Washington State Department of Ecology - September 4, 2013

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Recommended projects restore, protect Port Gamble Bay

OLYMPIA – Tribes, environmental groups, Kitsap County, and state agencies have identified projects that will control pollution sources, preserve habitat, and sustain environmental cleanup work in Port Gamble Bay.

The Washington Legislature has dedicated a total of $7 million for Port Gamble Bay source control, habitat preservation and cleanup sustainability. The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has already committed about $2 million of that money to Kitsap County to buy about 454 acres of forest and shoreline along the western shore of Port Gamble Bay. This area is known as the Western Shoreline Block.

Ecology worked closely with land-conservation group Forterra, Kitsap County, land owner Pope Resources, and other organizations to secure funds to buy the land. The property will be placed into public stewardship for fish, wildlife and people. Purchase of this land depends on Pope Resources signing a separate legal agreement for cleaning up contamination in Port Gamble Bay caused by the company’s past operations.

Earlier this year, Ecology asked stakeholders and tribes for ideas for projects for the remaining funds. Ecology received 26 ideas ranging from buying more land to restoring eelgrass and Olympia oysters. This summer, a panel of specialists from state natural resource agencies reviewed the list of ideas and recommended these projects:

In coming months, Ecology expects to develop plans to carry out the work. The projects, along with planned environmental cleanup work, will support the long-term goals of Ecology and the local community to restore and sustain Port Gamble Bay’s health.

Port Gamble Bay is a high priority for cleanup and restoration under the Puget Sound Initiative. That’s an effort by local, tribal, state and federal governments; business, agricultural and environmental communities; scientists and the public to restore and protect the health of the Sound.

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Media Contact: Seth Preston, communications manager, 360-407-6848; 360-584-5744 (mobile); seth.preston@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:

Port Gamble Bay web page (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/sites_brochure/psi/portGamble/psi_portGamble.html)
 
Puget Sound Initiative (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/sites_brochure/psi/overview/psi_baywide.html)

Toxics Cleanup Program (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/cleanup.html)

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)