Puget Sound Innovation Stories

Calistoga Levee Setback



WRIA: 10

CITY, COUNTY: Orting, Pierce County

Project Summary

Man-made levee systems disconnect the river from its floodplain and prevented the large river systems from meandering. In Orting, the Puyallup River would overtop existing levees during large storms, commonly causing flooding and property damage. Reconnecting the Puyallup River to its floodplain restored natural riverine processes and created off channel habitat for salmon.  The project added about 100 acres of floodwater storage and off-channel habitat for salmon.

Key Actions

  • 1.5 mile setback levee reconnected approximately 53 acres of floodplain of the river
  • Two culverts will be installed for 55 acres of salmon access, inaccessible since the 1930s
  • Planted the floodplain with native trees and shrubs to increase floodplain forest habitat
  • Added about 100 acres of floodwater storage and off-channel habitat for salmon


  • Increased flood protection while restoring salmon habitat for three salmonid species
  • Near immediate use of juvenile salmon was observed in the newly accessible habitat
  • Newly planted native riparian vegetation and installed rootwads enhanced riparian areas and provided habitat for young fish
  • This and a handful of other levee setbacks in the area have been credited with raising the flood warning levels for this section of the Puyallup River, decreasing flood risk for these communities


Project Partners

  • City of Orting
  • Pierce County
  • Pierce County Flood District
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • WA State Department of Ecology
  • Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration (PSAR) Fund
  • Salmon Recovery Funding Board
  • Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Board
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

 Project Cost: $19 million; $907,000 PSAR funds

More Info

Publish Date: August 24, 2017
Category: Salmon
Congressional Districts: Congressional Dist. 8
Legislative Districts: Legislative Dist. 2
Counties: Pierce
Habitat Types: Floodplain | Rivers & Streams