DNR and the Suquamish Tribe have partnered together to restore the tribe’s Doe-Kag-Wats Estuary, located on the shores of Puget Sound, near Indianola. The site has been polluted for more than 100 years with toxic waste, affecting the nearshore habitat that is crucial to herring and salmon.
The Doe-Kag-Wats, which means “place of deer,” was also severely affected by an oil spill in 2003, when nearly 5,000 gallons of heavy bunker fuel spilled into Puget Sound, with a significant amount reaching the sensitive beach and estuary.
The tribe and DNR have removed nearly 300 tons of creosote-treated debris since starting the project in early March. Most of these waste products originated from development around Puget Sound where treated pilings were used to construct docks, piers, bulkheads and other structures.
EarthCorps crews flagged logs and garbage for DNRs helicopter crew, removing and preparing the toxic debris for transport to an appropriate toxic waste landfill in Klickitat County.
“Doe-Kag-Wats is a culturally important place on the Port Madison Indian Reservation,” said tribal chairman Leonard Forsman. “Tribal members have used the estuary and its beach as a place of healing and worship, as well as for subsistence harvests, since time immemorial. Any work done at the estuary to make it as pristine as it once was is hugely beneficial.”
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