Environment

Don't eat these oysters! They're for trapping pollutants

The Port of Seattle this week planted three tons of Olympia oysters on Seattle’s Elliott Bay.

The oysters are not for eating, but to help clean our waters. 

The oyster bed is part of the Port of Seattle’s pilot project to improve water quality.

“In any urban environment you have storm water runoffs and it’s got the toxic cocktail of all of our urban sins,” said Port Commissioner Fred Felleman.

That cocktail includes lawn fertilizers and chemicals used in daily life.

Olympia oysters may be the size of a half dollar, but they are hard-working in filtering out pollutants that end up in the Puget Sound. 

But there’s only so much the oysters can do, said Felleman. 

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“Our atmosphere is suffering some major changes. Our seasons are different, our summers are filled with smoke and it’s time that we get busy, (that) everybody do their part to reduce our carbon footprints and try to absorb the damage we’ve already done.”

The project is in partnership with Puget Sound Restoration Fund and the State Department of Natural Resources.

Later in the year the Port will plant kelp and eelgrass that will also help trap pollutants.