Draft EIS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Thank you for your continued comments and questions throughout the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) comment period. We have created a set of FAQs that address the most commonly asked questions heard during the numerous briefings, meetings, and office hours, as well as from emails and the public hearing.

View the complete FAQs and see excerpts below.

Has a Preferred Alternative already been identified?

A Preferred Alternative has not been identified. The Draft EIS includes an impartial analysis of the three long-term management alternatives (Managed Lake, Estuary, and Hybrid). The process for selecting a Preferred Alternative is summarized in the this FAQ and described in more detail in Section 1.12 of the Draft EIS. The public is encouraged to provide comments on this and all aspects of the Draft EIS during the public comment period.

How wide would the opening be at 5th Avenue for the Estuary and Hybrid Alternatives?

Under the Estuary and Hybrid Alternatives, the opening at 5th Avenue would be approximately 500 feet wide. This would be achieved by removing the approximately 80-foot-wide tide gate and up to a 450-foot-wide earthen dam to the west of the tide gate – both of which were constructed to create the current Capitol Lake.

See Chapter 2 for additional information.

What kind of recreation could be allowed in the Project Area after construction?

All action alternatives (Managed Lake, Estuary, and Hybrid), as described in the Draft EIS, would restore fishing and non-motorized boating. The project would also construct features to enhance recreation including:

  • A new 5th Avenue bike and pedestrian bridge (separate from the 5th Avenue vehicular bridge)
  • Elevated boardwalks adjacent to enhanced shoreline habitat areas in the Middle and South Basins
  • A boat launch for hand-carried watercraft near Marathon Park
  • A rebuilt fishing dock at the Interpretive Center in the South Basin

See Section 2.3 for additional details.

Can you provide more detail on how the cost estimates in Chapter 7 were calculated?

Planning-level cost estimates were developed for design, permitting, and construction of the long-term management alternatives, and separately, for sediment management over 30 years after construction.

The construction estimates were developed based on conceptual design of the primary elements of each alternative, such as dredging, habitat area construction, work at the 5th Avenue Dam (as needed for each alternative), installation of the boardwalks, the 5th Avenue Bike and Pedestrian Bridge, etc.

Costs for 30 years after construction focus only on sediment management and were developed based on the assumed approach to dredging and disposal of dredged sediment.

Specific project elements that are included in the planning-level cost estimates and associated unit costs are now available in the project library, in response to stakeholder requests.

Reminder – Comments are being accepted through August 29

Your comments during the public comment period are critical as we work toward a Final EIS and Preferred Alternative for long-term management of this important resource. Enterprise Services appreciates everyone’s attention to detail and commitment in helping to make sure the best possible body of information is available. The comment period was recently extended to August 29 in response to stakeholder requests.



Via Mail

Department of Enterprise Services
Capitol Lake – Deschutes Estuary EIS
PO Box 41476
Olympia, Washington 98504-1476


Comments that address a specific aspect of the project or the Draft EIS, rather than simply expressing a preference for or against the project alternatives, are most useful. Comments should be as specific as possible. It is also helpful if the comments refer to chapters and pages of the Draft EIS.

Specific topics to consider in your comments on the Draft EIS include:

  • Comments on the information and analysis provided
  • Comments on key components of the alternatives
  • Comments on potential measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts
  • Any new or additional information that should be included
  • Any other considerations that should be included in the decision-making process

All comments submitted will be considered equally regardless of how they are submitted. Comments that are identical (e.g., form letters) or similar in nature will be treated as single comments. The EIS Project Team will review all comments received on the Draft EIS and evaluate whether additional technical analyses are required to ensure a complete evaluation and support informed decision-making on a preferred alternative for long-term management of Capitol Lake – Deschutes Estuary. All comments will be documented in a comment response summary in the Final EIS.


The Draft EIS provides 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 a long-term management alternative (Managed Lake, Estuary, or Hybrid) can be implemented without an EIS.

The Draft EIS is available in the project library for download in full and by chapter. Printed copies of the Draft EIS are also available for public viewing at six locations.


Thank you for investing your time in reviewing this Draft EIS and to many of you who have already provided comments. If you have questions, email us at or call (360) 407-9323.