Birch Bay Watershed

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Birch Bay Watershed

The Whatcom Conservation  District was recently awarded an EPA grant for a project to work in Birch Bay, Whatcom County, Washington.  Birch Bay had been the subject of an innovative pilot study where local, state, and federal agencies collaborated to create a comprehensive set of watershed management recommendations using integrated watershed characterization tools and techniques.  This project will implement recommendations (“outputs”) specific to select rural and urban subbasins to improve hydrological, denitrification and pathogen removal processes (“outcomes”) that will improve water quality for recreational swimming and shellfish harvest (“environmental benefits”).

Building upon the successful “Tenmile Creek Model”, work products of the Pilot Study will be shared with watershed residents to impart a greater appreciation for the potential impacts of their individual actions that either improve or degrade their marine and freshwater ecosystems.  Residents will be inspired to adopt good stewardship practices, install LID and agricultural BMPs and participate in riparian, wetland and water quality restoration projects. A high resolution subwatershed plan will quantify the ability to mitigate development impacts out of subbasin. 

 


 

Birch Bay Characterization and Watershed Improvement Project Summary of Accomplishments

Citizen Action

44 landowners took action to improve water quality
5,729 feet of fencing established to exclude animals from critical areas
5 manure storage facilities installed and 4 heavy use areas
9 septic systems inspected, 3 repaired and 2 replaced
23 Farms Assessed resulting in 34 Farm plan BMPs installed
1,792 acres of farm land assessed for resource concerns

Habitat Restoration 2012-2015

48,420 feet of riparian area improved and protected
22,000 Native plants established by landowners, volunteers, NSEA and CREP
14 large woody debris structures installed
27 Riparian Projects, resulting in 73 acres of habitat established

Community Engagement

2 Run with the Chums events, engaging over 500 people in water quality education in Terrell Creek
11 water quality and farm plan workshops, 4 project site tours
10 Volunteer work parties, with over 1,200 volunteers 
77% of landowners surveyed stated increased awareness of water quality
72% of landowner surveyed recognized Chums of Terrell Creek  as a resource for water information

 Fish Passage Improvement

6 fish barriers replaced
15 stream miles opened to fish
2012 Lake Terrell Dam made fish passable through improvements
Up to 100,000 fish eggs incubated yearly in the Lake Terrell Remote Site Incubator

 

 More on Chums of Terrell Creek website