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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Winter 1997

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Field, John J. (John Jacob), 1961-

Second Advisor

Suczek, Christopher A., 1942-2014

Third Advisor

Berg, Richard H., 1937-


During November 1990 two floods on the Nooksack River breached flood control structures near the city of Everson, sending floodwater into the Sumas Overflow. The Sumas Overflow is a low area lying north of the Nooksack River stretching from Everson to the Vedder River in British Columbia, Canada. The 1990 floods resulted in more than $7 million in damage to the Sumas Overflow. The economic impacts of this loss prompted the construction of a levee extension to protect the Everson area from inundation.

Many residents of the Nooksack River floodplain, including Everson Mayor Matt Lagerway, claimed that the levee extension was responsible for keeping floodwater out of the Sumas Overflow during two subsequent floods in November 1995. The purpose of this thesis is to determine if the levee extension played a major role in reducing the amount of flood damage during the 1995 events.

Examination of the levee extension revealed that its construction did not raise the elevation of the drainage divide at the main overflow point between the cities of Everson and Nooksack. The levee extension protects part of the city of Everson, but its construction did not alleviate the flood hazard in the Sumas Overflow.

The floods of 1995 did not cause damage in the Sumas Overflow because the floods were too small to send significant amounts of water over the drainage divide. A flood on 29 November 1995 had a large enough peak discharge to overtop the divide, but its duration was too short to allow enough water to flow into the Sumas Overflow to result in damage.




Nooksack River floods, Sumas Overflow


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Floods--Washington (State)--Nooksack River; Floodplains--Washington (State)--Nooksack River; Flood control--Washington (State)--Nooksack River; Levees--Washington (State)--Nooksack River; Hydrology--Washington (State)--Nooksack River

Geographic Coverage

Nooksack River (Wash.)--Channels




masters theses




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