I love Capitol Lake. I live three blocks away and have walked the perimeter many times. I participate in many community events at the surrounding parks. I visit the wildlife, including otters, seals, deer, salmon and herons. I don’t have memories of swimming in the lake, but didn’t hesitate to jump in to recover my cellphone when it slipped out of my pocket.
While I’m concerned about the pollution and infestation of the lake, it wasn’t an option to leave my toxic trash in an already sick body of water. I love Capitol Lake so much, that I want it to be free.
You see, Capitol Lake is not a lake. It is an estuary. It’s a failed man-made reservoir, infested with invasive species. The quality of water falls below EPA state Water Quality standards for ecosystem and human health, and the Department of Ecology and the attorney general’s office have stated that the only way to restore the water is to remove the dam.
The Olympian has printed many letters supporting the maintenance of Capitol Lake. Most arguments are rooted in aesthetics and nostalgia. While these are important things to consider, they should not trump water quality, ecosystem and human health, and long-term financial responsibility of managing the dammed river.
One of the stated intentions of Capitol Lake was to create a reflection pond. Is a stagnant, toxic and polluted body of water really what we want reflected back across downtown Olympia?
Free the Deschutes!