Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Around the Sound: About those oysters ...

By Seth Preston, communications manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

A worker washes oyster shells into Port Gamble Bay.
In an earlier ECOconnect post, we talked about how Ecology is teaming with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund and others to bring Olympia oysters back to Port Gamble Bay.

The Puget Sound Restoration Fund recently spread seeded oyster shells to provide a base for reviving the Olympia oyster population in the bay. The goal is to support restoration of Washington's only native oyster.

This is one piece of Ecology's work to restore and preserve the Kitsap County bay, a key cleanup area for the Toxics Cleanup Program under the Puget Sound Initiative. Port Gamble Bay and its shores, like other former and current "working waterfronts" around the Sound, are polluted from large historical industrial operations -- in this case, from a large sawmill that operated for roughly 140 years.

Up next -- bye bye, debris

Our next update will focus on work the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe is doing to remove pilings treated with toxic creosote at Point Julia, Martha John Estuary and other locations.

Other restoration and preservation work in Port Gamble Bay includes:
  • Studying the reasons why herring populations have slumped badly in Port Gamble Bay, as they have in other parts of the Sound.
  • Revitalizing riparian vegetation along the shores and eelgrass in the water to support fish, birds and other organisms.

Cleanup also coming

We are on target for in-water cleanup work to start in summer 2015. We're continuing to work with Pope Resources to design a cleanup of pollution caused by historical operations at the old Pope & Talbot forest products mill on the bay. The mill operated from 1853 to 1995 before closing.

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