Pierce County seeks public input on Spanaway Lake’s health

Staff writerDecember 4, 2013 

Pierce County is getting ready to launch a $400,000 study and management plan for Spanaway Lake on how to best protect and improve its water quality.

Officials are seeking the public’s input on the study with a community kickoff meeting Wednesday night.

The study will lead to a plan for managing the lake’s water quality with strategies for controlling nutrients to prevent algae and invasive aquatic plants, said Dan Wrye, water quality manager for public works and utilities.

Spanaway Lake’s health is generally good, Wrye said. But like other lakes in Pierce County, it has had problems over the past decade with toxic algae blooms, which can kill animals, he said.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has issued two caution advisories for toxic algae on Spanaway Lake this year, advising that areas where algae is visible should be avoided, said Ray Hanowell, an environmental health specialist with the health department.

Aquatic weeds also have posed a nuisance for swimming, boating and fishing, Wrye said.

The purpose of the state-funded project is to learn how to improve water quality at Spanaway Lake.

“What we learn in the process of doing that we will take to other lakes in the future,” he said.

The lake is about 25 feet deep at its deepest point. Its surface area is 280 acres.

Wrye said the lake is a “tremendous asset for the community” – and not just for those who live along its shores. The lake is home for 135-acre Spanaway Park. The county park’s attractions include beaches, a fishing pier, boat launch, picnic areas and softball fields.

The park is also the site of the annual Fantasy Lights holiday display, which is currently underway.

The goal of the study is to protect fish and birds, as well as people’s ability to use the lake for recreation. It also seeks to improve the health of water bodies downstream, most directly Spanaway Creek.

Wrye said he’s not aware of a plan in place for any other lake in Pierce County as comprehensive as this one.

Rep. David Sawyer, D-Tacoma, advocated for the Legislature earlier this year to include $400,000 in its capital budget for the study and plan.

The study, including water sampling, will be completed next year followed by the management plan by mid-2015. The county will carry out the project with help from a consultant.

“Spanaway Lake is pretty well off as far as lakes are concerned now because it’s shallow and it has several nutrient sources that can be balanced,” Wrye said. “We’re trying to maintain and improve its status.”

If you go

WHAT: Community kickoff for Spanaway Lake study.

WHEN: 6-8 p.m. Wednesday.

WHERE: Spanaway Elementary School, 412 165th St. S, Spanaway.

MORE INFORMATION: bit.ly/1chTyLg, 253-798-2725.

Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647 steve.maynard@ thenewstribune.com @TNTstevemaynard

The News Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service