Jeff Dickison from Squaxin Island Tribe
talks about Restoring the estuary
Sunday, June 26 · 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Kaos 89.3 Fm – Olympia
Join Raven and his guest Jeff Dickison from Squaxin as they visit about Restoring the estuary and helping heal the water ways.
“The Deschutes River has the potential to be a much more ecologically rich place than it is today,” said Dickison. “Wilder and White clearly had more respect for salmon than the people that dammed the Deschutes River, creating Capitol Lake. The original designers obviously designed the original reflecting… pool in the context of the natural environment.”
Questions & Answers
What is the difference between a lake and an estuary?
An estuary is a biologically rich environment where a river reaches salt water. Estuaries play an important role in the lives of several species, including birds and fish. Salmon depend on estuaries for vital rearing and feeding habitat. Salmon are born in freshwater, and as they move downstream they undergo a physiological change which enables them to live in saltwater. Estuaries are the first place salmon encounter saltwater and it is important that there be enough food and habitat.
Currently, the Deschutes estuary does not exist. It has been inundated by the impoundment created in the 50s. The 5th Avenue dam blocks off any meaningful interaction between salt and freshwater that defines an estuary.
Won’t draining Capitol Lake leave a big mud hole?
Only the southern two basins will see significant drainage, but even those will be filled as they are now during high tide. By restoring the Deschutes estuary, it is possible to retain the reflecting pool aspects of Capitol Lake.
Won’t an estuary be smelly?
Isn’t it possible to have clean water and a lake?
During the summer, nitrogen and phosphorous build up in the lake, depriving it of oxygen, which is vital to a healthy ecosystem. A recent report by the Washington Department of Ecology states that restoring the Deschutes Estuary would solve many of the water quality problems associated with Capitol Lake (link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/11615221/CLAMP-110608-Deschutes-Handouts).
Choosing to continue maintaining Capitol Lake is choosing to live with future water quality problems.
What will restoring the estuary do to wildlife?
The Puget Sound Partnership has identified eradicating invasive species like the ones that live in Capitol Lake as a high priority to restoring the entire Puget Sound ecosystem (link: http://www.psparchives.com/our_work/protect_habitat/ans.htm). As it is now, Capitol Lake is a haven for invasive species.
Isn’t Capitol Lake part of the “vision” of the Capitol Campus?
The real reason behind the creation of Capitol Lake wasn’t to complete the original “Wilder and White” vision, but rather to change the image of the nearby neighborhood. Up until the early 1940s, what is now Capitol Lake was home to a shanty town called “Little Hollywood.” In 1941 Little Hollywood was dismantled and burned, and ten years later the state completed the permanent flooding of the site.
Will we be cut off from the shoreline
Can we cheaply dredge the lake?
Dredging will be a multi-million dollar undertaking each time and it only solves one problem associated with the damning of the Deschutes. Water quality, invasive species, and other problems will continue to exist even with an expensive, aggressive dredging plan.
Is this part of a radical plan to return the entire area to a pristine state?Absolutely not. One of the important things to remember that restoring the Deschutes River estuary won’t and can’t be a total restoration of the local ecosystem. Too many things – from filling in nearby tidelands to urban development – have happened and there is no reasonable way to turn back the clock.
Restoring the estuary is a simple, sensible step to restoring as much of function of the local eco-system as we can.
Jeff Dickison, Policy Analyst, Squaxin Island Tribe, (360) 432-3815, email@example.com