Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Everett Salmon Habitat Restoration

By Karen Robes Meeks

Last week, the Port of Everett and the Port Gardner Bay Trustees have struck a deal that would allow for the investment and restoration of a 338 acre-salmon habitat north of Everett.

Now public for a 30-day review and memorialized under a formal Consent Decree with the US Department of Justice, the agreement achieved by the port and the trustees - which include the Tulalip Tribes, Suquamish Tribe, NOAA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Washington State Department of Ecology - seeks a “comprehensive settlement for natural resources damage liability from the years of historic industry on Everett’s waterfront.”

“The Port, together with our restoration partner Wildlands, pursued an innovative and groundbreaking approach to settling natural resource damages on Port Gardner Bay in a way that provides immediate and significant environmental benefits by ensuring funding for the construction of the Port’s Blue Heron Slough Conservation Bank project,” said Erik Gerking, the port’s director of environmental programs. “The Blue Heron Slough project will benefit various threatened species, including the Chinook salmon, which is the primary food source of the Southern Resident Killer Whale (Orca).”

The settlement is a win-win for the environment and local communities, said Jim Pendowski, Toxics Cleanup Program Manager for the Washington Department of Ecology.

“Restoring and protecting 353 acres of critical tidal habitats will help salmon thrive and help the communities that rely on healthy fisheries,” he said.