Around the Sound: Ongoing and future restoration, redevelopment, and recreation

(This is the last post of a three-part series on our cleanup, restoration, and preservation efforts at Port Gamble.)

Port Gamble from the air, picture shows large bodies of water, and the port from an airplane view.

The cleanup and restoration of Port Gamble Bay (above) is providing opportunities for seafood harvesting and recreation. 

Port Gamble Bay on scenic Hood Canal was once home to a saw mill that operated for 142 years. The historical operations on this property resulted in the release of pollutants from wood waste and pilings. In the past two weeks, we highlighted our cleanup efforts in the bay, which included one of the largest creosote-treated piling removal projects in Puget Sound, and the resulting restoration and preservation efforts.
 
An even larger vision exists around cleanup and restoration of Port Gamble Bay. The in-water cleanup and restoration and preservation efforts build on past and future momentum to continue to transform this productive and high-quality bay.
 
Following decommissioning of the old wastewater treatment system, the associated wastewater will be removed, and 90 acres of geoduck tracts will be reopened to harvest. Pope Resources is developing a plan to revitalize the Port Gamble Town and make it a destination for local and regional recreation.

A group of people cleaning up litter and other debris along a beach, with trees in the background.

The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe led a beach debris removal project, illustrating the need for continued stewardship to keep our beaches clean.

The Kitsap Forest and Bay Coalition continues to work with partners to secure additional forested upland property to expand on the nearly 1,900 acres already permanently protected for future generations. And the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe is working with landowners to restore and preserve more land along the mill property.
 
Future Port Gamble efforts include:
 
  • Decommissioning of the Port Gamble wastewater treatment plant in 2017.
  • Removing the existing wastewater outfall pipe from Hood Canal by January 2019.
  • Opening up of 90 acres of geoduck tracts in Hood Canal north of Port Gamble Bay once wastewater treatment plant is fully decommissioned and Department of Health approves reopening.
  • Removing sediment stockpiles at the mill and disposing of contaminated sediment at an approved disposal facility in 2017; to be finished by March 2018.
  • Cleaning up the mill site uplands in 2017 and beyond. We will continue to work with Pope Resources, tribes and stakeholders to oversee final cleanup actions for dioxins/furans, which have been detected in upland areas of the site.
 
The Port Gamble cleanup is an excellent example of the positive outcomes and opportunities that can result from cleaning up contaminated spaces. These cleanup efforts helped galvanize local communities and stimulate restoration and protection of this historic area, to be enjoyed by generations to come.