State considers creating Lake Kapowsin aquatic reserve

A proposal to create a Lake Kapowsin Aquatic Reserve will be the topic of an open house Thursday.

At the meeting, staff from the state Department of Natural Resources will give an overview of the aquatic reserve program and the proposal for state-owned aquatic lands at the lake.

After the presentation, the public will be able to offer ideas or concerns about the location of the proposed reserve; share information about lake history, wildlife activities and habitats in the area; and discuss ideas about agency management of such a reserve.

Lake Kapowsin is an undeveloped Puget lowland lake, about 4 miles south of Graham. The 490-acre lake has a unique submerged cedar forest, created about 500 years ago when the Electron Mudflow surged down Mount Rainier and dammed Kapowsin Creek, according to a department news release. The lake serves as habitat for fish and other water-dependent species.

Under the reserve program, the department would develop a site-specific management plan for state-owned lands that identifies uses within the reserve and also may limit the activities that can take place on site. Without a reserve designation and a management plan, the department would consider a uses of the aquatic lands on a case-by-case basis, according to the release.

A reserve would only include agency-managed state aquatic lands, not private shorelands or tribal lands.

Aquatic reserve status would not affect fishing, boating or private property, nor would it set harvest restrictions.

The department manages 2.6 million acres of state aquatic lands, including many of Washington’s beaches, natural lakes and navigable rivers, and the bedlands under Puget Sound and the coast.

Its jurisdiction includes 3,430 square miles of bedlands under navigable waters, as well as freshwater shorelands and bedlands.