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
Phase 1:   From 2007-09, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) removed a 15,500-square-foot derelict pier and 680 creosote piles from areas adjacent to the existing delta.

Phase 2:  In 2013, derelict bulkheads, piles and other miscellaneous debris were removed from the Squalcium Creek estuary, and 2.5 acres of intertidal habitat was created to a create feeding and refuge areas for juvenile salmon.  A riparian buffer and estuarine marsh vegetation was restored, and salvaged driftwood was placed along the shoreline. 

Phase 3:  The Port is completing the design of future improvements to the Squalicum Creek estuary.  Phase 3 of this project will:
  • Remove the 350-foot concrete lined channel bottom between Roeder Avenue and the BNSF rail spur and re-establish a natural stream bed.
  • Remove the jump, depth, and velocity barriers to fish passage between the estuary and the Squalicum Creek watershed. 
  • Replace and/or modify the two existing concrete box culvert bridges
Squalicum Creek