waskington state lake images
WATERLINE - March, 2018

Lakewood City Council approves Waughop Lake management plan

The Lakewood City Council took a step forward in the cleanup of Waughop Lake in March 2017 when it approved a lake management plan aimed at restoring the water quality of the 30-acre lake.

The plan outlines two options for addressing recurring toxic algae blooms in the lake: applying alum or dredging the lake bottom.

Adding alum treatments is a temporary solution that could last nearly a decade. If added to the lake, it would stop the toxic blue-green algae that has plagued the lake for as long as anyone can remember. Dredging the lake is a permanent solution, but comes with a multi-million dollar price tag.

The council did not commit to any form of dredging cleanup of Waughop Lake at its meeting in March 2017. Instead, council members said they were open to more studies to determine whether dredging is realistic given potential environmental limitations and fiscal restrictions.

Adopting the plan improves the city’s ability to pursue local, state, and federal grants to address the lake’s water quality issues. Adoption of the plan also allows city staff to add the proposed work to the 2018 stormwater management capital improvement plan and consider it as part of an upcoming stormwater rate analysis.

Lakewood has been leasing the 350-acre Fort Steilacoom Park, including Waughop Lake, from the state. Passage of the state’s capital budget at the start of the 2018 legislative session included language to transfer ownership of the park to the City of Lakewood and Pierce College. The city will now work with the state on completing the land transfer. Today, the city is responsible for all maintenance and upkeep at the park, and has invested nearly $13 million in improvements at the Park.

The next step for management of the lake is to further research cleanup costs and required permits so that the city can move forward promptly when it takes ownership of the property.

Read the lake monitoring report here.

Thanks to the City of Lakewood for allowing Waterline to reprint this article.