Commencement Bay was built in the early 1900’s by dredging and filling 4,000 acres of tidal flats and estuaries. Today, it is a major trans-Pacific port ringed by chemical, concrete, aluminum, and lumber manufacturers. Despite past filling and dredging, the Bay still provides critical rearing and feeding habitat for many marine species, including endangered Chinook salmon.
Restoring urban industrial areas is expensive and complex, requiring extraordinary cooperation. The Commencement Bay partnership grew from a common responsibility and a mandate of the National Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process to restore, replace, or acquire natural resources equivalent to those once found in the Bay. The partnership leverages and facilitates more restoration activity than the NRDA Trustees could accomplish alone. Community-based restoration has not only increased the extent of restoration, but inspired a commitment to the bay’s long-term stewardship.