Vancouver Lake Management Plan Project

Vancouver Lake shoreline

Vancouver Lake Management Plan, phase 2 implementation: 2024

As a follow up to the Vancouver Lake Management Plan, Friends of Vancouver Lake worked to request an additional legislative proviso for $330,000 to implement recommendations from the management plan. County staff have worked with the Department of Ecology to finalize a one-time grant agreement for $330,000 to begin this work, which must be completed by June 2025.

Within the grant agreement, County staff have worked with Public Health, the County's Parks and Lands division, the Port of Vancouver, and Friends of Vancouver Lake to develop a scope of work, which includes:

  • Public participation – This task is focused on developing a public participation plan to re-engage the Vancouver Lake Technical Advisory Group to facilitate multijurisdictional coordination and planning for Vancouver Lake restoration through June 2025. This includes hosting a Vancouver Lake Symposium on Oct. 17, 2024. 
  • Governance framework – This task focuses on developing a long-term funding and governance structure for the lake to ensure proactive management and stewardship continues into the future. 
  • Beach treatment plan – This task focuses on the necessary planning and permitting required to implement lake treatment at the Vancouver Lake Regional Park swimming beach. This includes developing a strategy to mobilize treatment and coordinating with all the necessary partners to implement the treatment safely, notify the public, and monitor the water quality benefits to the swimming area. 
  • Flushing enhancements - Task three focuses on advancing the top recommendation from the Vancouver Lake Management Plan which is to evaluate alternatives to improve Vancouver Lake flushing, focusing on the Vancouver Lake Flushing Channel. This process will move the community forward to select a preferred alternative, refine models necessary to support conceptual design and engineering, and develop cost estimates. This will significantly help the County move forward towards a design that will help us compete for grant funding or pursue direct funding appropriations for implementation.
  • Other implementation activities – Clark County plans to use some funding from the proviso to implement DNA testing to identify sources of pollution in the watersheds draining to Vancouver Lake. We plan to also conduct a stormwater inventory and assessment to identify important projects in the watersheds to help reduce pollution entering the lake. We are also conducting research and developing technical recommendations and identifying solutions for geese deterrent at Vancouver Lake Regional Park's swim beach, to identify solutions for geese poop problems. We are planning to provide funding to the Legacy Lands program to conduct follow up invasive species surveys, mapping, and treatment to assess the effectiveness of previous milfoil treatments. 

This work will be completed by Herrera Environmental Consultants in partnership with Jacobs, LimnoTech, OrgSupport, and AquaTechnex. The consultant team was selected through a competitive process in partnership with evaluators from Clark County Public Health, Public Works, Port of Vancouver, and Friends of Vancouver Lake. More information about this next phase of work can be found in a recent Columbian news article Algae treatment plan in works to keep Vancouver Lake swimming open as long-term strategies developed.

Vancouver Lake Management Plan, phase 1 (2021-2023)

In 2021, a state operating budget appropriation was awarded to Clark County “for the purpose of designing the process for developing a long-term plan to restore and maintain the health of Vancouver Lake… as well as designing an institutional structure to take responsibility for the plan’s implementation in a financially sustainable manner,” which resulted in the Vancouver Lake Management Plan project.

Clark County selected Herrera Environmental Consultants to build on existing work done on Vancouver Lake by developing an adaptive Vancouver Lake Management Plan (VLMP) for immediate action to manage harmful algal blooms and aquatic noxious weeds, with a structure for future development of management actions to address other lake issues. 

In partnership with LimnoTech, Kearns & West, and AquaTechnex, Herrera then prepared the draft VLMP by gathering input from key stakeholders and the public, analyzing historical data, identifying goals and objectives, creating a lake water quality and hydrologic model, developing potential management scenarios, and evaluating the effectiveness of those methods for managing harmful algae blooms and noxious weeds in the lake.

After public review and review by the Clark County Council, the final VLMP is now complete and includes the following main components for the adaptive management of Vancouver Lake:

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction and Background of the project, watershed, and lake ecosystem
  • Project Description for the present LMP development project
  • Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) Management Methods Evaluation
  • Noxious Weed Management Methods Evaluation
  • Additional Lake Issues identified
  • Recommended Management Plan for HABs and Noxious Weeds
  • Stakeholder Involvement Plan for the implementation of management solutions
  • Funding Plan for the implementation of management solutions
  • Roles and Responsibilities for the suggested management and funding structure
  • Adaptive Management framework for ongoing management of Vancouver Lake