Budd Inlet Provides Field Experience for Evergreen Students

March 18, 2024
Sometimes it takes getting out of the classroom and into the field to understand how environmental restoration is achieved

The Port partnered with The Evergreen State College to make that happen. During seven weeks of sediment sampling in Budd Inlet, students in environmental programs had the opportunity to observe research activities up close. 

In an important step toward the cleanup and restoration of Budd Inlet, the Port conducted extensive sediment sampling in the inlet’s East Bay in January and February 2024.  A crew of experts aboard a research vessel collected samples from over 100 targeted sites. The data will be used to create a detailed 3-dimensional map of contamination and sediment types throughout the sampling area. The sampling process will help determine the extent and concentration of contamination in the sediments within Budd Inlet, critical for selecting the appropriate remediation techniques.

Seeing this as a rare opportunity for invaluable field experience, the Port invited students to get in on the action. Assisted by the Port’s Harbor Patrol volunteer program, students braved the cold and rain to watch how samples were extracted from various locations and depths and meticulously recorded.  In all, 15 students took advantage of the chance to witness the careful work that it takes to research and ultimately restore the environment.

The primary focus of this work is to investigate harmful legacy pollutants, including dioxins and furans. This research builds on sampling completed in 2013 and provides up-to-date and more comprehensive information. The data will be used to remap contamination so the Port and the Department of Ecology can develop a cleanup action plan. In addition to removing harmful pollutants from the sediment, the Port is committed to a comprehensive restoration plan for the shoreline, aligning with its vision to rectify environmental mistakes of the past and foster a healthier ecosystem for the future.

View FAQs about sediment sampling and learn more about Budd Inlet Cleanup and Restoration by visiting www.portolympia.com/buddinlet.

Thank you to The Evergreen State College and all the students who participated!  We look forward to future opportunities to partner on projects.

More information about the project can be found at:

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