Camas completes the first phase of the maritime management plan

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Advisors hired by the City of Camas will soon complete the first phase of a two-phase maritime management plan aimed at addressing pollution sources and improving lake water quality in Camas’ Lacamas, Round and Fallen Leaf Lakes, but critical data collection will have to wait for the state to complete City Approved Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP).

“When we got into this phase one and started working with (the Washington State Ecology Department), we knew we had to collect some kind of data,” said Steve Wall, public works director for Camas, city councilor Camas during his regular session on September 20th. “To speak to Ecology, in order for them to accept the data collected, we need to do a (QAPP)… Field data collection and analysis was one of the first things we identified for phase two, so we want to get started with the QAPP and this is how it is Submit it to Ecology as soon as possible. “

It could take the state at least two months to sign the city’s QAPP, Wall added, but that won’t stop advisors from moving on to other components of the second phase.

“A lot of things run in parallel,” said Wall. “We’re trying to finish phase one and start QAPP and (then) continue with field data collection.”

After multiple toxic algae outbreaks occurred in Lacamas and Round Lakes in 2019 and 2020, the city council approved spending of up to $ 300,000 – funded by the city’s Rainwater Fund and available grants – to establish and manage a lake management plan for all three lakes Determine water quality goals and develop strategies that will improve the water quality of the lakes and ultimately help prevent toxic algal blooms.

The city hired Geosyntec Consultants earlier this year to begin the first phase of the maritime management plan and create a work plan for the second phase.

Wall said the scope of work for the first phase includes reviewing background data to better understand lake water quality and historical data, as well as identifying short-term measures to improve lake water quality; Communicate with stakeholders to understand lake concerns; Identify funding opportunities and volunteer opportunities to help improve the water quality of the lake; and planning how the actual maritime management plan will be drawn up.

“Phase one is about to be completed,” Wall said to the city council on September 20.

In August, a Geosyntec consultant told city officials that a critical step in solving lakes’ water quality problems would be to find out exactly where pollution, including phosphorus, enters the lake system.

“Lacamas Creek was responsible for most of the phosphorus inflows in Lacamas and Round Lakes in the 1980s,” the advisor said during a council workshop on Aug. 2. “We have to check whether that is still true. In order to reduce the occurrence of algal blooms, it is necessary to reduce the phosphorus pollution of the stream from the water catchment area.

In the absence of “serious” studies of the water quality of the lakes since the mid-2000s, he added, “It is important to identify the sources that enter and exit the lake … future.”

Wall added that the city and its advisors are not making any assumptions about possible sources of pollution in the lakes or the reasons for the frequent toxic algal blooms, which can be harmful to humans and kill smaller animals, including dogs drinking or using the water Come into contact with algal blooms.

“The idea wasn’t just to step in and make assumptions about what we thought might or might not work,” Wall told city officials on August 2nd. “We want to base this on science. We have to find out what is going on (with the water quality of the lakes) and what the current conditions are. “

Wall said the QAPP is expected to cost $ 22,700, including meetings with ecology staff and revisions after Ecology reviews the draft document. The city has agreed to fund a $ 7,000 “emergency task” to collect data from the three lakes this summer that will help pay the QAPP costs, Wall said. The remaining $ 15,700 will come from the $ 50,000 freshwater algae control program grant the city recently received from Ecology.

The city council is expected to approve the QAPP cost and give the advisors the green light to begin the plan at the council’s regular meeting on October 4th.

The city recently suspended the work of the citizen-led Lacamas Creek Watershed Committee over a threatened lawsuit against the city over a biofilter in the Lacamas Shores housing estate on the city’s lake.

In a press release from city communications director Bryan Rachal last week, city officials said the ad hoc committee did a good job but was suspended “on the advice of a lawyer”.

Wall added that the city’s work on the maritime management plan will continue despite the threatened lawsuit and the committee’s suspension.

“We need to continue to build on the momentum that the community and partner agencies have given us,” said Wall. “We know this is a multi-faceted issue that involves many stakeholders and we need to continue our good work to date to find the necessary solutions.”

He added that city workers and advisors are still committed to collecting public contributions to the maritime management plan.

“Community engagement will be one of the most important keys to our success,” said Wall. “With that in mind, we will continue our plan to create a comprehensive public relations and participation plan for our next phase of work and continue to provide updates on Engage Camas and our website. We really need the community to stay involved during this process to ensure we find potential strategies that will support and actively support our citizens. “

Further information on the maritime management plan can be found at engagec amas.com/lacamas-lake-managementplan.


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