The Funding and Governance Work Group of the Capitol Lake-Deschutes Estuary project presented yesterday their recommendations for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) as an interlocal agreement that will divide assets and tasks among the different entities involved.
Sara Reich, a consultant from ECONorthwest, presented the work group’s recommendation at the Tumwater City Council’s work session on Tuesday, July 26, and discussed which assets and tasks will be allocated to different entities of the state.
“Some of the details of this are still under consideration and development within the context of the MOU as we move towards signatures there. But in principle, this organization has simplified the long-term governance story,” Reich said.
Under the proposed MOU, separate entities will own and take responsibility for the maintenance of certain assets. Olympia will own the 5th Avenue Bridge, Tumwater will own the South Basin boardwalks, and Washington State will own the Middle Basin boardwalks.
The Port of Olympia will conduct annual bathymetric surveys while the Squaxin Island Tribe will participate in the implementation of the habitat enhancement plan.
There are components of the MOU that will only be active during the duration of the agreement, such as the Port of Olympia being tasked with the contract management for maintenance dredging and Thurston County being tasked with finance management.
The LOTT Clean Water Alliance is also part of the workgroup, but was not allocated any asset or task for now.
The Capitol Lake - Deschutes Estuary project was identified as the likely preferred alternative to restoring the estuary, according to a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by the Department of Enterprise Services in June 2021.
In October this year, Enterprise Services will issue the final EIS and will also submit a capital budget request, according to Tessa Gardner-Brown, another project consultant from Floyd Snyder.
“If the legislature appropriates money in response to that request, they can begin three-to-five-year design and permitting effort for estuary restoration… If we were to assume that everything went swimmingly and we got through in three years, which would be tight, the estuary construction could begin in the late 2020s and will take about six to eight years to complete,” Gardner-Brown said.
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