Letters to the Editor

Deschutes estuary option in harmony with state law

The time has come to remove the dam at the entrance to Capitol Lake, and to restore the Deschutes estuary.

Shorelines are among the most valuable and fragile of the natural resources of our state. Consequently, there is great concern relating to their utilization, protection, restoration, and protection. These are policy statements from Washington’s Shoreline Management Act.

The Shoreline Management Act was an initiative to the people, passed by the voters in 1971. The Deschutes River (Capitol Lake) Dam, which was constructed in 1951, predates the act. The city of Olympia, the state departments of Ecology, Enterprise Services, and Fish and Wildlife are all subject to the policies, and regulations of the act.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is subject to the act by virtue of its having been approved in 1976, pursuant to the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. Specific federal agency actions, including dredging by the Corps of Engineers, or permits issued by it under the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899; must be consistent, to the maximum extent practicable, with the policies of the Shoreline Management Act.

River estuaries are among the most productive natural habitats in the world. Restoration of the Deschutes estuary, including the confluence of Percival Creek and the Deschutes River, is more consistent with the environmental policies of the Shoreline Management Act than continual dredging of the Deschutes River in order to maintain an artificial lake.

Bob Jensen