Lake’s fate must consider the entire river ecosytem

OlympiaSeptember 22, 2013 

Regarding the Capital Lake debate, I have yet to decide what is best. However, I am concerned that one factor has been absent from our community discussion: what is the best decision for the entire Nisqually River–Budd Bay–Puget Sound ecosystem?

When debating “what should we do with this patch of God’s creation,” we often err by examining only that patch while failing to examine the entire ecosystem. Later we make similar, individual evaluations in other patches in the ecosystem. The outcome is multiple developments across the entire ecosystem, and that entire ecosystem is seriously compromised.

Some in the debate have said “Capitol Lake is unique, so it’s OK to make an exception.” This is a slippery slope. If we allow that exception, someone else will want a change elsewhere in the ecosystem. The outcome is the same: a seriously compromised ecosystem.

Others in the debate complain that if we allow the lake to revert to an estuary, the stink will be offensive. Here’s the thing: that estuarine odor means the ecosystem is healthy. The stronger the odor, the healthier the ecosystem. If you smell that offensive odor, rejoice.

Living with nature is sometimes inconvenient, but we must accept that inconvenience if we are to be good stewards of our entire environment.

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