Fidalgo and Padilla bays are one set of seven Puget Sound water bodies chosen as priorities for substantial cleanup and restoration by 2020. These bays support a highly productive eelgrass nursery for herring, salmon, and other wildlife. We began environmental cleanup and restoration along the rim of the bays in 2007. We chose sites along the bays that we already identified as needing cleanup, but the cleanups were delayed.
Our cleanup work has sparked development of a vibrant area for the community to enjoy, brought in many new businesses, and restored the vitality of the marine zone. Cleanup has moved faster and more smoothly thanks to the participation, encouragement, and vision of the local tribes and community.
This effort is transforming the Anacortes area waterfront as cleanups are completed and re-opened with new public access and opportunities for economic redevelopment.
The map below shows nearshore cleanup sites under the Puget Sound Initiative for Fidalgo and Padilla bays in the Anacortes area. Look below the map for a description of each site along with links to individual cleanup site pages.
Anacortes Port Log Yard: Part of the Port's Pier 2 was used historically for log exporting. Hauling and sorting of the logs resulted in deposition of wood debris in the tidal areas adjacent to the pier. As it decomposed over time, the wood debris has degraded marine habitat. The Port completed their investigation and are in the process of determining the level of cleanup needed to protect human health and the environment.
Cap Sante Marine: Cleanup at the Cap Sante Marine site was completed in May 2008 as part of the Port's redevelopment of Cap Sante Boat Haven. Cleanup crews removed about 10,000 cubic yards of soil that had been contaminated by leaking gasoline and diesel tanks. As part of the cleanup, shoreline restoration enhanced marine habitat and public access within the marina. The remediated site area is currently home to Anthony's restaurant and summer noontime concerts.
Custom Plywood: Cleanup is nearing completion on another old mill, the Custom Plywood Mill site in the central part of Fidalgo Bay. Upland cleanup began at the site in 2011. A large portion of the most contaminated marine sediments were removed by December 2013. Post-construction monitoring is underway while the final marine sediment cleanup plans are finalized.
Dakota Creek Industries: The Port's Dakota Creek Shipyard underwent a major redevelopment in 2008. Historical contamination resulting from use of the site for bulk fuel storage, shipbuilding, and other industrial uses was cleaned up as part of the redevelopment. Removal of contaminated sediments allowed for a deeper basin in the shipyard for larger ship access. Additionally, contaminated soil will be remediated from the upland area of the site.
Scott Paper Mill: Seafarers Memorial Park and the land immediately south and west were the location of the former Scott Paper Mill and other industrial operations. These uses contaminated soil, groundwater, and offshore sediment. Cleanup crews completed a massive cleanup including tens of thousands of cubic yards removed from the water and on land. Shoreline habitat restoration and public access enhancements were integrated into the cleanup.
March Point Landfill: The March Point Landfill site, formerly known as Whitmarsh Landfill, is located on the southern end of Padilla Bay, next to Swinomish tribal lands. Investigations showed low levels of contamination discharging into the bay which prompted a draft cleanup action plan designed to stabilize the landfill and stop the leakage. Cleanup is projected for 2019.
MJB Properties: MJB cleaned up pockets of soil in an independent action. They completed their efforts in 2013 to allow for redevelopment of the property.
MJB South Hydrofill: In 2011, MJB performed a targeted independent cleanup during redevelopment of a marine boat ramp.
Quiet Cove: The Port of Anacortes is embarking on a new redevelopment venture at the Quiet Cove site. Investigations are underway to figure out how much and how far the fuel and metals from the old bulk fueling operations traveled through the soils and groundwater near N Avenue Park. This will help the Port figure out the best way to clean up and redevelop the site to assist the local marine industry.
Shell Oil Tank Farm: The former Shell Oil Tank Farm operated for many years near the historical shoreline of Fidalgo Bay. As a result, site soils and groundwater were impacted by petroleum-related contaminants. An interim cleanup action was completed in winter 2007 to allow for a city storm drain to be rerouted through the site. The rerouted drain line helps reduce the potential for stormwater to contaminate Fidalgo Bay. Site cleanup was completed in February 2015 with over 8,400 tons of contaminated soil removed. The location now operates as a parking facility for local boat launching and other maritime needs.
Wyman's Marina and Wholesale Supply: The Port of Anacortes restored habitats, improved the neighboring boat ramp, and cleaned up dilapidated structures on land and in the water. Cleanup efforts removed over 400 tons of contaminated soil and created approximately 17,800 square feet of intertidal habitat and 8,500 square feet of riparian/salt marsh habitat between 2008 and 2014.
Anacortes area baywide highlights
- Six old industrial sites were cleaned up along the waterfront, returning properties to commercial, light industrial, and productive habitat use. Our work continues at an additional five sites around the bays and into Guemes Channel.
- Historical and cleanup signage provided by Trail Tales on the Tommy Thompson trail reminds us of the local history, the effort and commitment needed to clean up the site, and the value of restoring habitat.
- Seafarer’s Memorial Park is part of two former cleanup sites: Scott Paper Mill and Cap Sante Marine. These cleanups yielded a usable beach and eelgrass nursery, amphitheater, kayak launch, and restaurant.
- The Custom Plywood beach restoration project plan includes replanting traditional native plants. Cleanup has created opportunities for boat ramp development for port and private shipping.
- The Fidalgo Bay sediments investigation in 2007 provided valuable information to help us understand where to focus our cleanup efforts. Contact our baywide coordinator for the full report.
- Quiet Cove site cleanup is underway to support the fishing industry and warehouse storage for the Port of Anacortes’ customers.
Fidalgo and Padilla bays are a priority
The Puget Sound Initiative launched a significant effort in 2007 to restore and protect Puget Sound. This directive included seed money to speed cleanup of seven priority bays by 2020. Padilla and Fidalgo bays were chosen because of the important habitat function in this area of Puget Sound. The area supports the second largest eelgrass bed on North America's Pacific Coast, acting as a nursery rearing ground for juvenile fish. A portion of Fidalgo Bay was also designated as a marine wildlife preserve to protect the rich ecosystem.