AP NEWS

Federal budget does not fund volcano debris dam, monitoring

February 13, 2020 GMT

LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — The annual federal budget does not fund a request to raise the height of a dam in Washington state to stop debris flow from the Mount St. Helens eruption, county officials said.

President Donald Trump’s annual budget proposal does not include money to raise the Toutle River sediment retaining dam, The Daily News reports.

The 1980 eruption dumped about 3 billion tons of erodible debris in the upper Toutle Valley, which could clog the Cowlitz River and raise the risk of flooding.

The fiscal year 2021 budget would mark the sixth consecutive year the federal government has not funded the region’s volcano-related flood control obligations, officials said.

The Portland District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to raise the dam another 10 feet (3 meters) in 2022 and requested funds to design the project.

The budget also fails to provide requested funds to monitor Mount St. Helens sediment.

“Without the data we are flying blind as far as understanding what our level of (flood) protection is, and that impacts so many different communities within the county,” Cowlitz County Commissioner Joe Gardner said.