Snoqualmie has a magnificent natural setting with views of Mount Si, Rattlesnake Ridge, the Cascade Mountains and the Snoqualmie River corridor providing a striking community backdrop. The City’s interconnectedness with nature provides some burdens as well as blessings; rainwater and mountain snowmelt entering the Snoqualmie River frequently subjects the city to damaging flooding, flowing through the City with few flood control measures. The Army Corps of Engineers estimated the average annual cost of flood damage in the Snoqualmie Valley to be over three million dollars (in 1981 dollars - approximately eight million in 2016 dollars).
The City has zoned the more hazardous area along the Snoqualmie River as Open Space, and has been acquiring riverfront residential properties with FEMA and other grant funds when properties come on the market. The City hopes to acquire additional residential properties along the Snoqualmie River within City limits ("Riverfront Reach") for the overlapping purposes of removing flood-prone riverfront houses, restoring open space along the River, and providing a riverfront trail.
In conjunction with the King County Flood Control District (FCD), Snoqualmie has designated high risk, chronically affected and repetitive loss riverfront properties within the floodway for eventual acquisition (click on map at left to link to larger version). The city’s primary source of funding for Riverfront Reach property acquisitions comes from an agreement with FCD to acquire up to 20 riverfront properties at FCD funding of $150,000 per property. Developed properties cost more than $150,000, so the additional costs are met with grant funds from FEMA and the King County Conservation Futures Tax Levy (CFT). CFT grants have minimum 50% matching funds requirements that are met using the FCD and FEMA funds. The City funds minor costs associated with project management staff and maintenance from its operating budget.
Flood hazard areas in Snoqualmie are defined as the area subject to inundation by the 100-year flood, or the area that has at least a one percent probability of inundation in any given year (floodplain). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodway is the channel of the river or other watercourse, and those floodplain portions, that must be reserved to discharge base floodwaters without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than one foot. Streams, lakes, wetlands, and closed depressions all have floodplains that may also qualify as flood hazard areas. The floodway and floodplain are delineated on the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the Snoqualmie area.
All new residential construction in the floodway is prohibited per state law, and all new structures in the floodplain must be constructed with the main floor elevated above the 100-year base-flood elevation per FEMA requirements. The City also requires the creation of compensatory storage for any new fill in the floodplain, and encourages property owners to raise existing homes above the 100-year flood level.
The Snoqualmie 2032 Vision calls for development of a destination “Riverwalk” trail loop along both sides of the Snoqualmie River that connects multiple areas of the city; links with the Snoqualmie Valley Trail and Preston-Snoqualmie Trail; showcases our natural beauty; and is widely enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. This plan is laid out in the 2015 Snoqualmie Riverwalk Master Plan. The City has been acquiring riverfront properties with multiple funding partners, pursuing multiple objectives to reduce potential flood risks, enhance the natural shoreline environment, and enable the Riverwalk. The City is also coordinating with King County on completing the missing links of the regional Snoqualmie Valley and the Snoqualmie-Preston trails, with links to city trails, creating a local and regional trail hub that would attract hiking and biking enthusiasts.
Map and list of properties designated for acquisition Riverfront Reach Properties Designated for Acquisition.
Two most recent acquisitions:
King County - (Page 7 & 8 of attached “AB18-129”) King County Property
Venable - (Last page of attached “AB-18-042”)Venable Property
King County Flood Control District Funding Agreement Interlocal Agreement.
City of Snoqualmie Riverwalk Project Information at Riverwalk Project.