Boeing built an empire on the banks of the Duwamish River and now it s trying to return some of the favor.

Workers on Friday rolled out mats of native grasses and anchored them along banks that were once covered with fortifying boulders and invasive species like blackberries.

It s part of what Boeing calls the largest planned wildlife habitat restoration project on the waterway. The rehab project is taking place near the now removed Plant Two where Boeing built the B-17 that helped win World War II. Acres of shoreline that was reinforced with boulders to support and protect the company were cleared of manmade structures.

Boeing Senior Manager of Environmental Remediation Steven Tochko said workers identified the native plants along the river, then thousands of those plants were grown in the Idaho sunshine. After they re replanted in the tidal zone, they will provide protection for migrating salmon and help protect the banks from the damaging wakes of passing boats.

It s part of Boeing s role in the superfund cleanup taking place on the Duwamish which has suffered from years of corporate and residential contamination.

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