West Reach Upper Silver Beach Creek Water Quality Improvement Project

Project Overview
Whatcom County Public Works received the 2012 Local Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Honor Award by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Seattle Section for West Tributary Habitat and Stormwater Improvements. This capital improvement project, designed to improve water quality and habitat in the Silver Beach Creek sub-basin of the Lake Whatcom Watershed, was completed in 2012 to address issues with increased stormwater runoff and greater peak flows due to its developed landscape.

Project elements included reshaping and stabilizing the stream channel, creation of a bio-infiltration swale, and installing stormwater vaults. These improvements filter phosphorus-containing sediment, restore habitat, alleviate flooding, reduce erosion, and promote infiltration.

Engineering assistance was provided by Osborn Consulting and Land Development Engineering and Surveying. The project was constructed by Len Honcoop Gravel, Inc. Project construction costs of approximately $550,000 were funded by a combination of local real estate excise tax revenues, a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology, and a federal EPA grant.

This is the third major water quality improvement project in the Silver Beach Creek watershed by Whatcom County Public Works in the past three years. This work to reduce pollutant loading into the lake is part of a coordinated effort by Whatcom County, the City of Bellingham, and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District to improve water quality in Lake Whatcom.

Project Details
  • Jurisdiction: Whatcom County
  • Contractor: Len Honcoop Gravel, Inc.
  • Final Construction Cost: $550,000
  • Completion Date: October 2012
Project Area
The West Tributary is located in the Brownsville neighborhood in the Silver Beach Creek sub-basin of the Lake Whatcom Watershed.

Project Manager
Kirk Christensen, P.E.
Stormwater Manager
Whatcom County
Phone: (360) 778-6297

 Project Map

Erosion in West Tributary creek bed prior to construction
Bio-infiltration swale
Creek bed with logs