State of the Lake

Lakefair 2013 has ended. Last week, John Dodge wrote a column about Lakefair and the lake, and the problem of accumulating "sediments" in the basin. Tom Holz, contributor to a local environmental listserv, remarked that the discussion ought to be broadened to include the topic of the causes of the heavy sediment-loads that have been deposited in the basin.

Is it likely that substantial contributions have resulted from disturbances to Native Landscapes (whether forest or prairie?) That would seem to make sense.

So let me see if I have it straight. The government has sold or leased land on the cheap to big industry. Let's use timber here, for example. The industry performs clear-cuts in established forested areas, thus having opened the landscape to threat of extreme erosion during periods of heavy rain.

So then, who should foot the bill for dredging the lake? And why not consider asking the timber industry to account for these sediments, as an externality of their lucrative business at leveling native landscapes.

What do you think?

Log Export

Clear Cut Area

Clear Cut

Lotsa Water Flowin'

Going by Capitol Lake at about 2pm today I saw the water level just about as high as I have ever seen it in 10 years.

Here's what the view of the 5th Avenue dam looked like from the 4th Avenue bridge at a little after 4pm:

Capitol Lake Vs. Estuary Debate Continued

Hello OlyBlog, I'm sure you've all seen my fellow peers recent posts regarding the controversial issue surrounding Capitol Lake.  And as you all may (or may not) know, this is part of an assignment for our middle school 1st period science class.  Although really that information is irrelevant to the issue at hand... whether or not Capitol Lake should be restored to it's once natural state.


While I've been in this state for only about 9 or so months, I've noticed a great deal of debate over this subject.  It was enough debate for me to walk down to Capitol Lake myself and check it out.  At first glance, the lake appeared like every other lake I've seen, but upon closer inspection I found a mess of plants, sediment and... snails.  I've only recently familiarized myself with the science behind why Capitol Lake is like this, and honestly it surprises me that this lake has been in this condition for a long time.  Especially when you consider the fact that this state is a 'green-state'.


I may have neglected several factors to why this problem hasn't been fixed yet, and forgive me if I have, but I do believe it should happen soon, and after going over the facts multiple times and accessing the available options, really the only choice I feel that we have is restoration of the lake back into an estuary.


Economically speaking, the estuary option costs would range from $75-90 million, but that is simply a short term loss.  This is compared to if we kept Capitol Lake in it's current condition.  Maintenance of the lake over the next 50s years would cost $79-150 million due to dredging. 

FLOD Pictures (Capitol Lake, Estuary, Ecological Restoration)

I took some pictures of the FLOD today from Heritage Park (while I was there for Arlington NW.) Here they are:

Capitol Lake
Capitol Lake with Dead Salmon Amid Thick Weeds

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