Record-high lake levels submerge waterfront properties

Lakefront property is becoming submerged on a lake in Thurston County. Frustrated homeowners say they're not getting any help from the county.

Lake St. Clair in Thurston County is at record-high levels, submerging docks, gardens, and boat houses.

The rising waters have submerged eight feet of Mike Neely’s lakefront backyard.

“It’s miserable,” said Neely, who said he put 1,300 pounds of sandbags and 15 yards of dirt to act as a barrier between the lake and his yard.

Neely and his neighbors are looking for help from Thurston County.

“I’d like to see them find some way to access a way to release some water or at least stop it from coming in,” said Neely.

County water resource manager Jim Bachmeier said there is no easy fix.

“It’s pretty complex and expensive,” said Bachmeier.

He blamed consecutive wet winters for the high levels, but said there are some “unknowns” about what has caused, on average, the lake to rise three feet over the last 11 years.

Bachmeier said the county is looking at solutions, but said they would likely be costly and have an environmental impact, especially for a community that only involves a couple of hundred homes.

“This is a relatively small portion of the county that gets benefited from the investment,” said Bachmeier. “How do you balance that benefit to the small area versus some challenges with trying to find the funding across all the demands for the county?”

© 2017 KING-TV


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