In 2021, the City of Sumner received a $15 million investment commitment from the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration (PSAR) Fund for the Lower White River Restoration Project, allowing the project to meet its $102 million funding goal and move forward to construction.

The project represents a major opportunity to restore floodplain habitat and achieve multiple benefits in the Lower White River reach. The project is in Sumner’s warehouse distribution center, the largest distribution center in Pierce County and one of the largest throughout the region. When this area floods, the impacts extend well beyond the local scale and affect the widespread communities and businesses served by this distribution center.

Emerging from the need to address impacts on the regional business center, the Lower White River Restoration Project has evolved into an impressive multi-benefit restoration effort that will mitigate flooding, provide critical fish habitat, and improve conditions for the surrounding community.

Project partners include the City of Sumner, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Pierce County, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, BNSF Railway, and Cascade Water Alliance, who have provided funding and other resources to advance the project.

  • The project includes four interrelated components:
  • Restore 170 acres of fish habitat
  • Create adjacent floodplain and riparian habitat to make space for floodwaters
  • Construct a levee to protect the neighboring businesses
  • Replace a bridge, allowing the river to migrate and improving conditions for multi-modal transportation (including connection to a regional trail system)

The Lower White River is an important reach with substantial constraints for floodplain restoration. This project will also leverage other major investments in habitat and flood risk reduction in the Lower White River, both completed (i.e., the Countyline Levee Setback and Mud Mountain Dam projects) and planned.

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