Cape Meares Lake (Tillamook)

Reachcode: 17100203010428 | Area: 157.6 acres | Shoreline: 3.9 mi | View on Interactive Map

(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985).  Cape Meares Lake (also known as Bayocean Lake) has a very unusual history. In 1952 Bayocean Spit, separating Tillamook Bay from the Pacific Ocean, was breached by storm waves through Biggs Cove at its southern end. This event was the final blow in the decline of Bayocean Park, an ill—fated resort community that had been established on the spit early in the century. Apparently, the supply of beach sand to the spit had been reduced over the years because of the construction of North Jetty at the mouth of Tillamook Bay. In an attempt to rebuild the spit, the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1950s constructed a long rock—and sand—filled dike along its east side. The Pacific shoreline was quickly reestablished, although sand has not yet filled in as far as the dike. That portion of open water remaining behind the dike is Cape Meares Lake, a shallow body of fresh water which will gradually shrink in size and disappear as sand dunes encroach from the west and sediments accumulate from the drainage basin. 

At the south end of Bayocean Spit are extensive vernal pools and marshes which grade into the rich aquatic vegetation of the lake. The only surface inflow is through this bog area; outflow to Tillamook Bay is controlled through the dike. Waterfowl and marsh birds use the wetland habitat for breeding and feeding, while bass and rainbow trout are found in the lake. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has used the lake for fish—rearing, and the Nature Conservancy has expressed interest in the whole region because of the diversity of vegetation and habitat. The drainage basin to the south and the shoreline are primarily county land, thus assuring public access. Small boats can be carried onto the lake for recreation. 

Due to its exposure to strong Pacific winds and its very shallow depth Cape Meares Lake does not develop any pronounced temperature stratification. The swampy drainage basin contributes dissolved organic matter which imparts a brown tint to the water. Macrophytes cover much of this eutrophic lake and are the principal source of primary productivity. The conductivity and sodium/chloride concentrations are very high, second only to Eckman Lake among the coastal lakes included in this survey. High salinity is due to proximity to the ocean which supplies sea spray to the lake and its small drainage basin.

Printable Lake Map
No mussel data available.

The list of plants below includes results of aquatic plant surveys conducted by the Center for Lakes and Reservoirs as well as aquatic invasive plant species detections that have been reported to iMap Invasives: an online, GIS-based invasive species reporting and querying tool.

Plants listed in the table below are categorized as native to Oregon, on the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s (ODA’s) Noxious Weed List, on the Federal Noxious Weed List, or non-native but not listed as noxious. Federal Noxious Weed List plants are plants determined by USDA to be serious threats to U.S. agriculture, irrigation, navigation, public health or the environment (7 C.F.R. 360.200). The ODA Noxious Weed categories are:

ODA Class A - weeds either unknown or with small enough infestations to make eradication or containment possible; targeted for eradication or intensive control.

ODA Class B - regionally abundant weeds (may have limited distribution in some counties); targeted for local/regional control on case-by-case basis.

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Date Species Status Source
Dec. 1, 2006 Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag iris) Non-native ODA Class B IMAP
Jan. 1, 1999 Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag iris) Non-native ODA Class B IMAP
No photos available.

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