Lower Duwamish River Consent Decree and Draft Restoration Plan Released for Public Comment
December 1, 2020
The U.S. Department of Justice lodged a consent decree for public comment proposing a settlement to fund natural resource restoration in Superfund sites along Seattle, Washington’s Lower Duwamish River. The proposed settlement is on behalf of NOAA and the other Trustees conducting the Lower Duwamish River Natural Resource Damage Assessment with the City of Seattle.
The approximately $3.9 million settlement partially funds a project previously constructed by Bluefield Holdings, Inc., a restoration bank developer, to restore juvenile salmonids, other fish, migratory birds, and other wildlife. This project is described in a draft restoration plan and environmental assessment, also available for public comment.
The 30-day comment periods for both the lodged consent decree and draft restoration plan are open through December 31, 2020. More information on these separate opportunities to comment are below.
Draft Restoration Plan
The draft restoration plan (PDF, 30 pages) proposes the Trustees accept restoration credits available from an existing habitat restoration project developed by Bluefield Holdings, Inc. to address injuries associated with releases of hazardous substances and discharges of oil from the City of Seattle’s facilities in the Lower Duwamish River. This draft restoration plan tiers from the Trustees’ 2013 Final Lower Duwamish River NRDA Restoration Plan (PDF, 124 pages).
As presented in the draft restoration plan, Bluefield Holdings, Inc.’s “Restoration Project One” restored approximately one acre of riparian, marsh, mudflat, and subtidal habitats on the west side of the West Waterway of the Lower Duwamish River.
These habitat types are scarce in the Lower Duwamish River and serve as important food sources, and rearing, refuge, and spawning areas for injured resources. The project provides more of these critical habitat types to support injured juvenile salmonids, other fish, migratory birds, and other wildlife.
The City of Seattle will provide permanent protection and conduct long-term stewardship of the restored habitat to ensure it continues to provide ecological benefits.
Please send your written comments on the draft restoration plan no later than December 31, 2020:
By email to: Jeff_krausmann@fws.gov
By mail to:
Washington Fish and Wildlife Office
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 102
Lacey, WA 98503-1263
Lower Duwamish River Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration: Bluefield Holdings Inc.’s Project One, King County, Washington, Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (PDF, 30 pages)
Proposed Settlement and Consent Decree
The consent decree (PDF, 80 pages) proposes to settle claims arising from injuries to natural resources from hazardous waste pollution in the Lower Duwamish River, Harbor Island, and Lockheed West Superfund Sites. The Lower Duwamish River is an industrialized waterway with a long history of pollution.
The pollution has resulted in injuries to fish (including several species of protected salmon), birds, wildlife, and their habitats. It has also impacted outdoor recreational opportunities, including recreational fishing.
Once approved and entered by the court, the consent decree would resolve the liability of the City of Seattle, owner and operator of facilities at the sites, for damages for injury to, destruction of, loss of use, or loss of natural resources, as well as some of the cost of assessing those injuries.
Please send your written comments on the consent decree to the Department of Justice no later than December 31, 2020. For a copy of the consent decree please see the Department of Justice website: https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decree/us-et-al-v-city-seattle-0
By email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By mail to:
Assistant Attorney General, U.S. DOJ—ENRD
P.O. Box 7611
Washington, DC 20044-7611