Water Quality Improvement

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Nov 29

Washington’s first freshwater Aquatic Reserve is Official!

Posted on November 29, 2016 at 10:29 AM by Allan Warren

Lk Kapowsin 2After two years of consultation with the local community, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark signed the order designating Lake Kapowsin as an Aquatic Reserve on September 22, 2016.  The lake is in eastern Pierce County.

“Lake Kapowsin is one of the few undeveloped lakes in the Puget lowlands. By making this natural treasure an aquatic reserve, we are protecting its unique and special qualities so people can play, hunt and fish it in the future as they do today,” Commissioner Goldmark said. 

CommGoldmarkThe Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Aquatic Reserve program protects important native ecosystems on state-owned aquatic lands. DNR’s aquatic reserves promote the preservation, restoration, and enhancement of aquatic environments with special educational, scientific, or environmental interest. Lake Kapowsin is the eighth such reserve. 

Lake Kapowsin formed when the Electron Mudflow surged down Mount Rainier and dammed Kapowsin Creek some 500 years ago. The dammed lake submerged an ancient fir and cedar forest that now provides prime habitat for warmwater fish, amphibians and migratory waterfowl. The lake covers 512 acres and has predominately natural shorelines and shallow waters. 

DNR worked closely with the community and government organizations over the past two years to develop a management plan for the reserve. The Lake Kapowsin Management Plan is viewable online at: http://file.dnr.wa.gov/publications/aqr_resv_lake_kapowsin_mgmt_plan.pdf

This plan is aimed at ensuring the many people who enjoy fishing and hunting on Lake Kapowsin can continue to do so, while also providing research opportunities for geologists and aquatic biologists. Lake Kapowsin is one of the few lakes in western Washington that supports bass fishing and is open for waterfowl hunting. Keeping the lake clean from litter and vandalism and expanding public access opportunities are also priorities in the management plan. 

For more information, contact:
Birdie Davenport, Aquatic Reserves Program Manager