Brownfield Cleanup sites

Squaxin is checking initial federal and state database screenings for sites on the reservation that are potential brownfield sites.  Those include underground storage tanks that may already be decommissioned, illegal garbage dumps that have partial records of cleanup.  Outside the reservation, we are meeting with WA State Dept. of Ecology to discuss their cleanup progress on existing sites.

Click Here for >>>>Squaxin Tribe Clean Up Sites

The total Number of Brownfield sites is as follows, Development of the initial list of contaminated or potentially contaminated sites began with downloading Ecology’s database of all 180,704 Facilities and Sites of Environmental Interest in the State. This database contains information for sites within the State for which a permit or permit related report, notice, or violation has been issued. This database was clipped to include only those entries within the SITs U&A; this resulted in a total of 6,163 entries.

Data from the State Brownfields program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields sites list were also downloaded and cross-checked against the initial download. Four sites were listed in the State Brownfields Program and seven were listed in the federal list, but there was some overlap with sites already listed in Ecology’s database. After reviewing all of the Brownfield’s sites, a total of four new sites were identified and added to the master database for a revised total of 6,167 entries.

Since the master database includes a wide variety of sites of possible interest to Ecology (e.g., a wetland mitigation site, a site covered by an NPDES permit, and a dam site) most of them were not of interest to this inventory. The Interaction Type Code (ITC) indicates which Ecology program the site is connected to and therefore indirectly reflects the reason for Ecology’s interest in the site. There were a total of 86 ITCs in the master database that Herrera reviewed to screen the list. Most of these were eliminated because they are not related to contaminated or potentially contaminated sites, which resulted in approximately 1,500 entries in the master database.

The next step was to consider the ‘site status’. Site’s with the following status were also eliminated from the database:

  • Construction Complete-Performance Monitoring
  • No Further Action

After meeting with Ecology final changes were made to the inventory, resulting in a complete inventory of 234 sites. This inventory still includes multiple listings for some sites, which will be further evaluated under Phase 3. The database reflecting these sites was submitted to the SIT. Figure 1 depicts the locations of all of these sites within the SIT U&A.

The highest priority areas for the SIT are those near Oakland Bay and Budd Inlet and near areas currently or potentially used for shellfish harvest. These areas are shown in Figure 2. There are 145 sites identified within 1/4 mile of these high priority areas. These attributes were added to the inventory database to allow easy sorting.


Squaxin Tribes Brownfield Public Record

Some considerations for Brownfield site prioritization include:

  • Should sites classified as Cleanup Started sites rank higher than Awaiting Cleanup, because there is already momentum and an identified site owner?
  • What sites have the highest risk pollutants, and are they mobile in water?
  • Which sites may cause immediate health risk to aquatic species?
  • Which sites are located over critical aquifer recharge areas or immediately on shellfish beaches?
  • Eliminate certain sites as highest priority because of our existing knowledge of them for example duplicate sites with the same address.
  • Develop a criteria appropriate to use for further ranking all of the remaining sites.
  • Draft criteria appropriate for selecting the top 10 to 15 sites.
  • Initiate communication with the City of Shelton and with the City of Olympia to discuss the cities’ priorities for cleanup (since there are so many contaminated sites in both of these downtown areas.)

Squaxin Tribe Brownfield Public Record

If there is a problem with the website features the Squaxin Public Record can be viewed by contacting,


Candace O Penn
Climate Change Ecologist
Squaxin Island Tribe
Natural Resources Dept.
(360) 432-3898


Brownfields Tribal Response Program

Brownfields Tribal Response Program

The Squaxin Brownfields Tribal Response Program (TRP) started in 2018 as an environmental program within the Squaxin Tribe Natural Resources Office. Squaxin Island Tribe receives a yearly grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to maintain the program.

What is a brownfields site?
Brownfields sites are abandoned, idled, or underused industrial and commercial properties where development, redevelopment, or expansion is complicated by actual or suspected environmental contamination. By investigating and cleaning up brownfields sites, many of which are abandoned areas that may impose an environmental risk to the local community, development can take place with less concern about legal liabilities related to site contamination. This benefits the Squaxin Island Tribe by bringing jobs to the area, making abandoned property functional, and possibly preserving sites that have historic and cultural significance. For more information about brownfields sites, visit U.S. EPA, Brownfields


Timely survey and inventory
  • Establish a system to identify, prioritize, and survey brownfields sites on the Reservation
  • Review databases and other sources of existing information to identify sites
  • Update existing databases with newly assessed brownfields site information
Environmental assessments
  • Conduct assessments on potential brownfields sites by trained staff or by hiring a qualified contractor
  • Estimate costs for cleanup for a site
  • Develop a reuse/redevelopment plan for sites taking into consideration the contamination issues
Public record
  • Update annually, or more often if appropriate
  • Include site locations, responses, and future plans
Public participation
  • Incorporate brownfields information into current public outreach activities
  • Establish procedure for prior notice and opportunity for public comment as well as a mechanism by which an affected person may request a site assessment be conducted
  • Create a draft cleanup and verification plan and implement a review process
  • Design a process by which cleanup plans and efforts can be certified and include procedures, documentation, and a step by step process
Oversight and Enforcement
  • Establish a follow-up inspection protocol to survey any new brownfields sites
  • Research existing environmental oversight and enforcement authorities
  • Develop administrative procedures to assure response actions are conducted in a lawful manner and protect human health and the environment → Learn More

Brownfields sites can potentially include:

  • Abandoned warehouses and industrial properties
  • Old buildings, factories, gas stations
  • Open/illegal dumping (particularly involving hazardous wastes such as gas, oil, pesticides, paints, etc).
  • Drug labs: Materials found at these sites are extremely hazardous; don’t investigate yourself. If you suspect a drug lab in operation or discover a location you suspect might be a former drug lab, call the police immediately.
  • Above-ground or underground fuel storage tanks that are abandoned or suspected to be leaking

A brownfields site is not:

  • A site that the owner is liable for contamination and that is being used as an open dump
  • A site where a removal action or cleanup by another organization or agency has occurred or is occurring

Report a brownsfields site
The Squaxin Island Brownfields TRP can only investigate what it knows about. For this reason, input from the community is crucial. We encourage any information you can provide about potential brownfield sites on the reservation as well comments on sites we are currently working with. Contact the Squaxin Island Department of Natural Resouces with your questions, suggestions, or comments.



Squaxin Island Tribe Deeply Concerned About State Chum Fishery

The Squaxin Island Tribe is calling foul on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for continuing a commercial chum salmon fishery despite deep doubts about the run.

The chum salmon runs in deep South Sound are all native stocks, and all managed for natural production.

“Today, the Department decided to continue its chum fishery, even though the escapement levels necessary to sustain the Kennedy Creek native stock is at less than 20 percent of what is expected at this time of year,” said tribal chair Arnold Cooper. “We decided some weeks ago not to fish, in order to ensure that enough fish returned to the river to spawn.”

Puget Sound tribes have harvested 50,000 chum. Despite warnings, and the unanimous recommendations of the tribal co-managers to stop, WDFW refuses to close the fishery and has now harvested 150,000 fish. For 2015-2017 combined the state commercial take has exceeded tribal harvest by more than 200,000 fish. Further, WDFW closed its Hood Canal fishery to non-Indian gillnetters and encouraged those fishers to move into Puget Sound, putting further pressure on the Kennedy Creek chum and increasing the risk that escapement will not be met.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife takes no lesson from the history of over-fishing stocks toward endangered status, Cooper said.

“Has the State learned nothing? The State wants to fish today and ignore tomorrow. It is irresponsible. When the co-manager alerts you to a problem in real fish, they need to stop telling us that the computer model says there is plenty of paper fish and there is no problem.”

The tribal and state co-managers largely agree on the estimated run size and have conducted in-season test fisheries to adjust the run size. The models that are used for management presume that a certain escapement will occur for a given run size. However, the expected escapement is more than two weeks overdue with no fish at or near the river mouth.

“The state ignores the warning, on the hope that the rains will come, the rivers will rise, and the fish will show up. The tribe hopes that is so, but is not willing to risk the run,” Cooper said.

“The Department’s mission is to “preserve, protect and perpetuate fish .., while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities,” Cooper said. “The Tribe has asked the Department to live up to its mission statement and stop fishing the Kennedy Creek chum run. The department has refused. That is wrong. The department’s actions are a direct threat to the perpetuating the native run and to having a sustainable fishery. The Department must stop,” he said.

Joseph Peters 360.490.6825
Arnold Cooper 360. 490.7933

Squaxin Island Tribe Request for Qualifications (RFQ)



The Squaxin Island Tribe is seeking qualified candidates for a part-time (20 – 24 hours a week) Watershed Planning Coordinator to support the Tribe’s participation on several Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Committees in the South Sound area. For more information contact Jeff Dickison at 360-432-3815. Interested parties should respond by October 19, 2018. Eventual hire may be by a contract for services, or by a hire as a Tribal employee depending on circumstances with the eligible candidate.

The Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Committees are being established by the Washington Department of Ecology under Chapter 90.94 RCW (See Ecology’s website: These Committees have until June 2021 to develop and approve a watershed plan to offset potential impacts to instream flows associated with permit-exempt domestic water use. The Tribe expects to participate in Committees in WRIAs 12, 13, 14, and 15.

The ideal candidate will have:
• Experience working with multiple partners and stakeholders, boards, and committees.
• Demonstrated experience with environmental planning and programs, preferably in salmon recovery and hydrology efforts.
• A familiarity with the Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Committee process as laid out in Chapter 90.94 RCW.
• Experience with grant management, reporting, and compliance.
• A strong desire to serve the Tribal interest.

• Five years of experience in environmental planning, outreach, or program coordination.
• Two years of salmon recovery and/or hydrology experience

A bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences or studies, or related field. A master’s degree is preferred.

A successful candidate could expect to:
• Represent the Squaxin Island Tribe at Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Committee meetings
• Coordinate with Tribal personnel to identify and rate restoration and conservation opportunities.
• Working with the Committee, develop a work plan to guide the overall effort of creating a prioritized mitigation project list to recommend for funding and implementation.
• Create a ranked habitat mitigation project list and submit it to the appropriate state agencies and boards.
• Document the goals and strategies needed for salmon recovery and hydrological restoration in the WRIA.
• Track salmon restoration and hydrological protection projects in the WRIA areas in the appropriate state database.
• Conduct community outreach and education relating to salmon recovery and streamflow restoration efforts.
• Undertake administrative tasks relating to the role of Watershed Planning Coordinator.

Highly qualified candidates will have the ability to:
• Lead and motivate others.
• Manage multiple projects.
• Problem solve and provide holistic solutions.
• Resolve conflict in an open and inclusive manner.
• Develop and write plans based on an analysis of data and ongoing stakeholder, community, and agency input.
• Communicate effectively (in writing and orally) with individuals and groups.
• Establish and maintain effective working relationships.

Hiring range for the position is approximately $2,000 – $2,500 per month on a part time basis for 20 -24 hours per week and depending on qualifications.

Email application materials to or mail or hand deliver to 200 SE Billy Frank Jr Way, Shelton, WA 98584.

To be considered, applicants must submit all the following:
1. Letter of interest that addresses how your education, experience, knowledge, and abilities make you an ideal candidate for the position.
2. Resume.

The most qualified applicants will be invited to take part in an interview process. This position will remain open until filled. Applications will be reviewed beginning October 19, 2018.

Planting Juvenile Coho in the Deschutes River

The Squaxin Island Tribe and the Washington Department of Fish teamed up this past June to release thousands of coho fry into Spurgeon Creek a tributary of the Deschutes River.

You can watch videos of the release here  and here

The Deschutes River system used to have a robust run of naturally spawning coho. This ended in the late 1980’s due to habitat degradation in coho spawning areas and decreases in marine survival along the entire west coast. Coho salmon generally spend 1.5 years in freshwater and 1.5 years in the ocean. This makes them especially vulnerable to changes in stream habitat and ocean conditions.

Coho salmon return to the stream they were born after three years. This means that a run of coho is made up of three different year classes or cohorts. In the late 1980’s one of these cohorts was considered essentially extinct because it was not producing enough fish to maintain the population. Starting in the mid 1990’s a second cohort also became functionally extinct.

Yearly plantings of juvenile coho will likely continue while in-river restoration and conservation projects are implemented and studies on the impacts of ocean conditions  such as the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project continue.

Return of adult coho to the Deschutes River 1980-2014:

Return of adult coho to the Deschutes by cohort/year class 1997-2014


2016 South Sound Science Symposium Presentations Now Online

The 2016 South Sound Science Symposium was held at the Little Creek Event Center on September 20th. There were over 450 attendees making 2016 the largest event yet for South Sound.

Topics included:

  • Nisqually Community Forest – process, analysis of ownership, how it can be used as a salmon recovery tool
  • Active tectonics in South Puget Sound
  • Landslides, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanic Eruptions: They all happen in Washington. Why? What does it cost? What can we do?
  • Sea level rise, Budd Inlet
  • Shoreline armoring data
  • An updated groundwater model for regional planning – Chambers-Clover Creek Watershed, Pierce County
  • Modeling trophic interactions in South Sound
  • Beach spawning, forage fish monitoring
  • LOTT’s Reclaimed Water Study: What we have learned so far about residual chemicals in our local waters
  • New science documenting toxic impacts on salmon and other aquatic species
  • Exploring drivers of fecal coliform pollution trends in South Puget Sound
  • Nisqually Community Forest VELMA modeling

In addition to the speakers there were 23 poster presentations.

Poster abstracts can be found here:

Copies of the presentations can be found here:

Speaker abstracts here:

Shelton Harbor Restoration

We are pleased to announce the kickoff of a project designed to restore the Goldsborough and Shelton Creek estuaries in Shelton Harbor. When complete the project area and other high quality habitat in the harbor will be placed into permanent protection.

Existing conditions.

Shelton Harbor existing conditions.

Conceptual drawing showing completed project.

Conceptual design for the completed project.

The overall project involves-

Landowners: Simpson Lumber, Sierra Pacific Industries and the Port of Shelton.

Partners: South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, Mason Conservation District, Capitol Land Trust and the Squaxin Island Tribe.

Funding obtained to date has been provided by the Washington Department of Ecology National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program (information here) and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB, information here). Significantly, all of the Lead Entities present in South Puget Sound contributed to the project enabling the SRFB to increase the amount of money available.

The project is large in scope and when complete will:

  • remove 811 creosote pilings
  • remove 1/2 mile of armored shoreline
  • remove 1/4 mile of inter-tidal dikes
  • restore 47 acres of saltmarsh
  • restore 1/2 mile of shoreline riparian
  • conserve 51 acres of tidelands and over 14 acres of riparian upland

The partners are currently in the permitting phase and anticipate construction to begin in the summer of 2017. To keep informed of the project status we have created a website Check in regularly for updates.