The Future of the Waterfront

Georgia Pacific Property Cleanup
Utilizing local and national resources, the port has committed to the cleanup of environmentally damaged sites around the Bellingham waterfront while planning for community-friendly development.

In 2005, the Port of Bellingham acquired the massive 137-acre former Georgia-Pacific property. In the heart of downtown Bellingham, this project will create a people-friendly access to the waterfront while offering housing, small business, and new park opportunities. Expected to take many years, development is being carefully planned with citizen input.

Whatcom Waterway Cleanup
In the effort to make those dreams of cleaning up and restoring the Bellingham waterfront into reality, the State Department of Ecology approved a cleanup action plan and consent decree for the Whatcom waterway in 2007, setting the stage for the Port of Bellingham to begin one of the state’s largest marine cleanup projects ever launched. The project calls for the removal of 530,000 cubic yards of contaminated material from the Whatcom Creek Waterway and the 37-acre Georgia-Pacific Aerated Stabilization Basin (ASB), the creation of two miles of enhanced nearshore habitats, and the transformation of the ASB into a Clean Ocean Marina, complete with new salmon habitats, fish passageways, and nearly a mile of public access around the breakwater.

The $44 million project, with half the cost promised by the state, is estimated to take a total of eight years. Cleanup of the Whatcom Waterway has begun with the removal of contaminated materials.

Bellingham Bay Pilot Project
The port’s environmental role in the county is very much a history in the making. Since the inauguration of the Bellingham Bay Pilot Project and its original charge of cleaning up 13 contaminated sites around Whatcom County, two sites have been completed - old Holly Street Landfill and the former Weldcraft Shipyard.

The rest of the projects are all underway. The port and other local agencies are generating plans to clean up the Harris Avenue shipyard, the Cornwall Avenue Landfill, the Whatcom Creek Waterway, the Central Waterfront, the I and J Street Waterway, and Georgia-Pacific’s former properties. To learn more about environmental cleanup projects currently underway around the port, please visit the Washington State Department of Ecology website.

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