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Long-Term Planning for Capitol Lake - Deschutes Estuary


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The latest updates on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process are available on the project website.

Current Phase

Phase 2 - Environmental Impact Statement

Funding of $4 million to begin Phase 2 of the long-term management planning – a project-specific Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – was approved in 2018.

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

An EIS is required before:

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


Future Phase

Phase 3 - Implementation

Phase 3 consists of funding, design, permitting, and construction of the selected long-term management alternative. 


Past Phase

Phase 1 - Information and planning (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 management of the Capitol Lake/Lower Deschutes Watershed.

  • Identifying shared goals for long-term management of the Capitol Lake/Lower Deschutes Watershed.

  • Fulfilling requirements in a 2015-17 capital budget proviso in which the Legislature directed Enterprise Services examine six key issues.

  • Garnering broad support for funding of an EIS, where a preferred alternative for long-term management can be identified.  

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


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 suffers from numerous environmental issues including water quality standards violations, inadequate sediment management, and the presence of invasive species, all of which have restricted community use for more than 20 years. 

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.

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.

Background documents and other background material can be found on our documents page.