Squalicum Creek Re-route Phases 3 and 4

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Project Overview: EV-0148 and EV-0156

​​The Squalicum Creek Re-route Phases 3 and 4 habitat enhancement projects will build on two prior phases to address water quality and fish habitat impacts to Squalicum Creek by Bug Lake and surrounding development. Bug Lake, a man-made gravel borrow pit that was created during the construction of I-5, is currently the cause of the largest thermal-loading (i.e. heat) issues in Squalicum Creek. Because the pond is shallow and wide, it absorbs large amounts of solar heat, causing peaks in water temperature that are harmful to salmon.

This project involves restoring approximately 2/3 of Bug Lake to a forested wetland. The creek will flow through a historic channel south of the restored forested wetland, crossing under Squalicum Parkway in a new fish-passable culvert, and follow two remnant channels northwest to rejoin the current creek channel. ​

This project will:

  • Reduce stream temperatures;
  • Increase channel length, riparian cover, and riparian width west of Squalicum Parkway;
  • Restore riverine wetland to improve water quality functions; and,
  • Bypass a partial fish passage barrier at Squalicum Parkway.

Construction of this project is anticipated to begin in July 2020 and conclude in Decem​be​r 2020. Riparian planting will continue through February 2021. The most significant traffic impacts are expected for 2-3 weeks in July or August when Squalicum Parkway is reduced to one lane during the construction of a fish-passable culvert under the road. During this time, construction work will continue 24 hours a day, flaggers will be present and emergency vehicles will always be expedited. Beyond the culvert installation, there will be minor traffic impacts from an increased volume of haul trucks in the project area. ​

The Orchard ​Drive Extension, a new arterial under I-5 that will connect Squalicum Parkway with James Street and is in the same vicinity as this project, is scheduled to be built in 2021. This street will ultimately ease traffic congestion on Ellis Street and Sunset Drive around the hospit​al.​​

Status – February 2021

Accomplishments: Work is substantially complete on the project and the creek is open.

Next Milestone: Planting will be done in winter 2021.  

Virtual Tour of Project​ Construction

​This video was filmed September 2, 2020 by BTV Bellingham during the project’s construction. The video features Craig Mueller, Project Engineer, and Analiese Burns, Project Manager. 

Supporting Documents

Project Details​​

  • Status – Construction
  • Contract Awarded – 6/22/20
  • Contract Amount – $1,767,726
  • Contractor – Tiger Construction​​
  • Vicinity ​​Map


​Craig Mueller, P.E.
Project Engineer
Public Works Department, Engineering
(360) 778-7922, camueller@cob.org ​​

Analiese Burns, Project Manager
Habitat and Restoration Manager
Public Works Department, Natural Resources
(360) 778-7968, acburns@cob.org ​

Public Wor​ks Contacts​​​​

Participating Departments

  • Public Works

Affected Neighborhoods

  • Cornwall Park
  • King Mountain

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