Deschutes Project

The Middle Deschutes Retrofit Study project will identify stormwater retrofit and restoration projects in the Deschutes River basin from the Rainier area to Spurgeon Creek. The projects will improve water quality and fish habitat in the Deschutes River, streams, and creeks in the area. The projects will become part of the Stormwater Utility's Capital Facilities Plan and be built using Stormwater Utility Fees. 


What is the Middle Deschutes Retrofit Study project?

The project will identify stormwater improvement and streamside restoration projects in the middle Deschutes River basin. That is the area that drains to the Deschutes River roughly from the town of Rainier to the mouth of Spurgeon Creek. 

What is a stormwater improvement project?

As water from storms flows over yards, roads, and buildings, it collects things you wouldn't want to touch or drink, like leaking car fluids, poisons, chemicals, and animal waste (sometimes even from leaking septic systems). This polluted water is called "stormwater runoff." Stormwater improvement or "retrofit" projects are designed to improve water quality by filtering and removing pollutants from the stormwater runoff before it gets into streams, lakes, rivers and ground water. This is done by building stormwater facilities that slow down and clean stormwater. Some familiar facilities include stormwater ponds and bioretention areas (sometimes called "rain gardens").

What is streamside restoration?

Streamside or "riparian" restoration is a fancy way of saying that we're going to replant areas along the river or stream bank with native trees and shrubs. Replanting stabilizes streambanks, reduces erosion, filters the water entering the stream, shades the water so it stays cool, and supports healthy stream habitat for fish, birds and other animals.

How will these projects be funded?

Funding for these projects will come primarily from the Capital Facility Stormwater Utility fees paid by county residents. However, we will apply for grant funding whenever it's available for these types of projects.

What is the Stormwater Utility Capital Facilities Plan?

The Capital Facilities Plan (CFP) is a list of projects that will be designed and built by the County over a 6‑year period. The CFP is updated every year when new projects are added and completed projects removed. The Thurston County Board of County Commissioners approves the CFP as a part of an annual update to the County's Comprehensive Plan.  

How will projects be chosen?

The Stormwater Utility hired Herrera Environmental Consultants, a Washington State based engineering firm, to perform the study.  A group that included county staff and other stakeholders met with Herrera to outline project goals and priorities. The stakeholder group was asked to identify projects that they knew about that might be candidates for inclusion on the CFP. The stakeholders identified several projects and potential projects that the Stormwater Utility is studying for inclusion on the CFP. Herrera started by doing some analysis in the office to locate likely places for retrofit and riparian restoration projects. After possible sites are identified, Herrera staff will perform field investigations to see if the sites have any potential to become a project. If it looks like the site is a likely candidate, Herrera, along with county staff, will come up with conceptual plans and cost estimates and analyze the possible benefits. This information will be used to prioritize the projects using a rating system developed by county staff. The county hopes to identify 5 projects to include in the CFP.

Who do I contact for more information?

Please contact Mark Maurer by email or at 360-867-2968 for more information or if you have an area for us to consider. 

Project Documents

Lower-Middle Deschutes Basin Retrofit Study Potential Project Locations (working draft)

Deschutes River RM 21 Restoration Project: Preliminary Design Report (June 2017)