It must be December in Western Washington: the rivers are flooding, salmon are migrating across Highway 101, and the Deschutes is threatening to spill into downtown Olympia.
First the good news. The Department of Enterprise Services (DES), which is responsible for maintaining Capitol Lake, is once again using the flows through the Capitol Lake tide lock (Fifth Avenue dam) to manage the lake level. Their action uses the volume of Capitol Lake basin to reduce the potential for downtown flooding. Kudos to DES and the Fifth Avenue dam management for protecting our downtown.
Now, the not so good news. Next year will mark 30 years since Capitol Lake has been dredged. Thirty years. During that time, the lake has been filling with sediment, and the volume has decreased substantially. As the lake volume declines, so does the ability of DES to minimize flooding. DES is currently talking about yet another “study” to determine how to proceed with dredging.
Olympia, keep those sandbags handy!