Regional setting and topography: The city of Moses Lake is located along the southern portion of a 6800 acre fresh water coulee lake in the central Columbia Plateau region in Washington. Moses Lake is a shallow warm water lake that was created as a result of ice age glaciers and ancient floods that moved across eastern Washington. Moses Lake is an extended natural impoundment that was formed due to the deposition of dune sands across a channel system cut as a result of the ancient floods. The surrounding topography is characterized by relatively flat depositional terraces and cross-cutting, abandoned erosional channels, and drainage is generally toward Moses Lake.
Climate: The climate of Moses Lake is semiarid to arid with hot, dry summers, and moderately cold winters. The Cascade Mountain range, approximately 58 kilometers to the west of the lake acts as a precipitation barrier and funnels hot dray air in the summer and cold arctic air in to the Columbia Basin in the winter.
Land uses: The land use immediately surrounding Moses Lake is predominately urban and suburban, especially along the southern shorelines of the lake. The land to the west, southeast and northeast of the lake is extensively irrigated cropland, with dry range and shrubland to the north. The lake is primarily used for recreational purposes such as boating, fishing, jet skiing, and swimming. It is also regulated as part of the Columbia Basin Project and serves as a supply route for water passing from the East Low Canal to the Potholes Reservoir.
References: City of Moses Lake, Park, Recreation, & Open Space Plan (2001); Washington State Department of Ecology, Moses Lake Total Maximum Daily Load Groundwater Study (2003).
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