Deschutes River watershed area: Budd Inlet

Budd Inlet is the southernmost section of Puget Sound. Portions of it do not meet water quality standards for dissolved oxygen. We are working with partners in the Deschutes River basin to address these impairments and restore these waters to state water quality standards.

Water quality issues

The Deschutes River flows into Capitol Lake which empties into Budd Inlet. Thurston and Lewis counties, the cities of Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater, and the town of Rainier are all in this basin. Major land uses include urban residential, commercial, recreational, and some industrial. The marine waters of Budd Inlet currently do not meet water quality standards for dissolved oxygen.

What is being done

We began water quality monitoring, computer modeling, and analysis for this water quality improvement project in 2003. We published the technical report study findings for the entire watershed in 2012. Two peer reviews of the model were completed in 2014.  Additional computer modeling work resulted in a supplemental modeling scenarios report in 2015. We are now working on the marine waters of Budd Inlet and Capitol Lake. 

Partner Organizations

  • Capitol Lake Improvement and Protection Association (CLIPA)
  • Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT)
  • City of Lacey
  • LOTT Clean Water Alliance
  • City of Olympia
  • Port of Olympia
  • Puget Sound Partnership
  • Squaxin Island Tribe
  • Thurston Conservation District
  • Thurston County
  • City of Tumwater
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Washington State Department of Agriculture
  • Washington State Department of Enterprise Services
  • Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Washington State Department of Health
  • Washington State Department of Natural Resources
  • Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Washington State University Stormwater Center

Why this matters

Water must be of high quality to support fish and wildlife.

Dissolved oxygen — Like people, fish and other aquatic organisms need oxygen to live. As air or water moves past an animal’s breathing apparatus (gills or lungs), oxygen is transferred to its blood. It is more difficult to transfer oxygen from water to blood than it is to transfer oxygen from air to blood. Therefore, it is critical to maintain an adequate amount of oxygen in the water so this transfer can take place efficiently. In addition to being required by aquatic organisms for respiration, oxygen is necessary to help decompose organic matter in the water and bottom sediments. It also is necessary for other biological and chemical processes.