We invite you to review and comment on the Capitol Lake – Deschutes Estuary Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by August 13, 2021.
This Draft EIS is an impartial, comprehensive discussion of project goals, long-term management alternatives, potential significant impacts and benefits, and ways to avoid or minimize impacts.
Historically, what is now known as Capitol Lake was part of the Deschutes Estuary, where freshwater from the Deschutes River would mix with saltwater from Budd Inlet over expansive tidal flats. The Deschutes Estuary has long-standing cultural and spiritual significance to local tribes, particularly the Squaxin Island Tribe.
Between 1949 and 1951, a dam was constructed at 5th Avenue and without the tidal exchange, the area was transformed into a freshwater lake, fed primarily by the Deschutes River. The waterbody was renamed Capitol Lake. Capitol Lake is the 260-acre waterbody located on the Washington State Capitol Campus, adjacent to downtown Olympia, at the base of Puget Sound. Capitol Lake was designed as part of the Washington State Capitol Campus, and it quickly became an important visual and recreational resource to the community.
It has existed as Capitol Lake for more than 70 years, and for most of that time the community, agencies, and decision-makers have considered how to best manage the resource.
Neither short-term actions (e.g., dredging) nor construction of a long-term management alternative (Estuary, Hybrid, or Managed Lake) can be implemented until the EIS process is complete and a preferred alternative is selected.
Learn more about the project area history in Chapter 1.0.
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It is the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (Enterprise Services) policy to assure that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, or sex, as provided by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise discriminated against under any of its programs and activities. Any person who believes their Title VI protection has been violated may file a complaint with Enterprise Services’ OEO. For Title VI complaint forms and advice, please contact OEO’s Title VI coordinator at (360) 407-8200 or email@example.com.
The Project Area includes the 260-acre Capitol Lake that is managed by the Department of Enterprise Services (Enterprise Services), and it extends to the northern point of West Bay of Budd Inlet. West Bay is not managed by Enterprise Services. However, project actions may occur in West Bay, so it is included in the Project Area. This area is collectively referred to as Capitol Lake – Deschutes Estuary to reflect both the existing conditions and the ecosystem that existed before construction of the 5th Avenue Dam.
The waterbody known as Capitol Lake, or the Capitol Lake Basin, extends from the south end at Tumwater Falls in the City of Tumwater to the north end of the 5th Avenue Dam, in the City of Olympia. There are three basins within this waterbody, referred to as the North Basin, Middle Basin, and South Basin. The parks and public space adjoining Capitol Lake that are managed by Enterprise Services are also included in the Project Area.
The project area does not extend upstream of Tumwater Falls (south) into the Deschutes River because that area would not be affected by the Capitol Lake – Deschutes Estuary Long-Term Management Project. This EIS recognizes, however, that changes upstream in the watershed could affect conditions in the project area given the interconnectedness of the system.