Historical Changes to Lake Washington and Route of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, King County, Washington

Water-Resources Investigations Report 81-1182



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Historical shoreline changes to hydrologic characteristics were studied for Lake Washington and the route of Lake Washington Ship Canal. The study is based on comparison of maps made during the period 1875-1907 and modern topographic maps, supplemented with historical documents that describe the once-natural setting of the lakes and streams in the Lake Washington drainage basin. The observed shoreline changes range from minor to substantial. The water-surface area has been historically reduced by about 6 square kilometers, and total shoreline has been reduced by 20 kilometers. Approximately 4 square kilometers of the historical wetland area has been eliminated, or about 93 percent of the natural wetland extent. The changes have resulted from construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and accompanying water-level adjustments, shoreline modification from urban growth of the area, and limited natural processes. The map comparison documents (1) extent of shoreline changes (2) historical loss of wetlands area, (3) loss of small streams that historically entered the lakes and bays, and (4) historical vegetation and land-use patterns around the lakeshore and canal route. The identification of historical shorelines, wetlands, and small streams that have no expression on today 's landscape is information of value to land-use planning and local engineering activities. (USGS)

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Historical Changes to Lake Washington and Route of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, King County, Washington
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
WRI/OFR 81-1182
Year Published:
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s):
U.S. Geological Survey
1 map : col. ; 138 x 79 cm., on sheet 143 x 84 cm., folded in envelope 30 x 23 cm. + 1 pamphlet (9 p. : maps ; 28 cm.)