Local environment improving says longtime resident
July 4, 2008 · Updated 11:08 AM
A resident on Bremertons waterfront since 1958, Field Ryan remembers a time when 50-caliber ammunition shells washed up on his beach, and no one dared dip their toes in the sewage-infested water.
However, Ryan has seen and participated in a revolution of attitude toward the citys environment in the last 44 years, from destructive to restorative.
When Ryan opens his deck door and looks West, he sees Jackson Park across Ostrich bay.
Although Jackson Park was once a Navy oil and ammunition depot, Ryan was invited by the Navy in 1994 to work on a Community Restoration Advisory Committee to clean it up.
He filled the position of community co-chair in a group of chemical, sediment and disposal specialists, biologists, Navy officers, botanists, and other civilians.
They have met once a month for the last eight years, and make recommendations to the Navy.
The Navy has since contracted workers to rebuild the shoreline, re-grade the banks, cover contaminated soil and remove ammunition.
So far the federally-funded project has cost upwards of $15 million.
Participating in the project reminds Ryan that Bremerton residents civilians and Navy personnel respect the environment more than they used to.
When he first moved to Bremerton, he saw fish swimming in the bay, but within a few years, all sea life disappeared.
He couldnt blame them.
Many residents drained their sewer lines directly into the bay.
It was a time, said Ryan, when people believed the water would take care of everything.
Builders shoved excess dirt into the bay when they were building houses, people dumped their grass clippings in the water after mowin