Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sharing news from our friends at the Washington Dept. of Natural Resources

By Jeanne Koenings, Environmental Planner, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance

DNR has been removing old creosote pilings from the waters off Cypress Island (near Anacortes). Those that can’t be pulled are being cut by divers and swam over to a nearby boat for collection.

What a surprise to everyone in the boat when a large octopus began to emerge from a rotted-out piling that had been hauled into the boat. Apparently he or she was very determined to stick to home, so to speak. Once the shock wore off, deck hands gently returned the critter to the water to find some healthier place to hide.

DNR’s work is part of efforts to restore and protect the health of Puget Sound. Creosote pilings can leach unhealthy chemicals into the water and affect wildlife and other marine life.

Ecology provided DNR with a $1 million grant to pull pilings from around the sound. Thanks to the Woodard Bay project coming in under budget, DNR could expand its work to a couple more locations, including Cypress Island. Ecology’s grant comes from what’s known as the state toxics control account – a tax on hazardous substances purchased in our state.

Read more about the octopus encounter at Washington Department of Natural Resources blog, Ear to the Ground . Photos courtesy of Lisa Kaufman, DNR.

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