The Cherry Point marine area has both environmental and economic importance to the region. In recognition, the state Department of Natural Resources has protected an area near the wharf as an Aquatic Reserve while confirming that the Gateway Pacific Terminal is consistent with the Reserve’s goals and objectives.
A major environmental focus is the herring that spawn near the wharf site. These herring are part of a larger population that stretches along 4,500 miles of coastline. While independent studies have shown that declines in the local population are due to natural factors rather than industrial activity, we are committed to safeguards designed to avoid or minimize effects on the herring and its marine environment.
For example, when a structure is built over water, its shade can inhibit the growth of plants and small animals. To ensure that the maximum amount of light reaches the water beneath the wharf, we tracked sunlight and artificial light penetration, mapped the shadow pattern beneath the wharf and aligned it to maximize the amount of natural light reaching the water.
In addition, we designed our cargo loading system to deliver material directly into the holds of the ship, minimizing “dusting” of material onto the wharf or into the water. All runoff from rain or cleaning activities will be captured and pumped back to the terminal’s water treatment system.
Ships calling at the terminal will be required to discharge their ballast water 200 miles offshore to prevent the introduction of non-native species into local waters. To ensure compliance, we will fund the Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct ballast inspections of all vessels for the duration of the project.