The Steh-Chass River (now renamed the Deschutes River) is Thurston County’s fastest rising and falling river, responding quickly to local rainfall and runoff. Along its 52 mile run, there are 14 identified streams that provide over 256 miles of drainage! At Cougar mountain the river reaches an elevation of 3,870 feet and reaches sea level at Capitol Lake before emptying into Budd Inlet. Flowing from the south to the north, the Deschutes Watershed includes several lakes including; Trosper, Capital, Offut, Lawrence, McIntosh and Tempo.
Percival Creek is located within the Budd-Deschutes Watershed and begins at Trosper Lake in Tumwater, WA. It travels through residential areas, through the campus of the South Puget Sound Community College, and through the Percival Canyon before it enters Percival Cove and joins up with Capitol Lake.
Mission Creek is also located within the Budd-Deschutes Watershed and is a unique system. Sourced in the wetlands of Mission Creek Nature Park, it travels through the Eastside Neighborhood and outlets at Priest Point Park. The mouth of Mission Creek recently underwent restoration efforts to improve salmon habitat.
Indian and Moxlie Creeks converge and flow into East Bay. Indian Creek begins at Bigelow Lake and travels through Olympia, underneath I-5 and along parts of the Karen Fraser Woodland Trail. Moxlie Creek is fed by residential runoff and springs located in Olympia’s Watershed Park. The two creeks join together just north of Watershed Park, and flow under the City of Olympia for nearly 1 mile before eventually spilling into Budd Bay.
Additional Resources for the Deschutes Watershed:
- What Happened to the Steh-Chass People, by Pat Rasmussen
- Deschutes Watershed Land Use Analysis
- Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team
- Squaxin Island Tribe Natural Resources
- Capitol Land Trust
- In the News: Deschutes Brewery Oil Spill Clean Up
- Deschutes River Watershed Analysis
Pictures from throughout the Deschutes Watershed: