Summary report on water quantity and quality studies of Vancouver Lake, Washington

Bhagat, Surinder K. and Orsborn, John F. (1971) Summary report on water quantity and quality studies of Vancouver Lake, Washington. Pullman, WA, Washington State University, College of Engineering Research Division,

PDF (The document's language is English .) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (3MB) | Preview


Vancouver Lake, located adjacent to the Columbia River and just north of the Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area, is a "dying" lake. Although all lakes die naturally in geologic time through the process of eutrophication,* Vancouver Lake is dying more rapidly due to man's activities and due to the resultant increased accumulation of sediment, chemicals, and wastes. Natural eutrophication takes thousands of years, whereas man-made modifications can cause the death of a lake in decades. Vancouver Lake does, however, have the potential of becoming a valuable water resource asset for the area, due particularly to its location near the Columbia River which can be used as a source of "flushing" water to improve the quality of Vancouver Lake. (Document pdf contains 59 pages) Community interest in Vancouver Lake has waxed and waned. Prior to World War II, there were relatively few plans for discussions about the Lake and its surrounding land area. A plan to drain the Lake for farming was prohibited by the city council and county commissioners. Interest increased in 1945 when the federal government considered developing the Lake as a berthing harbor for deactivated ships at which time a preliminary proposal was prepared by the City. The only surface water connection between Vancouver Lake and the Columbia River, except during floods, is Lake River. The Lake now serves as a receiving body of water for Lake River tidal flow and surface flow from creeks and nearby land areas. Seasonally, these flows are heavily laden with sediment, septic tank drainage, fertilizers and drainage from cattle yards. Construction and gravel pit operations increase the sediment loads entering the Lake from Burnt Bridge Creek and Salmon Creek (via Lake River by tidal action). The tidal flats at the north end of Vancouver Lake are evidence of this accumulation. Since 1945, the buildup of sediment and nutrients created by man's activities has accelerated the growth of the large water plants and algae which contribute to the degeneration of the Lake. Flooding from the Columbia River, as in 1968, has added to the deposition in Vancouver Lake. The combined effect of these human and natural activities has changed Vancouver Lake into a relatively useless body of shallow water supporting some wildlife, rough fish, and shallow draft boats. It is still pleasant to view from the hills to the east. Because precipitation and streamflow are the lowest during the summer and early fall, water quantity and quality conditions are at their worst when the potential of the Lake for water-based recreation is the highest. Increased pollution of the Lake has caused a larger segment of the community to become concerned. Land use and planning studies were undertaken on the Columbia River lowlands and a wide variety of ideas were proposed for improving the quality of the water-land environment in order to enhance the usefulness of the area. In 1966, the College of Engineering Research Division at Washington State University (WSU0 in Pullman, Washington, was contacted by the Port of Vancouver to determine possible alternatives for restoring Vancouver Lake. Various proposals were prepared between 1966 and 1969. During the summer and fall of 1967, a study was made by WSU on the existing water quality in the Lake. In 1969, the current studies were funded to establish a data base for considering a broad range of alternative solutions for improving the quantity and quality of Vancouver Lake. Until these studies were undertaken, practically no data on a continuous nature were available on Vancouver Lake, Lake River, or their tributaries. (Document pdf contains 59 pages)

Item Type: Monograph or Serial Issue
Title: Summary report on water quantity and quality studies of Vancouver Lake, Washington
Personal Creator/Author:
Bhagat, Surinder K.
Orsborn, John F.
Date: 1971
Publisher: Washington State University, College of Engineering Research Division
Place of Publication: Pullman, WA
Funders: Port of Vancouver
Uncontrolled Keywords: Vancouver Lake; water quantity; water quality
Subjects: Pollution
Item ID: 1457
Depositing User: L.A. Oftedahl
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2008 01:21
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2015 21:14

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...