Flood victims worry as Army Corp of Engineers faces huge cut

Flood victims worry as Army Corp of Engineers faces huge cut »Play Video
Chehalis was hit hard by huge floods in 2007.
CHEHALIS, Wash. -- A warning from Sen. Maria Cantwell: President Barack Obama's budget poses a flood danger for Washington state.

The budget for the Army Corps of Engineers faces a cut of $913 million.

That's bad news for places like Chehalis, which was hit hard by huge floods in 2007.

In Chehalis is a dike that protects an airport, a shopping center and Interstate 5. But in 2007, it didn't. One proposal is to raise the dike.

Other ideas include water retention dams upstream from Boistfort and Curtis.

The people around here remember 2007. And they wonder why Congress doesn't.

And they wonder what will happen to them if there is no project and they are just told it's time to move.

Aaron Wilson's home is seven feet higher than it was four years ago. Still, he worries and he hopes for a solution.

"The state says water is not a renewable resource. But when I look up, the water keeps coming down," said Wilson.

When asked what he'd tell the president, Wilson said, "What would I tell him? I'd like to see them put some dams on the river."

Dave Fenn lives in Boistfort, a few miles up the river. He's worried about any big cut for the corps.

"And it would concern me, we have a serious problem in this basin have had for 150 years, we finally have a group of people who are serious about trying to get something done and the corps has to be part of the solution," said Dave Fenn, who lives in a flood plain.

During the 2007 floods, 13 planes were damaged or destroyed at the airport.

The airport manager says the people here are so worried that the federal plans will be slowed down, they are looking for ways to improve the dike themselves:

"We looked at raising the levee ourselves," said airport manger Allyn Roe, adding the project would cost an arm and a leg. "Yes, we are looking at funding from various sources."

Lewis County commissioners say all they know is that the corps faces across-the-board cuts. They say they don't know what the impact will be here in Lewis County.