The Confluence Park stream restoration and pedestrian bridge projects were completed in 2017. The projects restored the floodplain, reduced channel encroachment, and stabilized the bank of the Issaquah Creek. A pedestrian bridge was also added to prevent the river being blocked by debris. Courtesy Photo

The Confluence Park stream restoration and pedestrian bridge projects were completed in 2017. The projects restored the floodplain, reduced channel encroachment, and stabilized the bank of the Issaquah Creek. A pedestrian bridge was also added to prevent the river being blocked by debris. Courtesy Photo

Issaquah submits annual floodplain mangement report to FEMA

Issaquah submits the annual floodplain management report to FEMA for certification.

Staying ahead of possible flood risks is a constant effort by cities throughout the state trying to reduce damage and lower insurance rates for citizens. To work toward that goal, the city of Issaquah has completed its annual floodplain management plan progress report.

The progress report details work implementing management and the mitigation of flood risks throughout the city.

Submitted to both the city council, mayor, and review by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the progress report is used in the National Flood Insurance Program’s community rating system (CRS) to reduce flood insurance premiums for those affected in the city.

By implementing floodplain management plans and regulations, cities receive a CRS rating that can reduce insurance rates for homeowners who have had to file flood insurance claims in the past.

Bob York, utilities engineering manager at the city, said the report isn’t just to get a good score with FEMA, but also to keep the community aware of the flood control efforts being made.

York said the CRS ratings range from Class 10 (the lowest) to Class 1 (the highest). In 2017, the city of Issaquah was ranked at Class 5, which is the highest rank of any city in King County. In Washington State’s 37 participating cities, counties, and tribes, only 14 are rated higher than Class 5.

The report also details the Repetitive Loss Program, a list of properties that have had at least two flood insurance claims of at least $1,000 in a 10-year period since 1978. Since 1980, about 69 percent of flood insurance claims in Issaquah have come from repetitive loss properties. There are 14 unmitigated properties on the list as of September.

Projects to mitigate the repetitive loss have been in the works since 2012. So far 10 projects have been completed. Five houses were demolish and converted to open space, four homes and commercial buildings were elevated, and one property was redeveloped with design to mitigate flood impacts.

In order to reduce flood insurance claims and manage the floodplain more effectively, the city has allocated money from the stormwater fund, grants from King County and FEMA, and bonds to purchase properties within the floodplain to prevent flooding damage.

“When we buy those houses, we remove the building that used to be on the property, and once you remove the building no more flood insurance is needed,” York said.

With the buildings removed, the floodplain properties are maintained as open green space which helps to support habitat restoration efforts as well.

York also noted several capital infrastructure improvements the city has made to steams and culverts. The report highlights projects like the Salmon Run Nature Park Stream Restoration, a project to restore and stabilize the riverbank of the Issaquah Creek below Northwest Juniper Street.

Issaquah also sees strong engagement in its emergency preparedness programs, the community emergency response team (CERT) and Map Your Neighborhood (MYN). York highlighted the CERT program in particular by noting that more than 700 citizens have become CERT volunteers.

Most recently, York said, the city has submitted a letter of map revision to FEMA. If accepted, the letter will update the map of mitigated floodplain land to show properties that once had houses are now open space. By demonstrating the continued efforts to prevent flooding damage, flood insurance rates could drop even more.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

Vote election badge. File photo
5th District results: Ramos leads House race; Anderson edging Mullett for state Senate

Early results have been reported in the 5th Legislative District races from… Continue reading

King County Election headquarters in Renton, on primary Election Day, Aug. 4. Voters can return their ballot and register in-person at the election headquarters and other voting centers by 8 p.m. Haley Ausbun/Staff photo.
Still time to vote in August primary

Turn in your ballot at any voting center by 8 p.m.

Did Republicans give up on the 5th District?

The sole Republican candidate has raised only $3,100.

Inslee mask graphic
Free mask event for King County residents, Aug. 4 in Bellevue

The drive-thru distribution event will offer two masks per person

Primary election 2020: Who will emerge as Inslee’s challenger?

Voting ends Tuesday in an election without big rallies and fund-raisers and face-to-face debates

Sex ed, local control at heart of race for WA state schools chief

Incumbent Chris Reykdal faces five foes who argue he’s pushing too many state policies on school districts.

Most Read