduce long-term maintenance costs.
A view of the Green River looking south at Van Doren's Park, Lower Russell Road and the levee in Nov. 2006 during a Phase 3 flood event (10,000 cfs).


Construction elements Phase 1

The project was constructed in phases with phase 1 construction beginning in 2019. Phase 1 included most of the floodwall and water main work (see figure 2 below). Phase 2 covered the remainder of the project, including the levee, habitat restoration, and park relocation. Planting outside Van Doren's park was conducted during Phase 2.

Phase 2 construction required closing Van Doren’s Landing Park to the public and closing Russell Road, north of the Russell Woods trailhead entrance.

Project schedule

Pre-design, alternative selection and 30% design
2014 to 2015
Property acquisition
2014 to 2020
Design and construction contract procurement
2016 to 2019
Phase 1 construction (floodwall and water main work)
2019 to 2020
Phase 2 construction
2020 to 2023
Project completion
Spring 2023

Project sponsors

This project is funded by the King County Flood Control District and Washington state grant funding. The King County River and Floodplain Management Section, as service provider to the King County Flood Control District, is managing this project in partnership with the City of Kent. The estimated project cost is just under $57 million. Grant funding included the following:

  • Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) - Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration (PSAR) Large Capital Projects grant administered by the Washington Recreation and Conservation office: approximately $4.8 million (final amount to be determined).
  • Cooperative Watershed Management (CWM) grant by the King County Flood Control District: $300,000.
  • Floodplains by Design grant managed by the Washington Department of Ecology: $4.9 million.