Input sought on draft plan to clean up Deschutes watershed

Thurston County's growing population has contributed to a decline in Deschutes River water quality. The Department of Ecology has released a draft water cleanup plan for the river, and is hosting public meetings to gather comment over the next six weeks.

The draft plan looks at the daily load of pollution that enters the river above Tumwater Falls and on streams flowing to Budd Inlet. A second phase later will look at water quality in Capitol Lake and Budd Inlet.

The report found a number of factors contributing to a decrease in water quality, including warmer water temperatures, high bacteria and sediment levels, and low levels of dissolved oxygen.

“We are focused on a multi-faceted solution to restore the clean and cool water the Deschutes needs to support fishing, recreation and other public benefits," said Rich Doenges, Water Quality section manager for Ecology's Southwest Region, in a press release.

The draft report is available at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/tmdl/deschutes/index.html; printed copies are available at Ecology's Lacey office at 300 Desmond Drive SE, and at the Tumwater Timberland Library, 7023 New Market St.

Ecology will accept public comment through 5 p.m. May 27.

The agency will host two public meetings, at 9 a.m. April 23 at the Tumwater Fire Department, 311 Israel Road, and at 6 p.m. May 14 at the LOTT Clean Water Alliance, 500 Adams St. NE, Olympia.

After the comment period ends, Ecology will respond to the public's comments, and issue a final report later in the year.