FORE! World’s greatest golfers hit Steilacoom links that really “rock”

Chambers Bay Golf Course, home to the 2015 U.S. Open, is a reclaimed gravel mine in University Place. The "Ruins" shown above were once used for keeping different sizes of aggregate separate. Photo by Michael D. Martin (Flickr Creative Commons). - See more at: http://wa-dnr-env-mj9qijiduq.elasticbeanstalk.com/programs-and-services/geology/energy-mining-and-minerals/aggregate-resources#sthash.QjSm3WZT.dpuf
Chambers Bay Golf Course, home to the 2015 U.S. Open, is a reclaimed gravel mine in University Place. The “Ruins” shown above were once used for keeping different sizes of aggregate separate. Photo by Michael D. Martin (Flickr Creative Commons).

The world’s greatest golfers are swinging for the U.S. Open title at the new Chambers Bay golf course. But the green links-style golf course was once the largest sand and gravel quarry in the world.

As the regulator of Washington’s mining industry, DNR and its Division of Geology and Earth Resources oversaw the reclamation of the mine, which produced some 250 million tons of gravel that was used to build roads, sidewalks and bridges throughout Puget Sound. In fact, the Steilaccom quarry was the first reclamation permit ever issued by Washington.

The productiveness of the mine stemmed from enormously dense deposits of rock and sand scraped up by the Vashon glacier during the Pleistocene era. As the glacier retreated, it scraped up bedrock, leaving thick deposits of high-quality rock on the ground.

As demand for the quarry’s sand and gravel increased, the companies mining it developed a system of sluices and conveyors to load barges at a dock on the shores of Puget Sound.

DNR’s Aquatics division aided Pierce County in the cleanup of the load-out facility as well, by contributing more than $1.7 million to aid the removal of more than 800 creosote and concrete pilings from Chambers Bay and nearby Sunnyside Park.

Natural Resource specialist Wynnae Wright explained the hazards creosote-treated pilings present to Pierce County TV in this video:


As steward of 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands, DNR is committed to removing creosote-treated structures from nearshore environments around Washington to improve habitat vital to a number of aquatic species.

Creosote is a mix of some 300 chemicals that leach into marine waters as pilings age and break up.

DNR has volumes of research on the complex ecosystem of nearshore environments.

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