More toxic pilings have been removed from Puget Sound, this time at the mouth of the Duwamish-Green River in Seattle.
King County reports crews pulled 1,800 of the creosoted timbers while taking out an old 72,000-square-foot dock at Harbor Island, on the edge of Elliott Bay, as part of an $8.1 million project that’s expected to wrap up late next month.
County executive Drew Constantine said it builds on upstream work that’s improving the system for fish, wildlife and local residents and that the removal of all the pilings would “produce immediate and lasting benefits for marine life.”
The old pilings will be disposed of elsewhere and a “cap of clean gravel” will be placed over where they once stood. Per DNR, “Creosote causes high mortality and developmental abnormalities in herring eggs.”
Herring are an important salmon feedstock. The DGR is home to Chinook, coho, chum and pink salmon, winter and summer steelhead and cutthroat, all sea-going species, as well as resident forms and other critters, and provides for recreational and tribal fisheries. A bill that recently passed both the US House and Senate authorizes construction of a downstream fish passage project at the upper watershed’s Howard Hanson Dam, expected to open up 100-plus miles of salmon and steelhead habitat.
“The opportunity to directly and immediately improve the water quality of the Duwamish River and Elliott Bay is something we have embraced,” said Pat McLaughlin, the county’s Solid Waste Division director. “A complicated cleanup project on this scale requires highly trained professionals operating large machinery on open water, and our staff and partners delivered.”
Contractors Pacific Pile & Marine and KPFF helped plan and do the work, the county reported.
DNR reports that its piling removal program has pulled 14,461 of the treated logs stuck in the bottom of the Salish Sea over the decades.
WDFW removed 100 of the structural shorings from the site of an old resort on Point No Point it bought and had sought to put in a single-lane concrete boat launch sans loading/unloading dock, but the ramp project was struck down last summer by the Army Corps of Engineers over treaty fishing rights.