Review of Supplemental Modeling ScenariosDavid H. Milne PhD - Faculty, TESC (ret.) - July, 2018
The following problems with the Report are noted. (There are others, too many for a single page summary.)
- 1) Water Quality standards violations in Capitol Lake itself were vastly (and incorrectly) overestimated;
- 2) The calculations of Total Organic Carbon (from plant growth) entering the Sound from the Lake or Estuary scenarios overstate the amount of TOC in the Lake case and understate it in the Estuary case;
- 3) An inappropriate technique was used to calculate East Bay water residence times;
- 4) The authors mistakenly assume that Capitol Lake’s ecology is phosphorus limited and base many pages of irrelevant discussion and calculation on that assumption;
- 5) The Budd Inlet model produces many demonstrably wrong answers where compared with observed data; yet the authors consider every dissolved oxygen calculation accurate to within 0.01 mg/L;
- 6) Answers derived from the authors’ method of finding water quality standards “violations” (based on calculated unknown/unknowable conditions in hypothesized pre-modern waters) are not subject to independent confirmation or refutation (not testable) by scientists elsewhere;
- 7) The authors’ hypothesis of how organic carbon created by plants in the Lake enter and affect Budd Inlet is not ecologically realistic and, contrary to their claim, is not testable by the Budd Inlet model;
- 8) A Figure showing water quality violations in the hypothesized pre-modern (pre-dam) estuary is formatted in a way that makes it impossible to judge the extent of the violations; proper formatting shows that violations are as widespread in that “natural” water (and comparable in size) as they are today with Capitol Lake present;
- 9) A “benthic algae photosynthesis” subroutine failed to show high bottom water oxygen on a day when observations demonstrated this at the critical East Bay cell used as the focus of all simulations – a malfunction that calls into question all of Ecology’s assertions about dissolved oxygen levels in shallow water;
- 10) The authors avoided simulating the effect on the Lake/Inlet interaction that would result from a program of harvesting Lake plants, an option that would almost certainly improve Inlet water quality;
- 11) Low dissolved oxygen levels calculated for the “critical cell” in East Bay are mistakenly attributed to Capitol Lake. They are, instead, almost certainly caused by the immense nitrogen load from the External source;
- 12) Figures included from other sources, said to bolster the authors’ claim, actually show the opposite; beneficial removal by Capitol Lake of nutrient nitrogen from Deschutes River water.
No public policy decisions should be based on the contents of the Supplemental Modeling Report.
Also - see the CLIPA Community Waterfront Management Plan - A Balanced Community & Environmental Management Program, with Hybrid / Split Lake with Restored Estuary and Waterfront options.
OUTLINE OF THIS REVIEW
1. BACKGROUND: ESTUARIES AND DISSOLVED OXYGEN.
- 1-1. Introduction.
- 1-2. The Estuarine Circulation; Giant Unseen Flows.
- 1-3. Oxygen Depletion in Estuaries.
- 1-3a. The Oxygen Story in Puget Sound.
- 1-3b. Oxygen Depletion; Seasonal Factors.
- 1-3c. Oxygen Depletion; The Estuarine Null Zone.
- 1-4. Reading the Oxygen Record.
- 1-4a. DO Saturation: Key to Understanding Water Quality.
- 1-4b. Bottom Water Rising in Olympia Harbor.
- 1-5. What’s Driving Low September Dissolved Oxygen Levels in Budd Inlet?
- 1-6. What the Budd Inlet Water Quality Controversy is All About.
2. GOOD SIMULATION, MISTAKEN INTERPRETATIONS.
- 2-1. About This Review.
- 2-2. Introduction.
- 2-3. The Budd Inlet Computer Model.
- 2-4. Data Sources.
- 2-5. Encounters with the Department of Ecology.
- 2-6. The Review That Follows.
- 2-7. Good Science …
3. THE COMPUTER GETS MANY WRONG ANSWERS.
- 3-1. Overview.
- 3-2. Counting Right Answers.
- 3-2a. Worst Case Scenario.
- 3-2b. All Model Calculations for the Critical Cell; Flawed?
- 3-3. The Computer’s Margin of Error.
- 3-4. The Biggest Source of Error and Confusion of All.
- 3-5. Minimizing Errors; Possibilities and Ecology’s Responses.
- 3-6. No More “Natural Estuary” Calculations?
4. THE BUDD INLET ESTUARY; “NATURAL” AND MODERN.
- 4-1. Overview of Chapter 4.
- 4-2. The Missing Natural Budd Inlet Grid Map.
- 4-3. Reminder. Interpreting Grid Maps.
- 4-4. Ecology’s “Non-Grid” Natural Estuary Map.
- 4-5. Ecology’s Natural Estuary Converted to Standard Grid-Map Format.
- 4-6. The Modern Budd Inlet Estuary.
- 4-6a. The Sizes of the Nutrient Nitrogen Sources Affecting Budd Inlet
- 4-6b. Budd Inlet Without “The Capitol Lake Dam.” Getting Organized.
- 4-6c. Table 4-1. Summary and Overview of the SM Report’s Scenario Simulations.
- 4-6d. Figure 4-7; Grid Maps of the Dam/No Dam Simulations.
- 4-7. “With Dam” Scenarios Compared; Ecology’s vs. This Review’s Versions.
- 4-8. Summary of With/Without Dam Scenario Outcomes.
- 4-9. Budd Inlet is Better Off With the Dam than Without it.
- 4-10. Optional. Figuring Out the Data Used by Ecology in the Scenarios.
- 4-11. Optional. Transforming the Natural Estuary Grid Map.
- 4-12. Optional (continued). Details and Reliability of the Selection Process.
- 4-13. Optional. The Derivation of “Budd Inlet With No Dam” (Figure 4-7c).
5. ECOLOGY’S BUDD INLET SIMULATIONS: FLAWED SCIENCE.
- 5-1. Avoidance of Simulations Likely to Exonerate Capitol Lake.
- 5-1a. The Missing Simulation of Plant Harvesting … Background and Evasion.
- 5-1b. The Missing Simulation of Moxlie Creek’s Effect on East Bay.
- 5-2. Downplaying Solutions Other Than Eliminating Capitol Lake.
- 5-3. Trivial Simulations, Meaningless Graphs.
- 5-4. “The Dam” (Not Capitol Lake) is the Problem … or is it?
- 5-5. “Increased Residence Time” – So What? – and a Botched Calculation.
- 5-6. Summary.
6. ECOLOGY’S CENTRAL CLAIM: “THE DAM DEPLETES OXYGEN.” WRONG.
- 6-1. Overview. Why the Claim is Mistaken.
- 6-2. The Availability of Nitrate Nutrients at the East Bay Location.
- 6-3. The Arrival of Nitrogen Nutrients at Priest Point.
- 6-4. The Movement of Nitrogen Nutrients Into and Out of West Bay.
- 6-5. Dissolved Oxygen Depletion in East Bay Caused by “The Dam” – Zero?
- 6-6. Summary. Likely Causes of Low DO Conditions in East Bay.
- 6-7. Conclusions and a Recommendation.
7. ORGANIC CARBON CLAIMS: MISLEADING, MISTAKEN, NOT CREDIBLE.
- 7-1. Overview.
- 7-2. Background.
- 7-3. The Production of Organic Carbon by Lake and Estuary.
- 7-4. Optional. Estimating TOC from DIN Uptake, using Figures 7-3a and 7-3b.
- 7-5. Results. Estimating TOC from DIN Uptake.
- 7-6. Errors in Ecology’s Calculations and Interpretations.
- 7-7. Waterborne TOC in Real Life.
- 7-8. Real Life Estuaries and Lakes.
- 7-9. Summary of Both Cases.
- 7-10. Why are the Modelers Fixated on Phytoplankton?
- 7-11. How Would These Errors Affect Our View of Dissolved Oxygen in Budd Inlet?
8. THE LATE-SEASON DEPARTURE OF ORGANIC CARBON FROM CAPITOL LAKE.
- 8-1. Ecology’s “Organic Carbon” Hypothesis and the Real World Alternative.
- 8-2. Seasonal Change in Capitol Lake.
- 8-3. Background for Understanding the Late Fall Decline in Dissolved Oxygen in Budd Inlet.
- 8-4. Incoming and Outgoing Water; The Fall Seasonal Effect on Dissolved Oxygen.
- 8-5. Summary. The Search for a Late-Season Lake Effect.
- 8-6. Optional Technical End Note: Ratio of Biomass Between Macrophyte (Large) Plants and Phytoplankton.
9. CAPITOL LAKE: ERRORS AND FALSE CLAIMS.
- 9-1. There is No Real-Life “Oxygen Depletion” in Capitol Lake.
- 9-2. Ecology’s “Dissolved Oxygen Deficiencies” in Capitol Lake Were Calculated Incorrectly.
- 9-2a. Background for the Correct Calculation.
- 9-2b. Optional: Checking The Dissolved Oxygen Calculation.
- 9-2c. Optional: The Corrected Dissolved Oxygen Calculations.
- 9-3. The Lake’s Calculated Water Quality Violations are Tiny or Nonexistent.
- 9-4. The Phosphorus Wild Goose Chase.
- 9-5. The Eutrophic “Hopeless Phosphorus Red Herring” and the 303-d Listing.
- 9-6. Nutrient Nitrogen – Seldom Mentioned, Never Simulated.
- 9-7. Optional. The DO TABLES Calculations.
- 9-8. Not Optional. The Bottom Line. Capitol Lake is NOT “Oxygen Depleted.” ECOLOGY STOP SAYING THAT IT IS!
10. LOW DISSOLVED OXYGEN IN NATURAL ESTUARIES.
- 10-1. The Drive to Sanitize Natural Estuaries.
- 10-2. Eld Inlet – A Modern “Natural” Estuary?
- 10-3. Low Oxygen Levels in Modern Eld Inlet.
- 10-4. Eld Inlet with “Natural” Low DO’s; a Second Line of Evidence.
- 10-5. Optional: How the Eld Inlet Profile was Constructed from the Probe Data.
- 10-6. Where Will They Go From Here?
Review of Supplemental Modeling Scenario Reportby: Dr. David H. Milne PhD - July 2018
Review of Supplemental Modeling Scenario Report - The Washington Department of Ecology Report, Supplementary Modeling Scenarios, purports to demonstrate that Capitol Lake has a negative effect on Puget Sound water quality. That is not the case. In fact, data in that Report support the view that Capitol Lake effects on Puget Sound are actually beneficial.