Project Overview: EV148 and EV156
The Squalicum Creek Re-route Phases 3 and 4 habitat enhancement projects builds on two prior phases to address water quality and fish habitat impacts to Squalicum Creek by Bug Lake and surrounding development. Bug Lake, a man-made gravel borrow pit that was created during the construction of I-5, is currently the cause of the largest thermal-loading (i.e. heat) issues in Squalicum Creek. Because the pond was shallow and wide, it absorbed large amounts of solar heat, causing peaks in water temperature that were harmful to salmon.
This project involved restoring approximately 2/3 of Bug Lake to a forested wetland. The creek now flows through a historic channel south of the restored forested wetland, crossing under Squalicum Parkway in a new fish-passable culvert, and follows two remnant channels northwest to rejoin the current creek channel.
- Reduces stream temperatures;
- Increases channel length, riparian cover, and riparian width west of Squalicum Parkway;
- Restores riverine wetland to improve water quality functions; and,
- Bypasses a partial fish passage barrier at Squalicum Parkway.
Construction of this project began in July 2020 and concluded in December 2020. Riparian planting continued through February 2021. The most significant traffic impacts were in summer 2020 when Squalicum Parkway was reduced to one lane during the construction of a fish-passable culvert under the road.
The Orchard Drive Extension, a new arterial under I-5 that will connect Squalicum Parkway with James Street and is in the same vicinity as this project, begins construction in 2021. This street will ultimately ease traffic congestion on Ellis Street and Sunset Drive around the hospital.
Status – December 2021
Accomplishments: All construction work is complete on the project. The initial project planting was completed in the winter of 2021.
Special thanks to the City’s Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program who hosted a volunteer work party at the project site in December 2021 with the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA). Together with community volunteers, they helped plant native plants at the construction site.
Next Milestone: Ongoing maintenance and infill planting will ensure successful establishment of all plants as they grow. Stream temperatures are being monitored throughout the summer months to help evaluate effectiveness of the project.
“Restoring Squalicum Creek” Video – 2021
This video was completed in July 2021 to highlight the habitat restoration efforts in the Squalicum Creek watershed, including the Phases 3 and 4 project.
Construction Tour Video – 2020
This video was filmed September 2, 2020 by BTV Bellingham during the project’s construction. The video features Craig Mueller, Project Engineer, and Analiese Burns, Project Manager, walking through the construction site and talking about the project.
- September 14, 2020 – The City hosted a virtual event with a video tour of the Squalicum Creek Re-route Phases 3 and 4 project followed by a live Q&A with project experts.
- August 2020 – Press release announcing installation of fish-passable culvert
- July 2020 – Press release announcing start of construction
- June 2020 – Presentation slides (with presenter notes) from planned in-person informational open house, canceled due to COVID-19
- November 12, 2019 – Presentation slides from Cornwall Park Neighborhood Association meeting (includes Squalicum Re-route and Orchard Drive Extension projects)
- Squalicum Creek Corridor projects graphic (includes Squalicum Creek Re-route and Orchard Drive Extension projects)
- Squalicum Creek Re-route Phases 1-4 overview graphic
- Status – Construction
- Contract Awarded – 6/22/20
- Contract Amount – $1,767,726
- Contractor – Tiger Construction
- Vicinity Map
Craig Mueller, P.E.
Public Works Department, Engineering
(360) 778-7922, firstname.lastname@example.org
Analiese Burns, Project Manager
Habitat and Restoration Manager
Public Works Department, Natural Resources
(360) 778-7968, email@example.com