Kapowsin Lake – as an Aquatic Refuge?

GRAHAM, WA — Tuesday night a fair-sized group of interested citizens came to  Kapowsin Elementary to hear a second round of information regarding the government’s interest in creating an Aquatic Reserve at Kapowsin Lake.

The lake itself has very few occupants living directly on its shores. That’s what makes it such a good candidate for this special designation. The special classification will make it a higher priority for grants, amenities, trails and even signage that might include attention to the history of the lake and timber town. Kapowsin was a booming metropolis from about 1900 to 1930. Andy Anderson, author of In the Shadow of the Mountain, gave a brief presentation of some of the history of the Kapowsin area to the gathering.

From the Department of Natural Resources:


Why would this area become a reserve?
Lake Kapowsin is a rare, undeveloped Puget lowland lake. The lake has a unique submerged cedar forest, created about 500 years ago when the Electron Mudflow surged down Mount Rainier and dammed Kapowsin Creek. Lake Kapowsin contains important habitat for fish and other water-dependent species.

Through its management of state-owned aquatic lands, DNR supports navigation and other water-dependent uses, public access, utility easements and outfalls, marinas, and energy projects, among other activities. If state-owned lands become an aquatic reserve, DNR works with the community to develop a site-specific management plan that identifies uses within the reserve and also may limit the activities that can take place on that site. Without a reserve designation and a management plan, DNR would consider a number of uses of the aquatic lands on a case-by-case basis.

Aquatic reserve status does not affect fishing or private property
Recreational and commercial fishing is managed by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Washington’s treaty tribes, and would not be affected by management of the reserve. Aquatic reserve management does not restrict access to fishing or boating, nor does it set harvest restrictions.

A reserve would only include DNR-managed state aquatic lands. A reserve does not include private shorelands or tribal lands, and does not impact private property.

DNR–steward of state aquatic lands
As steward of the 2.6 million acres of state aquatic lands, DNR manages the bedlands under Puget Sound and the coast, many of Washington’s beaches, and natural lakes and navigable rivers. DNR manages these lands not only to facilitate navigation, commerce, and public access, but also to ensure protection of aquatic habitat. State-owned aquatic lands include:

  • About 68,100 acres of state-owned tidelands, or 106 square miles
  • 90,000 acres of harbor areas
  • All submerged marine lands below extreme low tide—that’s 3,430 square miles of bedlands under navigable waters, as well as freshwater shorelands and bedlands

You can find information on the Aquatic Reserves Program here.




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