Cleaning creosote from Puget Sound
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources is undertaking a major clean-up of creosote-saturated pilings and debris from Maury and Vashon islands over the next two weeks. This project is part of a DNR effort to improve the quality of Puget Sound by removing debris and pilings treated with creosote – a combination of more than 300 chemicals used to prevent decay – from Washington’s marine and estuarine waters. Last year, DNR removed 1,769 creosote-treated piles and 1,235 tons of creosote debris from Puget Sound. The waters around Vashon and Maury islands, which include the 5,350-acre Maury Island Environmental Aquatic Reserve, are one of just 18 distinct Pacific herring spawning areas in Puget Sound. Herring eggs exposed to creosote have a high mortality rate. Herring are an important part of the diets of a number of species, including salmon, and migrating shorebirds. The area is also home to dozens of species, including shellfish, heron, and bald eagles.