Birch Bay Drive & Pedestrian Facility Project

​Update 12/1/16: Shoreline Permit Hearing postponed.

The Open Record Public Hearing for the Shoreline Permit has been canceled for Wednesday, December 7, 2016, at 1:40 PM, in the Council Chambers, Whatcom County Courthouse, 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham, WA.  

The Shoreline Permit Hearing will be re-scheduled to a future date in 2017.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and encourage continued monitoring of this website for future updates.

May 31, 2016 Council Update

Council Presentation Birch Bay Drive May 31, 2016

February 6, 2016

Open House No. 3 was well attended by over 130 people. The links below show the display posters used.
2.6.16 Meeting Agenda
Birch Bay Cross Section 90%
Const. Sequencing Schedule
Base Bid Core Project 90%
Construction 90%
Project Goals
Open House Announcement (English)
Open House Announcement (Spanish)

February 1, 2016

The 90% Level Preliminary Survey and Engineering Plans are now completed. (To view click on the link located under Project Documents)

September 24, 2015

The 60% Level Preliminary Survey and Engineering Plans are now completed. (To view click on the link located under Project Documents).

June 6, 2015 Open House #2

Open House #2 for the Birch Bay Dr. & Pedestrian Facility Project was held from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at the Birch Bay Bible Community Church at 4460 Bay Rd., Birch Bay, WA 98230.

November 8th, 2014 Open House #1

The Open House #1 was well attended by over 100 people. The links below will show the display posters used and community input generated at the meeting. A second Open House is planned for late spring, 2015.

Display Posters - Open House #1

Open House Community Feedback - Open House #1

Project Documents

Open House No. 3

Open House No. 3

Open House No. 3

Open House No. 3 a

Open House No. 2

Open House No 2

Open House No. 1

Open House No 1
Water Breaking
Birch Bay Drive

History of Beach Reconstruction

The 1st recommendation for beach reconstruction along Birch Bay Drive was in September 1975 by renowned coastal hydrogeologic engineer, Wolf Bauer. Mr. Bauer provided a shoreline analysis with preliminary design elements for the Whatcom County Planning Commission. Whatcom County constructed a portion of the project in 1986. The continuation of the project has been an ongoing request of the community. The request was formalized in the 2004 Birch Bay Subarea Plan, adopted by the Whatcom County Council as a part of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan. The Subarea plan includes the Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Project as one of the top projects for the Subarea. It is described as the Beachfront Promenade:

"Working with the appropriate County and State agencies, retain a civil engineer for the final design of a promenade and a berm along Birch Bay Drive. Seek State and Federal funding for construction of the berm. Construct the berm and promenade along Birch Bay Drive."

Soft Shore Protection

Construction is planned to begin September 2017 with major elements of the project's 1st phase (soft shore protection) includes the following:
  • Project Limits: Lora Lane to Cedar Avenue, 1.58 miles
  • Remove the rip rap, sea walls, groins, and bulkheads along Birch Bay Drive and replace them with a "natural" soft shore beach; reestablishing the beach profile and improving flood protection for the roadway and adjacent structures; this will improve habitat functions and the currently disrupted natural littoral drift of the beach.
  • Replace and retrofit substandard stormwater facilities and out falls to improve water quality for this significant shellfish area.
  • Provide beach access and a pedestrian facility as a portion of the Coast Millennium Trail.
  • Project construction will be over two seasons; September 2017 - May 2018 and September 2018 - May 2019. These work windows were established to avoid construction during the summer high tourism season at Birch Bay and in-water work windows established by environmental permits.

Project Goals

  • Public Involvement
  • Minimize Disruptions & Disturbances
  • Shoreline Restoration
    • Improved habitat
    • Improved recreational access
    • Improved flood protection
    • Improved road preservation
  • Infrastructure Rehabilitation
    • Protect Birch Bay Drive with soft shore protection
    • Seawall replacement
    • Improved pedestrian facilities
    • Coast Millennium Trail connection
    • Improved storm drainage systems
  • Other
    • Aesthetics
    • Preserve trees where ever possible
    • Minimize cultural resource disturbance
    • Provide amenities, signage, and landscaping

Other Project Information