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Trustees Open 90-Day Public Comment Period on Draft Restoration Plan for Injured Natural Resources at Portland Harbor NPL Site, Multnomah County, Oregon


07/09/2012


Portland Harbor on the lower Willamette River in Multnomah County, Oregon Alternatives for restoration of natural resources injured by hazardous substances and oil releases in the Portland Harbor area, shown here, along the lower Willamette River in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, are presented in the Draft Restoration Plan. Photo credit: Eric Blishchke, EPA.

 

On July 9, 2012, the federal, State and tribal natural resource trustees opened a 90-day public comment period on the “Draft Portland Harbor Programmatic EIS and Restoration Plan.” This Draft Restoration Plan proposes natural resource restoration actions intended to restore natural resources injured by hazardous substances releases and oil spills at the Portland Harbor NPL site, along the Willamette River in Multnomah County, Oregon.

The natural resource trustees in this case include:

  • Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon;
  • Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians;
  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation;
  • Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon;
  • Nez Perce Tribe;
  • State of Oregon, represented by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife;
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, represented by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and,
  • U.S. Department of the Interior, represented by Bureau of Indian Affairs and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Beginning in the early 1900s, industrial operations along the Willamette River in the Portland Harbor area released a variety of hazardous substances and oil into the River system. Other sources of hazardous substances releases include urban storm water runoff, marina operations, sewage overflows and historical waste disposal directly in the River. In 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed Portland Harbor, specifically 11 miles of the lower reach of the Willamette River, on the National Priorities List because of elevated levels of PCBs, PAHs, DDT compounds, metals, semi-volatile organic compounds and other contaminants in the Harbor area.

The trustees are currently assessing the injuries to natural resources and natural resource services in the Portland Harbor area from these hazardous substances and oil releases. Specifically, injuries to fish, wildlife, sediments and surface waters are being examined. Species of particular concern at Portland Harbor include: Pacific salmon, Pacific lamprey, white sturgeon, bald eagle, osprey, other migratory birds, mink, river otter and amphibians.

Concurrent with the natural resource damage assessment, the trustees are pursuing restoration planning to determine the best approach to restoring those injured natural resources. This Draft Restoration Plan presents the natural resource restoration alternatives considered by trustees, the objectives of the restoration actions, key habitat types targeted for restoration and restoration priorities and process. The scale of natural resource restoration to be undertaken under this Plan will depend, ultimately, on funding, property and services made available through resolution of natural resource damages claims.

Written comments on the Draft Restoration Plan must be received by NOAA’s Restoration Center in Portland, Oregon, by Monday, October 8, 2012.

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