Squalicum Creek Re-route Phases 3 and 4

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​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. ​

This project:

  • 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 Decem​be​r 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 hospit​al.​​

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.

Volunteers at the December 2021 work party at the Squalicum Creek Re-route 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.

Project Videos

“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.

Supporting Documents

Project Details​​

  • Status – Construction
  • Contract Awarded – 6/22/20
  • Contract Amount – $1,767,726
  • Contractor – Tiger Construction​​
  • Vicinity ​​Map


​Craig Mueller, P.E.
Project Engineer
Public Works Department, Engineering
(360) 778-7922, camueller@cob.org ​​

Analiese Burns, Project Manager
Habitat and Restoration Manager
Public Works Department, Natural Resources
(360) 778-7968, acburns@cob.org ​

Public Wor​ks Contacts​​​​

Participating Departments

Affected Neighborhoods

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