Budd Inlet has a dissolved oxygen problem. In short, there isn’t enough oxygen in the water near Olympia to support healthy marine life. And, the primary reason for this drop in oxygen is Capitol Lake.
We have known this since the (Capitol Lake Adaptive Management Plan) meetings and the recommendation came to remove the dam and let the tide improve the water circulation. Recent findings released by the state Department of Ecology point out that even if you remove stormwater outfalls and the LOTT reclaimed water, most of the problems in Budd Inlet would still exist.
Why? Because the flushing and mixing action of an estuary is needed to clean Budd Inlet. Low dissolved oxygen is important because fish and other marine life need enough oxygen to live. Capitol Lake is shallow, stagnant and fills each summer with algae, so the water flowing out of it is extremely low in dissolved oxygen. The algae that is so evident on the lake right now is evidence that something is very wrong. It would take dredging to 300 feet to improve the lake, and that is not feasible.
For thousands of years Deschutes River flowed into Budd Inlet. For 60 years that has been stopped by a dam. Removing the dam and repairing the damage is where we must start. We will then see a return of wildlife to the marine and shoreline.