Return Capitol Lake to a Natural Estuary

Target:  Cheryl Selby, Mayor of Olympia

Goal: Remove the dam on the Deschutes River and return Capitol Lake to a natural estuary

Sediment buildup in Capitol Lake in Olympia, WA has caused pollution, invasive species, and a ban on recreational activities. Many Olympia citizens have begun calling for the removal of Capitol Lake, the result of a dam on the Deschutes River, and its return to an estuary. Estuaries are crucial habitats for many species of wildlife because they are the only environment where freshwater and saltwater coexist around the tidal flow.

Removal of the dam is supported by a majority of Olympians, including the local Squaxin Island Tribe, who originally inhabited the land on which Olympia resides. The Squaxin Tribe is one of the primary sources of Chinook salmon in the Puget Sound area. Removing the dam would improve the habitat of these endangered fish. It would also improve the water quality in both the Deschutes River and the Puget Sound.  If Capitol Lake remains, it would require regular dredging to remove the sediment buildup that naturally accumulates. Removing the dam would be a costly procedure, but would significantly limit the environmental maintenance that this area requires.

Throughout Washington State, there has been a large scale effort to restore the natural habitats of the Puget Sound. Removing the dam that alters the landscape of the Puget Sound that lies directly in front of the State Capitol would send a powerful message that we are committed to the restoration of natural landscapes in this area. Please sign this petition today, asking Mayor Selby to use her influence to remove the dam on the Deschutes River and restore Capitol Lake to its natural state.


Dear Mayor Selby,

Capitol Lake was once a scenic recreation area beloved by many, but in recent years it has become a sediment reservoir filled with weeds, pollution, and invasive species. Over the years, many Olympians, including the Squaxin Island Tribe, which first inhabited this land, have called for the removal of this lake.

Removal of the Deschutes River Dam would improve water quality in both the river itself and the Puget Sound. It would benefit the habitat of the endangered Chinook salmon, and it would send a powerful message about Washington’s commitment to restoring the natural landscape of Puget Sound. Please consider using your influence to remove the dam and restore Capitol Lake to a natural and ecologically essential estuary.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gargollaz


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225 Signatures

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