A history of environmental stewardship at the Port of Anacortes

June 2, 2023 | News

For nearly 20 years the Port of Anacortes has addressed legacy contamination on former industrial properties around the local waterfront, including some of our community’s most beloved public access sites. Through foresight, innovation, and collaboration with the Washington State Department of Ecology, Port staff funding partners, consultants, and contractors completed major site cleanups over a much shorter timeline than private entities could have accomplished alone.

Sites addressed through the Port’s comprehensive and proactive program include a former small boat yard in Cap Sante Marina; a sunken tugboat near the former Custom Plywood site; a former fisheries and industrial site at the north end of O Avenue; the former Scott Paper Mill, Wyman’s Marina, and Shell tank farm; the marine vessel and fuel storage site at Quiet Cove; the former log yard at the north end of T Avenue; and the historic vessel repair site that now houses Dakota Creek Industries.

The impetus for these projects began in 2004, when then-Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire committed to cleaning up the Puget Sound by 2020. At that time, the Port had been inventorying properties and discovered there was significant historical contamination at many of these sites. With development goals in mind and knowing that the average cleanup time for many sites could span decades, the Port developed an integrated cleanup and redevelopment program with an aggressive timeline. The Port approached the Department of Ecology with a comprehensive program and made a commitment to expedite the process. Ecology then supported the Port in identifying grants to carry out these cleanup projects.

With each cleanup, the Port is improving our quality of life in Anacortes and Skagit County. Remediated sites have reduced environmental impacts, are often opened to the public, and in some cases are returned to productive, job-supporting use.