Westway and Imperium Expansion Projects

Draft Environmental Impact Statements
Historic and Cultural Preservation Fact Sheet

Archaeological and historical resources as well as culturally significant properties are all forms of cultural resources. Archaeological resources, often below ground, provide evidence of prior human occupation. Historical resources are human-made objects or landscapes that are particularly important or unique. Culturally significant properties are sites or locations that are culturally important to the history of a group or people.

What impacts on cultural resources were analyzed?

The studies evaluated how cultural resources at the project sites, along the Puget Sound and Pacific (PS&P) rail line, and in Grays Harbor would be affected by the proposed projects. The studies looked at the likelihood that construction could disturb unknown archaeological resources at the project sites. The studies also looked at whether any of the buildings around the project sites were historically significant and how they might be affected by the proposed projects.

The studies considered if rail traffic along the PS&P rail line and vessel traffic in Grays Harbor might disturb cultural resources. They looked at historic structures along the rail line and potential archaeological resources along the shoreline. Impacts on tribal resources are addressed in the Tribal Resources Fact Sheet.

How were the impacts analyzed?

Past studies were reviewed and trenches and holes were dug on each site to determine if cultural resources might be present. Review of available data, documentation, and site visits were used to determine if there were historically significant buildings at the project sites and along the PS&P rail line that could be impacted. The studies use this information to describe cultural resources. They consider the proposed construction, facility operations, and transportation by trains and vessels in Grays Harbor and along the PS&P rail line. They identify potential impacts from the proposed projects to cultural resources or the ability to access them. Finally, the studies include actions that can mitigate or offset the potential impacts.

How will the proposed projects affect cultural resources?

Construction and Operations

No significant or protected cultural resources were found at the project sites. Operation of the proposed projects would not affect cultural resources because no cultural resources are located at or immediately surrounding the project sites.

Rail Traffic

The studies found that increased rail traffic would not affect cultural resources because there would be no ground disturbance, or increase in vibration along the PS&P rail line.

Vessel Traffic

It is unlikely that increased vessel traffic will significantly affect onshore cultural resources because of the distance of the navigation channel from the shore. Vessels are expected to travel mainly at high tides, when shorelines are covered more by water, reducing the chance of erosion.

What can Westway and Imperium do to reduce impacts on cultural resources?

The studies identify the following mitigation measures to reduce impacts on cultural resources:

  • Prepare an Unanticipated Discovery Plan. If any archaeological resources are found during construction, work will be stopped immediately and appropriate tribes and agencies will be notified.
  • Westway will have a qualified professional archaeologist monitor activities that could disturb up to 15 feet below the current ground surface.
The detailed list of measures is presented in Section 3.11, Historic and Cultural Preservation, of the Draft EISs.

Where is more information available?

Within the Draft EISs, Section 3.11, Historic and Cultural Preservation, has detailed information on current conditions, analysis and findings related to the impacts of the proposed projects on historical and cultural resources.

Section 3.12, Tribal Resources, also includes detailed information and analysis relevant to cultural preservation.

There is an additional fact sheet discussing Tribal Resources.


Westway Terminal proposal
Imperium Terminal proposal

Port of Grays Harbor, Grays Harbor County at 46.9711N/123.859W

Ecology Point of Contact:
Diane Butorac
Regional Planner
Southwest Regional Office
Department of Ecology
(360) 407-6594


Open a printable version of this factsheet:

This fact sheet is provided as a general overview for public outreach purposes. This summary does not include all aspects of the analysis. The detailed analysis, data, and findings are in the Draft EIS for each proposal. The Draft EISs are the SEPA documents of record for information.


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