McClane Creek Basin Study

Study Summary
Thurston County conducted a study of McLane Creek Basin to identify land use policies to preserve the basin's future health. The study was recommended in the County's earlier Science to Local Policy Study, because although the basin is rurally located, it is impacted by livestock waste, and leaking septic systems and pet waste from nearby residential development.

Study Dates  2013-2015

Completed Work (PDFs)
Final Report
Basin Aerial Map
11 Study Maps
Maps of Three Future Options


Background on McLane Creek Basin
The McLane Creek Basin encompasses more than 7,000 acres that drain into McLane Creek and its tributaries, including Beatty Creek, Cedar Flats Creek, Perkins Creek, and Swift Creek. The basin – one of Thurston County's most ecologically intact basins that discharges to Puget Sound – is home to around 1,300 people. The population is projected to grow by about 30 percent by 2035, to around 1,700 people.

Though the basin is rural – with about 3 percent impervious surfaces and greater than 70 percent tree canopy cover – it is still impacted by residential development, as well as agricultural and forest practices. Livestock waste, leaking septic systems, and pet waste are the main human-controlled pollutants in McLane Creek, which contributes half of the bacterial load to Eld Inlet.

While the basin is relatively healthy today, future development and changes in land use could impact forest cover along streams and increase stormwater runoff, exacerbating water quality issues. The aim of this project is to identify policies that can be put in place now to preserve the health of the basin into the future.

Public Outreach

​Meeting Date
​Meeting Materials (PDFs)
​October 9, 2014
Maps of Three Future Alternatives
April 9, 2014
Presentation - About the Science to Policy Project
Fact Sheet - McLane Creek Basin
Handout - Sensitive Basins
Handout - Urban Basins

Project Funding 
This project was funded in whole or part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under assistance agreement (PO -00J12401-0) to Thurston County. The contents of this website do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.