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Marsh habitat along the Lower Duwamish River
Bluefields site 1 restoration project (Photo credit: USFWS)

Pollution Settlement Finalized to Benefit Fish and Wildlife on the Lower Duwamish River

May 28, 2024

On May 13, 2024, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington finalized a settlement with Crowley Marine Services, Inc. (Crowley), 8th Avenue Terminals, Inc. and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The settlement is on behalf of the Elliott Bay Trustee Council, which includes NOAA, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the State of Washington, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, and the Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation. This settlement compensates for natural resource injuries resulting from hazardous substances released into the Lower Duwamish River in Washington. 

As part of the settlement, the parties purchased credits in Restoration Project One which was completed by Bluefield Holdings Inc. in 2014 on the Lower Duwamish River. This project created several habitat types that serve as nursery and feeding grounds for many fish species including salmon, and as a nesting place for migratory birds. The settlement also included a cash payment to the Trustees which they will use to fund future restoration on the river.

This settlement is part of a series of early settlements with polluting parties for natural resource damages in the Lower Duwamish River. Recent settlements include: the Boeing Company (2010); the City of Seattle (2021); Vigor Industrial and Exxon Mobil Corp. (2021); and Lynden parties (2023). 

NOAA and co-Trustees continue negotiations with other potentially responsible parties who elected to participate in the early settlement phase. Future consent decrees finalizing those settlements would allow for more habitat restoration on the river.

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