Last Updated 27 Jan 2021

Capitol Lake

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The history Of the lake goes all the way back to 1951 , when a dam was built, as well as a concrete passage on 5th Avenue. The initial design was too construct a man-made lake though a dam with underwater mudflats. The dam was finally constructed to help renew a part of Bud Inlet shores that was in deterioration. Many years later in the year of 1997, a team of representatives was formed to study the problems of the lake. In 2009, an endorsement was made for the future of preserving the lake. One issue among Capitol Lake is the sediment that comes and reconciles to he bottom of the lake.

Over 35,000 cubic yards a year of sediment travel into the lake a year! This means now that the lake is 21 % smaller than it was when it was created. This small amount of water is turning the lake into a swamp. Since the capacity of water in the Capitol Lake is much smaller than it was before, the temperature in the lake is getting much higher. The shallow waters cause the lake to heat up much quicker. These high temperatures support aquatic weeds to grow in abundance, and put anxiety on the fish and other marine life.

Another problem among Capitol Lake is the water quality. Phosphorus and bacteria are both found in the water, posing a negative effect to the lake. The high levels of phosphorus promote the growth of algae. Oxygen is also used up for marine life in the lake, by algae that putrefy. As well as fecal chloroform bacteria are found among the lake, that wash into the lake and can be very harmful to health. Lastly, the lake has invasive species. Eurasian million weeds crowd the shoreline for native plants, reducing populations of native fish and other species.

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The New Zealand Mutandis is also another invasive species which is taking over the habitat and native snails which depend on food. As you can see Capitol Lake is very polluted and unhealthy. But there are solutions. The Descartes Estuary Restoration Team (DEER) and the Capitol Lake Improvement & Protective Association (CLIP) have both proposed suitable ideas to save the future of Capitol Lake. The first possibility by DEER would be to remove the dam, letting Capitol Lake and the Descartes River to meet and create an estuary, like it was back in the sass.

The benefits of an estuary are that it would return everything to a natural presence. An estuary would give the lake and opportunity to flush and purify. It would also result in the temperature of the water to drop, greatly reducing algae population. Removal of the dam would also result in a possibility of the invasive species not surviving as well as young salmon would be able to access the estuary. Water quality would improve, as bacteria would decrease. Lastly, it would show an increase in native wildlife and different recreation.

Establishing the estuary would result in over 114 million dollars, and without sediment rearrangements. Further cost details and endowments are still being inquired. The idea by CLIP would be to keep the lake as a lake, but to dredge and clean it as needed; this would tidy the lake without having to remove the dam. The benefits of keeping the lake, would be hold the lake as one of the "Jewels of Thornton County as well as a major part of the State Capitol Campus. The lake very much protects the downtown area of Olympia by controlling floods.

Opening the dam would result in smelly mudflats, as well as change the Marina and Boating Recreation. Keeping the lake as it is also would prevent an increase of sediment flow into the Bud Inlet. Culpa also believes that keeping the lake would prevent Nitrogen and Phosphorus from accessing the river. The also lake supports the local economy and local events such as Lake Fair, and is a key location for tourism in the Olympia area. Financially, this plan would cost about million dollars over a fifty year period. This includes mainly dredging, renewal of habitat, and dredging.

This project would be paid from partnerships and state funding such as the City of Olympia, Marine and Yacht Club, and Port of Olympia. So as you can see both proposals, have their pros and cons. Based on these two main ideas have researched about, I believe that the Capitol Lake Improvement & Protection Association (CLIP) is the best plan for the future of Capitol Lake. The lake is truly a major icon to Olympia and if an estuary were to open, the beauty and tourist attraction the lake delivers would greatly reduce.

For example, if the dam were to be taken away, what would happen o Likelier and other large city events? Traditional events and activities by the lake might not even happen anymore if it becomes an estuary. But most importantly based off scientific evidence, removing the dam, would result in smelly tidal mudflats. Nobody wants a stench that will wander the air every time they go outside. As World War II veteran who grew up in Olympia (who has experienced these mudflats), Dick Seward, explains "The Mudflats and any water in the area had a stench that I'll never forget.

All this pollution is what nearly killed off the Oysters". So as you can see the smell really isn't pleasing. Creating an estuary would also greatly increase the flow of sediment, and Nitrogen into Bud Inlet, which shouldn't be there. CLIP'S proposal is half the price as well, and will save a lot of money. So who wants an unbearable terrible stench that will fill up the atmosphere? Why should the harmful chemicals be brought up to Bud Inlet and the Descartes River? Why should we risk the future of our economy and one of our main tourist attractions?

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