Deschutes Watershed

From Salish Sea Wiki

"The Deschutes River is one of the largest streams in Thurston County, flowing over 57 miles from its forested headwaters to Puget Sound. The watershed that drains into the river includes a variety of land uses, including timber and agricultural lands, as well as developed areas within the cities of Olympia and Tumwater. While the Deschutes River currently supports a variety of wildlife habitat and recreational uses, it also suffers from ongoing pollution concerns. The river is listed under the federal Clean Water Act for dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform, temperature, pH, and fine sediment, and is the subject of a state-coordinated cleanup plan. Nutrient levels in the Deschutes contribute to pollution issues in Capitol Lake (which is the Deschutes Estuary), and it is considered a major contributor to low dissolved oxygen levels in Budd Inlet. Anticipated future development in the watershed could exacerbate water quality issues." - Thurston County, 2017 (with parentheses added)



  • 2023 - Legislature provides DES $7M to complete design for restoration of the Deschutes Estuary
  • 2021 - Publication of draft watershed plan for SRFB review in response to the Hirst Decision
  • 2020 - Publication of TMDL by EPA following revision.
  • 2015 - Publication of a draft TMDL study of the watershed by Ecology.
  • 2016 - County commissioners approve a land use study.
  • 2015 - Squaxin Island Tribe drafts coho recovery strategy for the watershed.
  • 1999 - Beginning of watershed planning


  • How does the TMDL compel the County, State and Cities (including LOTT to change nutrient pollution.