Potlach Fund Award Honors All in Cleanup Efforts

June 26, 2015

The Potlatch Fund — a nonprofit group serving Native communities — has chosen Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe Chairman to receive the Billy Frank Jr. Natural Resource Protection Leadership Honoring Award.

He writes:

On Aug. 11, the cleanup of Port Gamble Bay will begin. It will be managed by the state Department of Ecology in partnership with Pope Resources/Olympic Property Group.

The work will include the removal of approximately 70,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment and wood waste, a derelict vessel and approximately 6,000 creosote pilings and overwater structures. This project represents the biggest creosote piling removal in Washington history.

All the parties involved have worked with our Tribe to make every effort to minimize impacts on fishing and shellfish harvesting. Plans are in place to handle increased vessel traffic in and out of the bay, as well as to make sure debris, such as rotting pilings, don’t get swept out into the bay.

In 2017, the cleanup will be complete and, over the next decade, DOE and Pope Resources/Olympic Property Group will regularly monitor the bay’s health. If natural restoration goals are not on track, steps will be taken to ensure success.

I want to thank everyone for their hard work: DOE, Pope Resources/Olympic Property Group, our representatives, environmental protection groups and many others. I especially want to thank my Natural Resources staff who have worked tirelessly to make sure this Tribe’s concerns were heard.

When I accept The Potlatch Fund award, I will be doing so for everyone who has worked so hard to make sure that my Tribe’s treaty rights in Port Gamble Bay will be protected. I hold my hands up to you in thanks and praise.

Read more in the Kingston Community News.