SOP 10: Forgotten Toxic Waste Dump on the Columbia: The Bradford Island Story

by | SOP 10


Why are the fish at one of the most popular recreational fishing areas in the Mid-Columbia considered too toxic to eat? For over 40 years, the U.S. government dumped toxic pollution in and along the Columbia’s shorelines at Bradford Island, located near Bonneville Dam. But cleanup has languished and the area around the island is now one of the most toxic sites on the Columbia River. Cancer-causing PCB concentrations in resident fish remain extremely high and the area is also contaminated with lead, mercury, pesticides, and petroleum chemicals. The cleanup story involves many players and perspectives. A panel of speakers will describe the history of Bradford Island’s past, planned cleanup actions, current fish advisories in the area, and what the future may hold if proposed budget cuts for this cleanup are approved. Rebeccah Winnier is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation and owns Northwest Fish Hogs, a Columbia Gorge-based fishing business. Ms. Winnier fishes in the Columbia River upstream of Bradford Island and sells salmon and steelhead to local restaurants and the public. Rebeccah lives in White Salmon, WA. Lauren Goldberg is the Legal and Program Director for Columbia Riverkeeper. Lauren’s practice areas focus on reducing toxic pollution and protecting salmon habitat and river communities from energy projects, including oil-by-rail, natural gas, and coal export projects. Lauren lives in Hood River, OR. Laura Klasner Shira joined the Yakama Nation Fisheries Program in 2015 to assist in their efforts to honor, protect, and restore the Columbia River basin. Her work focuses on cleanup of contaminated industrial sites and other environmental issues that impact the Columbia River water quality and aquatic resources. Prior to joining the Yakama team, Laura worked on similar issues as a regulator for the State of Washington and an environmental engineering consultant in Minnesota. In a past life, Laura also taught high school math and science.