Spirit Lake / Toutle-Cowlitz River Collaborative (SLTCRC)

In early 2021, The Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) entered into an agreement with the Ruckelshaus Center to facilitate bringing local, state, federal, and tribal government entities together to develop an entity or collaborative to address long-term management in the Spirit Lake, Toutle/Cowlitz system. The driving force for this effort arose out of local and federal agency desire to efficiently address ongoing issues resulting from the 1980 eruption of Mt. Saint Helens.

The Spirit Lake, Toutle/Cowlitz River Collaborative (SLTCRC) is an outcome of a recommendation by the 2018 National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) report for agencies and entities with management responsibilities to create a system-level entity to share information and identify opportunities to address sediment management and risks associated with catastrophic flood risk in the Spirit Lake and Toutle/Cowlitz River system. The NASEM report was commissioned by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) after the U.S. Congressional delegation requested the USFS, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to generate long-term Spirit Lake level management solutions.

The work of the collaborative led to the CWCOG receiving funding from the Washington Department Ecology to lead the administration of the effort. The funding runs for twelve months through June 2023. The CWCOG is named as the Administrative Coordination Entity in the Collaborative’s Declaration of Cooperation. Long-term funding for the collaborative is on the action plan for the 2022-23 year.

Signatories to The Declaration of Cooperation (2021-2022) – Governments & Special Purpose Districts:

  • WA Dept. of Ecology
  • WA Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Cowlitz Indian Tribe
  • Confederated Tribes & Bands of the Yakama Nation
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
  • NOAA Fisheries
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration
  • Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board
  • Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments
  • City of Kelso
  • City of Castle Rock
  • City of Longview
  • Port of Longview
  • Cowlitz Conservation District
  • Consolidated Diking Improvement District #1
  • Cowlitz County Cowlitz PUD

Participation by Non-Governmental and Other Interested Parties:
Participation provides the collaborative opportunities to work with individuals and entities that have interests or are affected by management decisions in the system. Opportunities may exist to pursue grants and other funding opportunities that can further the goals of the collaborative.

Organizations and Interested/Affected Parties as of Late 2021 – Early 2022 (non-signatories)

  • Mount Saint Helens Institute
  • Cascade Forest Conservancy
  • Wildlands Network Pinchot Partners

Academic Researchers (e.g., from Universities of Nottingham & Washington; Washington State University)

  • Eco-Park Resort
  • Catalyst Environmental Solutions
  • Pacific Northwest Waterways Association
  • Members of the Public

U.S. Congressional Delegation

  • Office of Senator Maria Cantwell
  • Office of Senator Patty Murray
  • Office of Representative Jaime Herrera-Beutler
  • Lower Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group

SLTCRC Collaborative

Meeting Materials

SLTCRC Steering Committee

Meeting Materials

Mission

The SLTCRC developed and agreed on the following Mission Statement in late 2021 and early 2022, to guide the first five years of the group’s efforts:

To share information, build understanding, and develop and coordinate management solutions to address sediment transport and flood protection in the Spirit Lake, Toutle/ Cowlitz River system while enhancing ecological benefits and serving the many needs of the communities within the system.

Shared Values

  • Safety for downstream communities
  • Restored, healthy ecosystems
  • Access: increasing for recreation; maintaining for research & education​
  • Securing sufficient funding for planning & implementation​
  • Managing for multiple functions & benefits​
  • Reducing intervention via engineered structures in favor of natural processes

Participation by Non-Governmental and Other Interested Parties:

Collaborative meetings are open to the public. Meeting participation by non-members provides the collaborative opportunities to work with individuals and entities that have interests or are affected by management decisions in the system. Opportunities may exist to pursue grants and other funding opportunities that can further the goals of the collaborative.

  • Participants will follow ground rules and operating protocols identified by the collaborative.
  • Participants will engage in ways befitting their missions and resources (e.g., supplying information resources, entering mutually beneficial partnerships).
  • Participants can also assist with broader public outreach and education on issues of importance to the collaborative.

Click here to view the Declaration of Cooperation