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Trustees Announce Agreement to Cooperate on Natural Resource Damage Assessment Activities at Port Angeles Harbor, Clallam County, Washington


04/11/2012


Port Angeles Harbor, Washington Hazardous substances releases in Port Angeles Harbor, offshore of Port Angeles, Clallam County, Washington -- as seen in this photo from the Strait of Juan de Fuca -- is the focus of the trustees’ natural resource damage assessment activities. Photo credit: Connie Graven, Washington Department of Ecology.

 

On April 11, 2012 the federal, State and tribal natural resource trustees announced a Memorandum of Agreement to cooperate on natural resource damage assessment activities associated with hazardous substances releases in Port Angeles Harbor, Clallam County, Washington. The participating natural resource trustees include Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, State of Washington, represented by Department of Ecology, U.S. Department of Commerce, represented by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Department of the Interior, represented by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Port Angeles Harbor is a natural, deep-water harbor, sheltered by Ediz Hook, a 3-mile long sand spit that extends from the shore into the Strait Juan de Fuca on the western side of the Harbor. The Harbor is deep enough to accommodate most ocean-going ships and is considered typical of urban, industrial waterfronts in the greater Puget Sound area.

Historically, the Harbor was used primarily for mill and wood pulp operations. From 1930 to 1977, lumber milling operations at the former Rayonier Mill released hazardous substances that continue to impact natural resources and natural resource services in the Harbor and surrounding areas. Elevated concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons, PCBs, lead, arsenic, dioxins and furans have been detected.

The Memorandum of Agreement establishes a process for the natural resource trustees to coordinate, cooperate and facilitate natural resource damage assessment activities at Port Angeles Harbor, including: assessing of damages for natural resource injuries; planning, implementing and monitoring of natural resource restoration; resolving natural resource damage claims; and, efficiently managing natural resource damages recoveries.

For a copy of the Memorandum of Agreement, contact Debbie Nelson at Washington Department of Ecology’s Southwest Region Central Records at (360) 470-6365 or debbie.nelson@ecy.wa.gov.

Further reading:
Washington Department of Ecology News Release (dated April 11, 2012)
Peninsula Daily News press report (dated April 12, 2012)