Squalicum Creek Estuary Restoration

Salmon Populations
Squalicum Creek is a tributary to Bellingham Bay and supports four reproducing populations of salmonids:
  • Chum salmon
  • Coho salmon
  • Cutthroat trout
  • Steelhead trout
Reason for Restoration
As a result of historic shoreline development, the mouth of Squalicum Creek has been relocated and confined between two concrete box culvert bridges in a heavily armored channel with a concrete bottom that creates jump, depth, and velocity barriers to fish passage. Restoring the mouth of Squalicum Creek and its associated estuary habitats was identified as a priority restoration project through the landscape-level planning efforts of the Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot Project.

Restoration Efforts
To date, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has removed a 15,500-square-foot derelict pier and 680 creosote piles from areas adjacent to the existing delta. In 2013, a major habitat restoration project will improve and restore the outer estuary, nearshore and riparian habitat.  Derelict bulkheads, piles and other miscellaneous debris will be removed and fill will be placed in the nearshore to create refuge areas for juvenile salmon.  A riparian buffer and estuarine marsh vegetation will be restored, and salvaged driftwood will be placed along the shoreline. 

The Port is also completing the design of future improvements to the estuary.  Phase 2 of this project will:
  • Re-establish a natural stream bed to eliminate the fish passage barrier between the estuary and the Squalicum Creek watershed
  • Relocate the existing city sewer main under the concrete channel bottom
  • Remove the existing concrete channel bottom
  • Replace the two existing concrete box culvert bridges