The Friends of Spanaway Lake is holding their annual meeting on February 24, 2022, at 7 p.m. at Sprinker Recreation Center and virtually over Zoom. They have posted the event on Facebook if you are looking for the connection link.
This past year, the property owners with front footage on the lake voted to create the Spanaway Lake Management District No. 1 that will tax themselves to help fund projects to keep the lake water clean. Pierce County Parks will also pay into the cleanup fund. The County Council is currently accepting applications for members of that Board. The application is at the link above. There are also several links to lake water quality data.
Water quality in the area has become a serious and somewhat contentious issue recently. With area lakes suffering access closures due to toxic algae blooms, water companies unable to supply some housing developments with water due to well restrictions from the Washington Department of Ecology, and the Chambers Clover Creek Watershed Council (CCWC) struggling to find solutions to the conditions of the creek, many in the community are in an uproar about what to do. They are challenged by the administrative role the County plays within the group.
In one of the emails written to Kurt Reidinger and the CCWC was cc:’d, Don Russell wrote, “We citizen stakeholders want to be full and respected partners in determining and implementing the actions necessary to make our watershed a fit habitat for Coho salmon and its indigenous and immigrant people rather than the passive spectators that PCSWM insists that we play if we want their continuing administrative support.” Their exchange goes on to discuss sediment in the creek and lakes allowing excessive vegetation growth. There is a device called a Sand Wand that can be used to clear sediment that land owners may be able to access with help from the County, if they can be convinced to make it and staffing assistance available. The idea is to make spawning gravel accessible to Coho salmon.
Lowered groundwater levels have prevented the sediment flushing that rising groundwater can provide from under the surface of the creeks and lakes. This is also a good reason the relocation of the Clover Creek path in Parkland has been problematic. The concrete channel does not allow for cooling & cleaning groundwater to rise un underneath the creek bed.
Large woody debris (LWD) and riparian plantings are used in creek restoration to help create a more natural habitat. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) also notes sediment removal as part of restoration. Plant and sediment removal has taken place periodically in Tule Lake. In one resident’s yard several years ago, the suctioned sediment was used to enhance and level the topsoil in their back yard adjacent to the lake.
Russell also stated, “I have stated that the Chambers-Clover Creek Watershed is impaired as a fit habitat for Coho salmon and it indigenous and immigrant people. Why? Because our streams and lakes are shallow aquifer groundwater discharge diminished/deprived, nutrient (N and P) polluted groundwater fed, and their gravel bottoms sediment fouled. I have urged the CCWC to develop a fit habitat recovery plan of action for our watershed. Apparently, there are insufficient numbers of its Executive Committee that share my view of the role and function of the Chambers-Clover Creek Watershed Council. Furthermore, there is active resistance to ferreting out the truth about our watershed and developing the actions required to ‘Make our watershed a fit habitat for Coho salmon and people.’”
Cindy Beckett, EPA Master Wastershed Steward said, “I will continue to fight to stop the destruction of this historic creek system, alone if needs be, and will continue to file requests with the Federal agencies to cut all funding to the State and this county for their flat refusal to enforce their laws, now that it has been clearly established that Pierce has no enforcement capability at all. It may be more convenient for most to just look the other way and say or do nothing because they don’t want to “rock the boat”, but it is an outrage to me, and I honestly cannot fathom why so many people seem to think it’s just OK to destroy very literally the last of our water resources, solely to accommodate more development that we truly do not need. “
Russell also wrote, “I believe that the relevant question here is: Is it the function of the (CCWC) Stewardship Committee to devote its time and energy to drafting the script for a memorial service in celebration of our watershed’s untimely death. Or is the function of the Stewardship Committee to not only define the nature of its problems (which we have done) and then devote our energies to define the actions necessary to restore its health and natural function (which we have not done)?”
There are organizations, there are a considerable number of laws, from the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, RCW’s, Growth Management to county ordinances. Then again, there are some plain old common sense things local residents need to consider. Overall, anyone that has lived in this area for any length of time knows, we cannot safely continue the road we are on. There must be action take to stop and reverse the damage to the aquifer, the creeks and the lakes.
So listen in to the FOSL meeting if you have the time Thursday night the 24th. It will certainly enlighten and potentially be lively. Ther is always hope that their funding can actually make some improvements to what we have frittered away with development.