The King County Flood Control District (FCD) on Tuesday approved $750,000 in grant funding to support phase 2 of the Newcastle Railroad Embankment Project.
The King County Flood Control District (FCD) on Tuesday approved $750,000 in grant funding to support phase 2 of the Newcastle Railroad Embankment Project. These funds were a part of a $14 million Flood Reduction Grants package for 2022 that the FCD awarded across 49 projects.
“It is absolutely necessary to fix the blockage that is constricting the flow of Newport Hills Creek, and I am pleased that this funding will support that fix,” said Flood Control District Vice Chair Reagan Dunn. “Not only will this project reduce the risk of flooding, but it will also make it easier for migrating fish to navigate the waterway, making this a project with multiple benefits.”
The Newcastle Railroad Embankment Project aims to prevent a catastrophic failure of the embankment, which acts as a dam and is in poor condition. Located within May Creek Park, the Railroad Embankment over Newport Hills Creek is a historic railroad bridge built and used during Newcastle's coal-mining era. Newport Hills Creek flows under the embankment through a culvert. Currently, the creek’s flow into the culvert is blocked by a standpipe, creating an artificial pond upstream of the embankment, the depth of which fluctuates and increases greatly during periods of heavy rainfall. The unknown construction and stability of the embankment, combined with the inability to control the pond depth, requires a fix.
Phase 1 of the project, completed in October 2020, removed the failing standpipe and installed a new standpipe at the same location. Phase 2 of the project will remove the standpipe and culvert to restore free flow and fish passage to Newport Hills Creek. The pond will be eliminated and the area immediately upland of the embankment will be restored. Final design for Phase 2 will being in 2022 and is scheduled for completion in 2023.
“We’re so appreciative of Councilmember Reagan Dunn and the King County Flood Control District’s support of this unique project," said Newcastle Mayor Linda Newing. "This grant will resolve issues associated with a high-hazard dam, and it will also eliminate a fish blockage to expand habitat for salmon. This project will benefit not only Newcastle residents, but the ecological health of the whole region.”
Now in its eighth year, the Flood Reduction Grant program funds smaller non-six-year Capital Improvement Plan projects supporting local communities including cities, homeowner associations, school districts, businesses, and non-profits. The program provides grant funding for projects with flood reduction benefits, including but not limited to, surface water overflows, near shore flooding, lake flooding due to outflow blockage, or the clearance of clogged agricultural drainage systems. In March of 2020, Flood Reduction Grants expanded to include three new grants categories providing funding for projects addressing the countywide flooding issues of urban streams, coastal erosion/coastal flooding, and culvert replacement/fish passage restoration.
The King County Flood Control District is a special purpose district that provides funding and policy oversight for flood risk reduction capital projects and programs in King County. For more information on Flood Reduction Grant opportunities, contact Supervisor Reagan Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.