Chuckanut Creek drains an area of
approximately 7.2 square miles, originating in the Chuckanut Mountains south
of the city. The stream flows south, then west for approximately 6 miles
before emptying into Chuckanut Bay. There are 5 small unnamed tributaries,
one that flows south out of Cedar Lake. The Chuckanut Creek basin provides
approximately 8 miles of habitat for anadromous salmonids. According to
WDFW, Chuckanut Creek currently supports runs of chum and coho salmon, and
winter steelhead trout.
Spawning surveys have also documented occasional
adult Chinook salmon as well as sea run and resident cutthroat trout.
The bridge that crosses Chuckanut Creek in Arroyo Park is a great place to
observe adult salmon returning to spawn and juvenile salmon heading to sea.
This creek, with the largest natural run of chum in the city, is an exciting
place for visitors to catch a glimpse of salmon spawning in a natural
The majority of Chuckanut Creek runs through secluded backyards and a
pristine city park, thus the riparian area is relatively undisturbed
compared to other city streams. Chuckanut Creek is listed on
Washington State Department of Ecology’s 2004 list of impaired water bodies
for low levels of dissolved oxygen and high levels of fecal coliform
bacteria. The City of Bellingham collects data on water quality in Chuckanut
Creek each month as part of the