Thursday, January 31, 2013

Around the Sound: Irondale cleanup celebrated

By Michael Bergman, Public Involvement Coordinator

The photo, courtesy of Charlie Bermant of the Peninsula Daily News, shows Chimacum fourth-grader Fox Elder cutting the ribbon during the park celebration.
A spirited and concluding chapter was written on Jan. 24, 2013, for the former Irondale Iron and Steel cleanup site. Jefferson County officials, state agency representatives, members of environmental organizations and local volunteers gathered to celebrate the re-opening of the Irondale Beach County Park.

The event marked the end of cleanup and restoration activities coordinated by Ecology beginning in 2007. The final push began in this past summer, with all work completed at the end of December 2012. When the work was finished, approximately 1.29 acres of new intertidal habitat and 1.65 acres of new backshore habitat had been created.

In addition, the cleanup honored the site as part of the Irondale Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and Washington Heritage Register. Ecology worked with state and federal agencies and tribes to identify and protect structures of historical significance.

As much as possible, larger trees were preserved. Ecology also left in place historic elements such as building foundations and the charcoal-fired kilns that show the character of the iron-and-steel producing operations of a hundred years ago.

The cleanup of the Irondale site has significance beyond the project’s local impact. The Irondale cleanup and restoration was funded by the Puget Sound Initiative, a region-wide effort to restore and protect the health of the Sound.

The Irondale story shows how federal, state and local governments, encouraged and assisted by environmental agencies and volunteers, can make this vision to recover the Sound a reality.

See more information and documents regarding the entire Irondale project.

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