In 2013 the City of Bellingham finalized a subarea plan for its Waterfront District, which extends along a portion of the Bellingham Bay shoreline. The Waterfront District includes lands of the former Georgia Pacific Corporation mill, Port of Bellingham, City and private properties, and the bluff along Boulevard and State streets. The subarea plan provides a framework for future development of the Waterfront District that seeks to balance the environmental, economic, and community objectives for the site. The subarea plan includes an element that specifically addresses potential restoration projects within the Waterfront District aimed at improving habitat conditions for Chinook salmon.
After review of the subarea plan there was some concern by stakeholders that it did not consider ecological connectivity between and among habitat elements located within the Waterfront District. Based on this input, the City decided to fund a limited effort to assess marine nearshore habitat connectivity within the District and the shoreline that falls within the City’s Urban Growth Area (UGA). Environmental Science Associates (ESA) was retained to assist with this effort and completed the study in December 2014.