The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe is keeping a close eye on the cleanup work taking place in the old logging town of Port Gamble and its adjacent shoreline.

The Kitsap Sun wrote an update recently on the two-year project to clean up the former mill site, located across the water from the tribe’s reservation.

A significant part of the project is removing 6,000 creosote pilings. Creosote preserves the wood but the chemicals have proven to be problematic for the health of fish and other marine life.

From the Sun, the tribe’s chairman, Jeromy Sullivan, emphasizes the importance of removing the pilings:

“The biggest source of what’s damaging the bay will be gone,” said Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Chairman Jeromy Sullivan, whose reservation is across the bay from the mill site.

Tribal members have harvested shellfish from the bay despite closures and other warnings about contamination.

 

“People need to put food on the table,” he said. “Crab, butter clams, horse clams — these are all staples of our diet, but there’s been real concern about the health of people taking food from the bay.”

 

Sullivan is looking forward to working with Ecology and Pope Resources on a host of restoration projects — many of which have been underway for years.

 

The tribe already has supported studies of herring and mussel populations in the bay, as well as eelgrass restoration efforts. The tribe also spent 2014 and 2015 removing derelict boats, cars and its own dilapidated pier from the reservation and Point Julia. Most recently, the tribe received $1.5 million from the state to further its restoration efforts by purchasing development rights of property at Port Gamble Bay and develop a restoration plan to restore coastal processes in the bay. The North Kitsap Herald recently explored this new development  in more detail.