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Long-Term Planning for Capitol Lake/Lower Deschutes Watershed

Phase 1 Report


Contact Information

Email your comments or questions to: DESCapitolLake@des.wa.gov.

Capitol Lake is a 260-acre man-made waterbody located in Olympia and Tumwater, Washington. Capitol Lake is a popular destination in Olympia, but it has environmental problems related to water quality, invasive species and sediment management.

Representatives from local and tribal governments and coordinating state agencies, and the community, worked throughout 2016 to find a path forward on long-term planning for Capitol Lake, completing the first of three phases in an overall plan to manage the resource.

Phase 1 - Information and coordination (2016):

On Dec. 30, 2016, the Department of Enterprise Services submitted a Phase 1 Report to the Legislature. Key outcomes of the Phase 1 process include:

  • Fostering long-term collaborative relationships essential for ensuring long-term Capitol Lake/Lower Deschutes Watershed management.
  • Establishing the purpose and goals for long-term Capitol Lake/Lower Deschutes Watershed management.
  • Laying the foundation to select and implement an environmentally and economically sustainable management approach in later project phases.
  • Fulfilling requirements in a 2015-17 capital budget proviso in which the Legislature directed Enterprise Services examine six key issues.

The report and related information can be found on the Capitol Lake Reports web page.

Phase 2 - Environmental Impact Statement (subject to funding):

A project-specific Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required before:

  • Any short-term actions are taken, such as initial dredging.
  • A long-term management plan can be selected for implementation.

An EIS is required by the State Environmental Policy Act and provides information on potential project benefits and environmental impacts, and how to avoid, reduce or offset, impacts. The EIS also will help identify a preferred alternative for decision makers to consider.

Funding is required prior to beginning phase 2. View the Frequently Asked Questions regarding Phase 2.

Letters of support for funding Phase 2 from:

Phase 3 - Implementation

Information and outcomes from the EIS will be used to inform permitting, final design and construction, and approaches for long-term maintenance.

Current lake management

Enterprise Services maintains the Capitol Lake as part of the Capitol Campus under a long-term lease agreement with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). DNR manages state-owned aquatic lands on behalf of the people of the state per RCW 79.105. The current lease agreement expires in 2028.