Where is Port Gamble Bay?
Port Gamble Bay is located at the north end of the Kitsap Peninsula. It is a waterway that opens up to the entrance of Hood Canal and is in the vicinity of the Port Gamble, Gamblewood, Kingston, Poulsbo, and Hansville communities as well as the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribal Reservation.
What sorts of activities does Port Gamble Bay support?
It is home to kayakers, nature lovers, and fisherman. Its waters are brimming with activity including an operating salmon hatchery, herring spawning grounds, and commercial fishing and shellfish harvesting. With their ancestral lands, this is also a revered historical site for the S'Klallam Tribal community.
What is the significance of the Bay to the people who use it?
Today, Port Gamble Bay is the last bay in Kitsap County open for commercial shellfish harvesting with geoduck tracts as well as oyster and clam beds. Tribal members and people from the surrounding communities are able to harvest fish and shellfish in this area. While the Bay is still fruitful for the people who depend on it, this productivity masks the pollution that still exists.
What are the major contributors to the pollution of Port Gamble Bay?
In 1853, Port Gamble Mill began operations. For more than 150 years, the Bay became the unwilling home to tons of wood waste, which decomposed into a stew of hazardous substances including ammonia, hydrogen, sulfide and various phenols. The mill also placed thousands of creosote pilings onsite. While the sawmill was deconstructed in 1997, log sorting, wood chipping, and industrial operations have continued. Pre-1997 and post-1997 mill operation activities have resulted in long-term releases of hazardous substances such as petroleum hydrocarbons, arsenic, chromium, lead and mercury in the Bay.
Why is cleaning up Port Gamble Bay important?
Port Gamble Bay is home to the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, holds much It is historically and culturally significance and is an important economic resource for the Tribe. Many non-Indian neighbors also live along Port Gamble Bay or visit its shores. All people in the region would benefit from restoration and cleanup of the Bay.
Are there currently any efforts for a long-term clean up plan?
The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe has and continues to be committed to working with state and local agencies as well as the responsible parties on a long-term cleanup plan for the Bay. This plan has been in the works for several years. A public comment period for Washington Department of Ecology's (DOE) draft Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for both the Mill Site and Bay Wide cleanup efforts ended on April 28, 2011. The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe and others submitted comments to DOE. The Tribe also met with DOE several times at technical and government-to-government meetings to help insure the best possible cleanup actions and long term monitoring plan for a healthy and restored Port Gamble Bay for future generations.
Are the owners of the Port Gamble Mill being held responsible for the cleanup of Port Gamble Bay?
Pope Resources and its real estate subsidiary, Olympic Property Group, are the legal Potential Liable Parties (PLP) along with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Both the PLPs (Pope Resources/OPG and DNR) are responsible for cleaning up the environmental damages in Port Gamble Bay. Interim cleanup actions have occurred since 2007, including two in-water sediment dredging events and a mill site uplands cleanup.
The majority of the work is yet to come and will soon be planned out from options considered in the draft RIFS to what is called Cleanup Action Plans (CAPs). The CAPs will be developed for each PLP to insure that the Bay is properly cleaned up. Cleanup actions are likely to start in 2012 and may take several years or longer to complete.
Are other efforts being made to help cleanup the Bay?
DOE is working with the PLPs and the Tribe to develop and ultimately implement a comprehensive restoration plan for the Bay. The Tribe has worked diligently to conserve, restore, and cleanup the Bay and continuously works with groups such as the North Kitsap Bay and Forest Conservation Alliance, Friends of Port Gamble Bay, the Point No Point Treaty Council, the Hood Canal Coordinating Council. Notably, the state-supported Puget Sound Partnership has included the restoration of Port Gamble Bay in its Action Agenda.
When does the Port Gamble S'Klallam Bay Protection Project begin?
Now. The campaign needs to begin now and needs to continue until the Bay is safe and healthy.