Lower Squalicum Creek Habitat Restoration

The City of Bellingham is working to restore riparian areas of Squalicum Creek to improve bank stability. Due to the high proportion of impervious surfaces in the lower Squalicum Creek watershed, rainstorms cause “flashy” flow conditions in Squalicum Creek, which means that the amount and velocity of water in the stream changes rapidly. As this water rushes past backyards and roadways it threatens to destabilize the banks. 

Along with repairing multiple culverts on Squalicum Parkway to improve fish passage, the City of Bellingham also undertook a large bank stabilization project downstream of West Street to protect Squalicum Parkway from erosion. In September 2005 the City installed a series of large woody debris (LWD) structures to stabilize the banks along Squalicum Creek in order to protect Squalicum Parkway and nearby homes from erosion while at the same time improving in-stream habitat conditions.

The City and its Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) crews continue to maintain and monitor this site. The site is visited multiple times per year for routine maintenance, such as surveying for and controlling noxious weeds and other invasive plants. In winter 2016-2017, the WCC crews planted 750 native shrubs and 75 native conifers on lower Squalicum Creek.

The City also includes this section of the stream in its weekly spawner surveys. These surveys have identified chum spawning in lower Squalicum Creek.