Environmental Strategies

Project Size
The Waterfront District is one of the largest contaminated property redevelopment projects in the United States and one of the most significant salmon habitat restoration efforts in Puget Sound. Most projects measure habitat restoration by how many feet of shoreline will be restored; the Waterfront District measures restoration in miles.

Environmental Cleanup
There are six state-listed cleanup sites within the Waterfront District that are affected by soil, groundwater, and/or sediment contamination caused by historic releases of hazardous substances. Bringing this environmentally compromised land back into functioning and productive use is essential to meet the community vision for the central waterfront. The cleanup of this property is regulated by the Washington State Model Toxics Control Act and the Department of Ecology. The port and the city are working together to integrate site cleanup, habitat restoration, and redevelopment activities.

Habitat Restoration
The Waterfront District will support Puget Sound salmon recovery efforts by restoring several miles of urban shorelines, removing creosote pilings and unnecessary overwater structures, improving nearshore connectivity, and building more than four acres of new shallow habitat benches, which offer food and protection to juvenile salmon. Human activities and the natural environment will be balanced through design solutions that integrate shoreline habitats into mixed-use urban redevelopment.

While salmon recovery will ultimately require all causes of decline to be addressed, the Waterfront District redevelopment project will restore critical salmon habitats and serve as a Puget Sound model for how urban development can be carefully balanced with intricate human-nature interactions. View additional information about habitat restoration.

Sustainable Strategies
Designing and building an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable waterfront is a key objective for the Waterfront District.  In 2011, a portion of the Waterfront District was certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Neighborhood Development Silver plan. This program integrates the principles of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building and benefits communities by reducing urban sprawl, increasing transportation choices, decreasing automobile dependence, encouraging healthy living, and protecting threatened species.