Streams & Shorelines - Green Cove Creek Watershed

The headwaters of Green Cove Creek are located in Olympia, beginning at the top of 20th Street near the water tower. The watershed area extends east beyond Cooper Point Road near Capital High School, and to Mud Bay Road to the south. The upper stream is comprised of a series of large wetlands along Kaiser Road from the Grass Lake Refuge to Evergreen Parkway. The stream flows near the Olympia Country Club down a ravine and discharges to Eld Inlet.

Watershed Characteristics

Watershed Area 2,636 Acres
Forest Area 1,284 Acres (49%)
Urban Area* 197 Acres (7%)
Stream Miles 4.0 miles
Drainage Eld Inlet
Water Quality Fish: Good Condition
Swimming: Low Risk
*Urban Area is Impervious Surface Area

Aquatic Life:

Mudminnows found in Green Cove Watershed.
Photo Credit: Wild Fish Conservancy
This stream is very healthy. Chum and coho salmon, as well as sea-run cutthroat, return to the stream each year. The Olympic Mudminnow, a state-listed "sensitive species" is found in many of the wetland areas. Because of the many fish, amphibian, and bird species that use the stream and wetlands, this stream is designated as a "priority stream" by the City.

Unique Natural Features:

The headwaters for the watershed are protected within the 165-acre Grass Lake Refuge, a city-owned wetland complex surrounding a manmade lake, Louise Lake. There are many trails to walk and viewing opportunities for birds.

Special Considerations:

In 2000, City of Olympia and Thurston County elected officials designated Green Cove as a priority watershed warranting extraordinary environmental protection. New developments in the City of Olympia are required to protect 60% of forest cover, have narrow streets and housing footprint areas, and keep all stormwater runoff on-site to preserve the healthy aquatic habitat in this watershed. Your help is also important - minimize fertilizer and pesticide use in your lawn, pick up pet wastes, and prevent car wash soap from entering the stream. Eld Inlet is an active shellfishing area. By protecting water quality, we can maintain the health of this inlet.