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When they released their proposed capital budget Wednesday, Senate leaders declared a focus on jobs and habitat restoration. These are noble priorities that are also at the heart of the Floodplains by Design program, an innovative approach to flood- risk reduction and habitat restoration.

The last round of Floodplains by Design-funded projects supported 780 jobs at nine locations – and protected homes and buildings worth over $115 million.

One example: The town of Orting had a project that was put to the test last winter when the Puyallup River reached flood stage in November and twice more in December. But thanks to restoration and levee setbacks funded in part by Floodplains By Design, the river stayed within its banks. Orting and surrounding communities avoided evacuations and flood damages.

So why, then, isn’t Floodplains by Design in the Senate’s budget?

The House of Representatives proposed $43 million in their capital budget last week. This Senate proposal takes the momentum out of a program that can best solve today’s complex river management demands.

Ken Wolfe, Orting