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Must ‘think big’ to clean up Green and Duwamish River system

Elected leaders, conservationists and others have an ambitious plan to clean up and protect the 93-mile long Green-Duwamish River system. (AP Photo/Ron Wurzer)

More than $1 billion has already been spent to clean up the Green-Duwamish river system in King County. But most of that money has gone to the polluted, five-mile stretch of the industrial lower Duwamish which is a federal Superfund site.

An ambitious plan revealed Monday would expand spending and protections for the entire 500-square mile watershed.

“The river has paid the price for our prosperity,” said county executive Dow Constantine. “A lot of the pollution we are trying to remove is a legacy of the 20th century.”

Constantine joined political, civic and environmental leaders in Seattle Monday to announce plans for a multi-year, multimillion dollar effort to protect the entire 93-mile length of the river corridor. Constantine announced a proposal to purchase more than 100 acres of fish habitat and forested wetland in five different locations along the Green-Duwamish system.

The county and the city will work with the University of Washington’s Green Futures Lab to coordinate various stakeholders, including tribes and regulatory agencies on various projects along the river system.

The city, the county, the Port of Seattle, the Environmental Protection agency and the Boeing Company will participate in a pilot study of the effectiveness of using activated carbon to clean up pollutants.

“We’ve got to think big,” said Mo McBroom of the Nature Conservancy. “And that is what this strategy is all about.”

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