Spring 2021 Update


The EIS Project Team is finalizing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Capitol Lake – Deschutes Estuary Long-Term Management Project. Enterprise Services will issue the Draft EIS on June 30, 2021. This will start a 45-day public comment period (June 30 – August 13, 2021). Comments on the Draft EIS will be accepted through an online comment submission form, via email or mail, and at an online public hearing.

The public comment period will also include a range of engagement activities, which are previewed below. Additional details on how to submit comments and participate in online events will be shared along with notification of the Draft EIS release.

The EIS Project Team is busy conducting the range of technical analyses that will be summarized in the Draft EIS and will inform future selection of a preferred alternative for the Capitol Lake – Deschutes Estuary. 


The Draft EIS will provide a description of the long-term management alternatives and an impartial discussion of significant environmental impacts and benefits, as well as mitigation measures that would avoid or minimize adverse impacts or enhance environmental quality. Neither short-term actions (e.g., dredging) nor construction of a long-term management alternative (Estuary, Hybrid, or Managed Lake) can be implemented without an EIS. The release of the Draft EIS marks a key milestone in the process to identify, and then implement, a long-term management alternative that will best achieve project goals. 

Project goals: improve water quality, improve ecological functions, manage sediment, and enhance community use.
Project goals identified in Phase 1.

The Draft EIS will include discussion of the following: 

  • Project Background and History
  • Project Alternatives and Construction Approach
  • Existing Conditions and Affected Environment
  • Long-Term Impacts, Benefits, and Mitigation 
  • Short-Term Impacts and Mitigation 
  • Cumulative Effects
  • Planning-Level Costs
  • Funding and Governance, Work Groups, and Community Sounding Board
  • Permits and Approvals for Implementation of a Preferred Alternative 

The Draft EIS will be available online for download in full and by chapter beginning June 30, 2021, in the website’s project library.


Enterprise Services is finalizing specific dates and times for various activities; you can expect multiple opportunities to learn more about the Draft EIS and submit your comments. Given continued uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and in-person participation for public activities, all activities will be virtual, with the exception of an outdoor self-guided tour.

Online Open House

Visit anytime throughout the comment period (June 30 – August 13, 2021) for a high-level overview of the document, links to key information, details on engagement activities, and a comment submittal form.

Online Office Hours 

Enterprise Services will host at least three office hour sessions via Zoom with the EIS Project Team. Look for dates and times on the project website soon. Join at your convenience to ask questions and learn more about the Draft EIS. 

Online Public Hearing

Join us on July 27 for an online public hearing. Enterprise Services staff and EIS Project Team members will attend to hear your feedback and comments on the Draft EIS. Anyone interested in providing testimony will be asked to pre-register to ensure we can accommodate all those that wish to speak. If you wish to simply observe the hearing, you do not need to register. The online public hearing is one of multiple ways to provide comments, and attendance is not required in order to provide comment. All comments are valued equally, whether provided at the hearing or through other submission methods. The hearing will be broadcast live via TVW. Look for registration information soon. 

Work Group and Community Sounding Board Meetings and Briefings with State and Local Officials 

Attend one or more of these meetings to learn more about the project and hear questions from the groups.

  • Technical Work Group: July 7, 2021, 9–11 AM
  • Executive Work Group: July 12, 2021, 1–3 PM
  • Joint State Capitol Committee – Capitol Campus Design Advisory Committee Meeting: July 13, 2021, 1–3 PM
  • Community Sounding Board: July 15, 2021, 6–8 PM

We are in the process of scheduling additional Draft EIS briefings with local jurisdictions and will share those dates and times on the project website when they are finalized. Links to join all meetings will be posted when available.

Parkway and Heritage Park Trail Loop Self-Guided Open House

Look for updated informational signs at the kiosks along the Deschutes Parkway and Heritage Park Trail Loop beginning in early July. These kiosks will provide information from the Draft EIS and details on how to submit comments. 

Interest Group Briefings

During the comment period we will be presenting to groups and organizations throughout the community. We will provide a summary of Draft EIS content, an overview of key findings and information about how to provide comments, and will answer clarifying questions. If you are interested in a briefing for your organization please email us at info@capitollakedeschutesestuaryeis.org or call (360) 407-9323


Each month between late May and October 2021, Enterprise Services will collect water quality samples in Capitol Lake. This is consistent with the water quality monitoring conducted in 2019 in support of the Draft EIS water quality analysis; and is consistent with sampling performed by Thurston County between 2004 and 2014. These additional data will be evaluated by the EIS Project Team after the sampling is completed, between the Draft EIS and Final EIS, and included in the Final EIS. 

Project timeline: Draft EIS in mid 2021, Final EIS in 2022. Phase 3 including design and permitting will occur after the Final EIS and require approximately 3-5 years.

Work Groups and Community Sounding Board

Enterprise Services recently met with all three Work Groups and the Community Sounding Board (CSB) to preview the Draft EIS outline. The CSB and Executive and Technical Work Groups also provided feedback on the process and criteria that will be used to select a preferred alternative. The results of these meetings are being used to refine the process for selecting a preferred alternative; a description of this selection process will be provided in Chapter 1.0 of the Draft EIS.

More information about these meetings is on the meetings page of the project website – expect summaries to be posted by early June. Thank you to the Work Groups and Community Sounding Board for their continued engagement and the input provided throughout the process.