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First scoping meeting for environmental review of estuary, managed lake and hybrid alternatives for the Capitol Lake/Lower Deschutes Watershed set for Oct. 10

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Enterprise Services seeks input on what to study in Environmental Impact Statement for the waterbody

OLYMPIA – The first of two meetings where the Department of Enterprise Services will ask people what should be studied in an environmental review for estuary, managed lake and hybrid options for the waterbody on the Capitol Campus will be held Oct. 10.

The purpose of scoping is to determine the range, or “scope” of issues to study, and it is the first step in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. 

In-person public scoping meetings: The October meetings feature an open house from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and a verbal comment session from 6 to 8 p.m. People may also submit written comments at the meetings:

  • Oct. 10 at Hotel RL, 2300 Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia
  • Oct. 22 Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington Street S.E., Olympia

The comment period is being held through Nov. 13. Comments are being taken online, via email and through regular mail in addition to comments taken during the two in-person public scoping meetings in October.

About scoping

Scoping helps determine what should be studied in the EIS, including what sorts of questions should be answered via technical analyses, what environmental impacts and potential mitigation measures should be evaluated in the study and which options for long-term management should be evaluated.

When complete, the EIS for the 260-acre waterbody will identify a preferred alternative for long-term management. At a minimum, the EIS will evaluate alternatives for:

  • A Managed Lake that would maintain the existing reflecting pool.
  • A Restored Estuary that would remove the existing Fifth Avenue Dam to restore the historical tidal estuary.
  • A Hybrid that would include elements of both—a smaller reflecting pool would be developed near Heritage Park and a barrier would be constructed to support a restored tidal estuary west of the barrier.
  • A No Action alternative (required by the State Environmental Policy Act) 

Several options or variations of the primary alternatives have been proposed, and additional concepts may emerge during the EIS scoping process. A screening process will be used to identify the range of alternatives that move forward for detailed technical review in the EIS. Concepts will be evaluated for their ability to meet project objectives and their feasibility.

The legislative proviso funding the EIS also directed that an economic analysis be part of the EIS.

During scoping, we’d especially like your thoughts on what should be studied regarding:

  • Alternatives
  • Potential environmental impacts
  • Potential mitigation measures to avoid or minimize impacts
  • Permits or other approvals that may be required

Learn more and participate

Learn more: CapitolLakeWatershedEIS.org.

Online open house: CapitolLakeWatershedEIS.participate.online

Comment via e-mail: Comment@capitollakewatershedeis.org

Comment in writing: Bill Frare, Department of Enterprise Services, PO Box 41476, Olympia, WA 98504

Additional Background

Capitol Lake/Lower Deschutes Watershed includes the 260-acre Capitol Lake Basin on the Washington State Capitol Campus. It is maintained by Enterprise Services. The waterbody suffers from numerous environmental issues:

  • Water quality standard violations
  • Sediment management issues
  • The presence of invasive species
  • Restricted active community use

What’s next

Following the comment period:

  • A scoping report will be issued in early 2019 to describe the primary themes from comments received during scoping, and define the scope of the EIS.
  • A screening process will be used to identify a range of reasonable alternatives to move forward for detailed technical review in the EIS.  
  • Work will begin on a Draft EIS, and is expected to continue through 2019 and into 2020 given the complexity of this project. 
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