Chehalis River Basin

From Salish Sea Wiki

Chehalis planning sub-basins as defined by the Chehalis Lead Entity

"The Chehalis River begins at the confluence of the West Fork Chehalis River and East Fork Chehalis River, in southwestern Lewis County. From there the Chehalis flows north and east, collecting tributary streams that drain the Willapa Hills and other low mountains of southwestern Washington. The South Fork Chehalis River joins the main river a few miles west of the city of Chehalis. The Newaukum River joins the Chehalis River at Chehalis, after which the river turns north, flowing by the city of Centralia, where the Skookumchuck River joins. After Centralia, the Chehalis River flows north and west, collecting tributaries such as the Black River, which drains the Black Hills to the north, then in the Chehalis Gap collects the Satsop River and Wynoochee River, which drain the southern part of the Olympic Mountains. The Wynoochee River joins the Chehalis near Montesano, after which the Chehalis River becomes increasingly affected by tides and widens into Grays Harbor estuary. The city of Aberdeen lies at the mouth of the Chehalis River. Just east of Aberdeen, the Wishkah River joins the Chehalis, and just west, between Aberdeen and Hoquiam, the Hoquiam River joins. At this point the river has become Grays Harbor. Before the estuary of Grays Harbor empties into the Pacific Ocean, the Humptulips River joins." -Wikipedia


  • The Legislature created the Office of the Chehalis Basin in 2016 to support a new Chehalis Basin Board in overseeing a combined natural resource and flood hazard strategy. Voting members include three flood authority reps, two tribal reps, and two appointed by the governor. Ex-officio membership includes WDFW Habitat Restoration, Ecology Shorelands, WDNR, WDOT and WSCC.
  • [Chehalis Basin Strategy] - / defines the state plan for managing floods and habitats in the basin.
    • WDOE published a final EIS in 2017 -
    • Part of the strategy is an Aquatic Species Plan supported by WDFW and USFWS staff.
    • To support the plan the state legislature has appropriated funds through WDFW which runs a competitive process in the Lead Entity Habitat Work Group.
    • "For the 2017-2019 Biennium, restoration projects will be designed and constructed in the highest priority sub-basins of the Chehalis River Basin that have been identified through a rigorous scientific process: the Newaukum River, South Fork Chehalis River, Skookumchuck River, Satsop River and Wynoochee River. These sub-basins have the greatest potential to increase salmon abundance with restoration actions."
  • USFWS offers a Chehalis Fisheries Restoration Grants, typically $200k/year, with awards of less than $50k but also supporting outreach.
  • The Chehalis Lead Entity is responsible for salmon recovery planning under state law and provides technical review of grant funds
    • Allocates SRFB resources. There are regular meetings of the Habitat Work Group. Kirsten Harma is the coordinator, (360) 488-3232
  • The Newaukum Watershed has become a focus for collaborative restoration.
  • Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority - manages flood hazard mitigation for the basin connecting to FEMA and EMD resources.
  • [ Chehalis Land Trust] - / holds lands throughout the basin and has received USFWS funding for outreach and education.
  • Chehalis Basin Education Consortium - (clip) The Chehalis Basin Education Consortium (CBEC) is a partnership comprised of Educational Service District 113, school districts, natural resource agencies, Centralia College, the Chehalis River Council and other nonprofit agencies within the Chehalis watershed.The primary purpose of this project is “to support stewardship of the Chehalis watershed through environmental education by linking Washington’s learning goals and standards to environmental issues that are part of this watershed. In addition, the program aims to provide related professional development and enrichment opportunities for teachers.”
  • Greys Harbor College has a natural resources and forestry program
  • Greys Harbor Audubon Society - is an active NGO in the system.
  • Scatter Creek Watershed is a small tributary, but glacial gravels are part of a large groundwater recharge area that feed the River.
  • Multiple counties including Thurston County, Lewis County, and Greys Harbor County have adopted the Voluntary Stewardship Program model for CAO implementation. Only Thurston has an approved plan.