According to the City of Bellingham’s 2014 Stream Monitoring Report:
“The status of Bellingham’s urban streams for the period ending in 2014 is mixed. Only Hanna Creek was able to meet all Department of Ecology standards ensuring the highest water quality.
In line with historical trends, Chuckanut Creek and Pad-den Creek at 38th St. displayed good overall water quality, while most of the Padden Creek drainage, two of the Whatcom Tributaries (Lincoln and Fever Creeks) and the mouth of Squalicum Creek displayed the poorest overall water quality.”
The following creeks are listed as impaired for one or more of their uses:
Chuckanut, Padden, Connelly, Whatcom, Hanna, Cemetery, Lincoln, Fever, Squalicum, Baker, Mill Wheel and Silver Beach.
The following creeks have active TMDL’s (total maximum daily load, which means a water quality study is being (or has been) done so that a water quality improvement plan can follow): Padden, Connelly, Whatcom, Hanna, Cemetery, Lincoln, Fever, Squalicum.
This underscores the need for better environmental protection, which is why the Critical Area Ordinance is so important. The way in which we protect our critical areas impacts the health of water downstream. For example, small wetlands were found to have large impacts on downstream water quality, yet staff wants to exempt certain small wetlands from buffer requirements. This also reflects economic injustice. The worst water quality problems, by far, were found at Fever Creek, which runs through the city’ lowest income neighborhood, and the one with higher than average minority populations.
It is important for average citizens to read these kinds of documents so that problems, discrepancies and questions can be raised. For example, why does page 6 of this report reflect that habitat restoration has been completed for the section of Whatcom Creek in the Maritime Heritage Park estuary? As I have documented and many of you have seen, the city actually removed vegetation and destroyed a habitat corridor connecting fresh water to salt water to discourage homelessness, and recently, explained this to city council as a wonderful effort to open up view corridors to the creek. You can not have it both ways, but boy, COB certainly tries.
And that is why clear, strong regulatory requirements need to be enacted and reflected in the CAO.
I attempted to upload this report, but it was too large and FB would not allow me. However, you can link to it on this page: https://www.cob.org/services/environment/water-quality/urban-streams-monitoring.aspx
And here is a link to go straight to the report: https://www.cob.org/documents/pw/environment/water-quality/2014-urban-stream-monitoring-program-report.pdf