Capitol Lake – Deschutes Estuary Environmental Impact Statement

Client: Washington State Department of Enterprise Services
Management of an interdisciplinary project team, co-authoring of a SEPA Environmental Impact Statement, stakeholder engagement, and permitting analysis for a 260-acre water body.

Overview of Floyd|Snider Contributions

Project management and overall strategy
Steering and review of technical analyses
Legislative and finance coordination to identify project construction funds
Co-author of SEPA EIS
Direct engagement with Squaxin Island Tribe, Cities of Olympia and Tumwater, Thurston County, Port of Olympia, DNR, Ecology, and WDFW

Project Summary

The Capitol Lake – Deschutes Estuary includes the 260-acre Capitol Lake Basin, located on the Washington State Capitol Campus.

Capitol Lake was formed in 1951 following construction of a dam, which restricted flow between the Deschutes River and Puget Sound. Historically, the Deschutes Estuary was used by local tribes for subsistence and ceremonial purposes. Today, it is closed to active public use. It is plagued by environmental issues including the presence of invasive species, violations of water quality standards, and inadequate sediment management. The stakeholder discourse regarding the resource has been polarized for decades given the stark difference in management options, which include a Managed Lake, Estuary, or Hybrid Alternative.

The Capitol Lake – Deschutes Estuary includes the 260-acre Capitol Lake Basin, located on the Washington State Capitol Campus. Capitol Lake was formed in 1951 following construction of a dam, which restricted flow between the Deschutes River and Puget Sound. Historically, the Deschutes Estuary was used by local tribes for subsistence and ceremonial purposes. Today, it is closed to active public use. It is plagued by environmental issues including the presence of invasive species, violations of water quality standards, and inadequate sediment management. The stakeholder discourse regarding the resource has been polarized for decades given the stark difference in management options, which include a Managed Lake, Estuary, or Hybrid Alternative.

Our Approach

In 2018, Floyd|Snider was selected to manage the EIS process on behalf of Washington State Department of Enterprise Services to evaluate long-term management options.

The interdisciplinary analysis must consider potential impacts to the downstream land uses, including a working port and marinas that could be impacted from sediment transport if the dam were removed; to the shoreline vegetation and overall ecosystem health; to restoring recreational opportunities within the expansive waterbody; and to the overall visual and economic landscape in the center of an urban community.

The Floyd|Snider approach to this work focuses on goals common to all stakeholders. Floyd|Snider developed a project-specific process to objectively screen concepts, and engaged stakeholders including local officials, resource agencies, and the community in the methodologies proposed for the analysis.

Floyd|Snider is implementing an outreach approach that engages an Executive Work Group, Technical Work Group, Funding and Governance Work Group, and Community Sounding Board. Structured and recurring meetings allow these stakeholders to provide meaningful input throughout the EIS process.

The EIS draws upon previous work by Floyd|Snider, including an analysis of environmental permits required before long-term management actions could be taken.

Project Milestones:

2021. Draft EIS will be issued
2022. Final EIS with Preferred Alternative will be issued

In 2018, Floyd|Snider was selected to manage the EIS process on behalf of Washington State Department of Enterprise Services to evaluate long-term management options. The interdisciplinary analysis must consider potential impacts to the downstream land uses, including a working port and marinas that could be impacted from sediment transport if the dam were removed; to the shoreline vegetation and overall ecosystem health; to restoring recreational opportunities within the expansive waterbody; and to the overall visual and economic landscape in the center of an urban community.

The Floyd|Snider approach to this work focuses on goals common to all stakeholders. Floyd|Snider developed a project-specific process to objectively screen concepts, and engaged stakeholders including local officials, resource agencies, and the community in the methodologies proposed for the analysis.

Floyd|Snider is implementing an outreach approach that engages an Executive Work Group, Technical Work Group, Funding and Governance Work Group, and Community Sounding Board. Structured and recurring meetings allow these stakeholders to provide meaningful input throughout the EIS process.

The EIS draws upon previous work by Floyd|Snider, including an analysis of environmental permits required before long-term management actions could be taken.

Project Milestones:

2021. Draft EIS will be issued
2022. Final EIS with Preferred Alternative will be issued

Project Team

Floyd|Snider
Environmental Science Associates
EnviroIssues
Moffatt & Nichol
Herrera
EcoNW
Heffron Transportation
Ramboll Environ
Northwest Vernacular