A Committed Port, A Cleaner Port
The Port of Everett was formed in 1918 to serve as a steward for Port Gardner Bay and the Snohomish River, managing its valuable social, economic and environmental assets.
Today, Port Gardner Bay and the Snohomish River are thriving natural resources that support our regional economy and enviable quality of life. Achieving a balance among the many uses requires a long-term comprehensive approach to environmental management.
Cleaning up the Port of Everett Waterfront
The Everett Waterfront is the current and former home of saw mills, pulp and paper plants, smelting plants, ship builders, a variety of maritime support services, marine shipping terminals, bulk fuel terminals, naval military facilities, marine construction, and many other industries and commercial businesses. The waterfront is also a place of wonderful recreational opportunities, including boat launches and marinas, shoreline trails, waterfront parks, and the expansive beaches of Jetty Island.
In cooperation with the Department of Ecology, the Port has put forth substantial effort in the Puget Sound Initiative at its properties along the Everett waterfront and is continuing to make meaningful progress. The Port currently has four significant cleanup projects underway – click on the links below to learn more about each of the Port’s cleanup projects at the Department of Ecology website:
7. ASARCO Lowland
Other Port Gardner Bay properties identified that are not directly related to the Port of Everett include the TC Systems Site, Jeld-Wen site, ExxonMobil Petroleum Bulk Storage Plant and Kimberly-Clark Mill Site (upland).
The cleanup efforts in and around Port Gardner Bay will only expand and enhance the recreational and occupational opportunities of the area for generations to come.
The Puget Sound Initiative & Port Gardner Bay
Since the establishment of environmental laws and regulations over the last several decades, local waterfront industries and businesses have been upgrading to more environmentally friendly facilities and have conducted a variety of environmental cleanups.
The Puget Sound Initiative (PSI) was established by Governor Gregoire in 2007 with the goal of restoring the health of the Puget Sound by 2020. One objective of the initiative and the Governor’s funding plan is to facilitate the cleanup of waterfront properties through the state’s Model Toxics Control Act regulated by the Department of Ecology (Ecology).
The Port Gardner Bay was identified by Ecology as a priority bay that will be addressed under the PSI. Significant state funds will be dedicated to cleanup stressed waterfront properties and sediments. Since 2007, the Port, Department of Ecology and other parties have worked together to cleanup identified properties owned by the Port.
Maintenance dredging is critical to commerce and recreation
The Port of Everett operates an active port, serving as a hub for international commerce and local recreation. To ensure viability of both activities, the critical and necessary chore of maintenance dredging is required.
Federal Maintenance dredging
To maintain safe and reliable navigation for commercial traffic in the Snohomish River Federal Navigation Channel, depths are maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).
On an annual basis, the Corps dredges nearly 150,000 cubic yards of material from the Snohomish River, typically alternating between the upper and lower settling basins. At times, high sediment levels necessitate dredging both basins when the federal budget allows.
As local sponsor, the Port is responsible for coordinating a new home for the clean river sediment. Options include open water disposal or adding sands to properties along the river, including Jetty Island for beach nourishment.
Port Maintenance dredging
Separate from Corps dredging, the Port is responsible for maintaining the basins and berths under its jurisdiction. This includes areas in and around the marina and shipping facilities. With its naturally deep-water harbor, the Seaport requires minimal maintenance, whereas the Marina and Boat Launch have a need upwards of $800K every five to ten years.
In recent years, this need has continued to increase. Extreme weather events have caused excessive sedimentation, pushing more material down river. The Corps' settling basins are designed to collect excess river sediment; however, when they fill up, they can't accommodate all the material carried by the river. Based on the current location of the lower settling basin, the excess sediment naturally settles in and around the marina and boat launch. This has resulted in increased groundings near the boat launch (outside of Port-owned property), and inaccessibility in some areas at low tide. As an example, during Jetty Island Days in 2017, 27 ferry trips were cancelled due to high sedimentation at low tide.
The Port is in discussions with the City of Everett and Snohomish County as joint property owners on funding for dredging the boat launch. The Port is also working with the Corps to identify potential solutions to capture sediment at a more optimal location.
A Committed Port. A Cleaner Port
Environmental stewardship is an integral part of the Port of Everett’s strategic goals, and is part of every sustainability discussion and effort at the Port. Protecting and enhancing the environment while carrying out our economic development mission is core to our principles.
The Port takes a multi-faceted approach to ensuring its facilities are environmentally sustainable. A Sustainable Port Program was developed to support the sustainability goals of the Port of Everett. The ultimate goal of the program is to achieve long-term environmental, societal and economic benefits through resource conservation, waste reduction, pollution prevention and more. Click here for an overview of the Port's Environmental Programs.
Environmental Management System
Taking a systematic and operation approach to environmental quality, the Port of Everett launched an Environmental Management System (EMS) in 2008. The EMS program is designed to help the port analyze, control and improve the environmental impacts of its activities.
Air quality is a high priority for the Port of Everett and the U.S. While the Puget Sound area is currently in good standing relative to national air quality standards, it is important for local governments and special purpose districts to do their part to build on this success. In a voluntary effort to develop baselines for marine-related air emissions in the Puget Sound region, the Puget Sound Maritime Air Forum created an Air Emissions Inventory program that provided the first baseline readings for participating ports. The program tracked emission levels produced by cargo handling equipment, ocean going vessels and light duty vehicles, among others. The Forum helped produce the 2005 Air Emissions Inventory (managed by the Port of Seattle). The Port of Everett and other participating Puget Sound ports produced the 2011 Air Emissions Inventory Update (managed by the Port of Tacoma).
In recognition of the Port’s air quality efforts, the American Lung Association named the Port of Everett a “Clean Air Ranger” for maintaining air emissions below benchmark limits.
Stormwater management is an integral part of the Port’s environmental efforts. To maintain proper stormwater treatment filtration, the Port employs treatment systems and best management practices at its marina and marine terminal facilities. The Port uses a vegetated bio-filtration swale at its marine terminals. The swale acts as a natural filtration system and treats stormwater runoff by allowing solids and contaminants to settle from the water column. In 2009, the Port redesigned the bio-filtration swale bordering the eastern side of its marine terminals. Since the redesign, pollutant levels have dramatically decreased. The Port of Everett also has on-site oil spill response trailers.
Sustainable Development and Clean Energy
Green Equipment: The Port has invested in clean energy equipment in an overall effort to reduce its carbon footprint. The Port’s clean energy fleet features major cargo handling equipment, including cranes and forklifts. The Port’s gantry cranes are heavily used in the transfer of cargo. These cranes operate on electric power therefore producing zero emissions. The Port also utilizes green vehicles to support security maintenance and administrative operations.
Green Purchasing: In 2009, the Port embarked on a Green Purchasing Program. The program encourages the purchase and use of eco-friendly office and janitorial supplies. The Port’s “green” office supplies include items used in daily operations such as recycled paper, folders and binders, environmentally friendly cleaners and restroom supplies. To date, across its three business lines, the Port has dedicated an overall average of 28 percent of its office and janitorial supply expense to “green” purchases.
Through the Puget Sound Initiative, the Port has successfully removed tens of thousands of tons of contaminated soils from its property, all inherited contamination from over a century of waterfront industrial use, including ship building and lumber and shingle mills. The work is ongoing, and represents a significant set of projects that restore the environment and economic health of Port lands.
The Port of Everett is committed to preserving, restoring and enhancing wildlife habitat. The Port's Jetty Island is a great example of this work. Additionally, when the Port of Everett constructs new projects in and around the shoreline zone, permitting conditions require habitat mitigation to offset the project impacts. Through its capital projects, the Port has enhanced 34.1 acres of habitat.
A robust recycling program is incorporated into the daily operation at the Port with everything from recycled supplies to recycling stations all of its facilities. The Port also maintains oil spill response trailers and disposal sites throughout its facilities.
Union Slough Mitigation SiteThe Union Slough Saltmarsh Mitigation Site was constructed by the Port of Everett. After a 2005 expansion, it is now a 24-acre estuarine marsh mudflat habitat, located in the Snohomish River estuary. Thanks to the diligent work of former Port of Everett Engineer Jack Olson, the Union Slough Saltmarsh Mitigation Project won the 2001 American Association of Port Authorities Environmental Improvement Award under the Mitigation category. Union Slough is dedicated to Jack, who passed away in November 2003. It is in remembrance of his hard work, vision and dedication to the project. Former Archbishop Murphy High School student Cory Larson also made significant contributions to Union Slough as part of his Eagle Scout project in 2003. Learn about public access opportunities at Union Slough.
Blue Heron Slough Mitigation BankThe Port of Everett purchased Blue Heron Slough in 1993 for a future wetland conservation project. As the Port develops other properties, it is required to provide replacement saltmarsh and wetland habitat for the project acres that are impacted. Blue Heron Slough will provide approximately 300 acres of replacement habitat for both Port projects and projects undertaken by others. Click here to learn more about Blue Heron Slough.
Jetty IslandPort-owned Jetty Island is a man-made island composed of historic dredge sediment. The Port of Everett gained ownership of Jetty Island in 1929, and a new marsh was built on the west side of the island in 1989. The original dredged material is more than 100 years old and has been added to over time as the result of maintenance dredging of the Snohomish River Federal Navigation Channel. Jetty Island provides protection to the harbor and the navigation channel stemming down the Snohomish River. Juvenile salmon, waterfowl and bald eagles are just a few examples of wildlife currently use Jetty Island. Continuous work is being done to improve and expand the island’s wildlife habitat. Click here to learn about the free ferry to Jetty Island.
Edgewater Beach EnhancementsThe Port has constructed a new beach for habitat mitigation and enhanced public access alongside the new Mount Baker Terminal in south Everett. The beach restoration has added 1,100 lineal feet of beach material on the east side of the facility, while also enhancing beach access with paths, benches, picnic tables and a parking lot. With these improvements, the beach is now accessible at all tide levels. Furthermore, the beach restoration has become an environmental success! After an environmental review, the area was determined to be flourishing with juvenile salmon, forage fish and numerous water birds. Click here to learn more about Edgewater Beach.