Restoration Plan Finalized for Portland Harbor Superfund Site

Boat under bridge across Portland Harbor

Restoration Plan Finalized for Portland Harbor Superfund Site

June 23, 2017

NOAA, on behalf of the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council, developed a restoration plan and environmental impact statement for the Superfund site. The plan proposes an integrated habitat restoration approach. This approach will result in habitat restoration projects that benefit a suite of fish and wildlife potentially injured by industrial contamination in Portland Harbor.

Since the early 1900s, many facilities have released hazardous substances into Portland Harbor. EPA designated the area a Superfund site in 2000. Fish and wildlife—including salmon, eagles, and mink—may have been impacted by the contamination over many decades.

Contaminants in Portland Harbor have accumulated in sediments at potentially hazardous levels within an 11-mile stretch of the lower Willamette River and adjacent floodplains. Fish in the area contain elevated levels of PCBs and mercury. Health advisories restricting fish consumption are in effect. Portions of the contaminated area have been cleaned up, and planning for a large-scale cleanup is underway.

The restoration plan prioritizes restoration located in the lower Willamette River within the Superfund site. Keeping the restoration close to where the injury occurred will ensure that the people and natural resources affected by the contamination benefit from the restoration. The plan also outlines an approach to enhance public access to the river to restore recreation opportunities that were lost because of contamination. It outlines requirements for the restoration projects, including 10 years of monitoring, ongoing Trustee Council oversight, and long-term stewardship. Portland Harbor restoration projects will benefit natural resources and the local community for generations.

The plan is available here.  For more information, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/Contaminants/PortlandHarbor/

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