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Trustees Open 75-Day Public Comment Period on Supplement to Draft Programmatic Restoration Plan for Lower Duwamish River, King County, Washington


07/26/2012


Hamm Creek restoration area in Lower Duwamish River The Lower Duwamish River, showing the Hamm Creek restoration area in 2004, is one of the priority natural resource restoration areas selected by the natural resource trustees for restoring injured natural resources in the Duwamish River and Elliott Bay region in King County, Washington. Photo credit: Jeff Krausmann, FWS.

 

On July 26, 2012, the federal, State and tribal natural resource trustees opened a 75-day public comment period on the “Supplement to the Draft Lower Duwamish River NRDA Programmatic Restoration Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.”

The natural resource trustees in this case include:

  • Muckleshoot Indian Tribe;
  • Suquamish Tribe;
  • State of Washington, represented by Washington Department of Ecology and Washington 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.

The Duwamish River -- the name for the lower 12 miles of the Green River in Washington -- empties into Elliott Bay in Seattle, King County. The shorelines along the River have been extensively developed for industrial and commercial operations. These operations include cargo handling and storage, marine construction, boat manufacturing, marina operations, paper and metals fabrication, food processing and airplane parts manufacturing. The waterway is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a federal navigation channel.

Hazardous substances entered the River by several likely mechanisms including spills during product shipping and handling, direct disposal, contaminated groundwater discharge, surface water runoff, contaminated soil runoff and storm water discharge through outfalls. Sediments in the River are contaminated with semi-volatile organic compounds, PCBs, inorganic compounds and organotins. In 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed the lower 5 miles of the Duwamish River on the National Priorities List.

The Lower Duwamish River provides important estuarine habitat and serves as a migratory route, nursery and osmoregulatory transition zone for several salmon species including the federally threatened Puget Sound Chinook salmon. The area is important for commercial, recreational and subsistence fishing and is part of the traditional fishing grounds of the Muckleshoot and Suquamish Indian tribes. Extensive studies in the River and in Elliott Bay have determined that contaminated sediments have injured natural resources such as flatfish, salmonids and migratory birds.

In May 2009, the trustees released the “Draft Lower Duwamish River NRDA Programmatic Restoration Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement” for public review and comment. This newly-released Supplement responds to those public comments by including more detail about the methodology used for injury assessment and restoration valuation plus other minor changes.

Written comments on the Supplement to the Draft Programmatic Restoration Plan must be received by NOAA by October 10, 2012. Electronic or hard-copy comments should be submitted to Rebecca Hoff at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Response and Restoration, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115 or DuwamishPEIS.DARRP@noaa.gov .

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