Open house planned for Birch Bay berm project

bermBy Ian Ferguson

Anyone interested in the future of the Birch Bay shoreline will want to attend the third open house for the Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Facility Project.

The open house is on Saturday, February 6 at the Birch Bay Bible Community Church from 10 a.m. to noon.

Presented by the Whatcom County Public Works Department and a consultant team from Environmental Science Associates, the open house will include a presentation on the berm project and an opportunity for community input.

Some of the items to be presented include the project construction schedule, night work, drainage upgrades, right of way negotiations, environmental permitting, and how the Americans with Disabilities Act relates to the project.

The Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Facility Project is a county project to build a soft shore roadway protection berm with a pedestrian pathway and drainage upgrades. The project extends from Lora Lane in the south to Cedar Drive in the north. Construction is slated to begin this fall.

Flooding and erosion have been issues along Birch Bay Drive since the 1970s, when hydrologist Wolf Bauer first suggested that the creation of a soft shore berm would help restore the beach and protect the roadway. Bauer’s extensive study of the shoreline has been a roadmap for local advocates ever since, and after years of lobbying and preparations, the project is at the 90 percent design level.

Environmental Science Associates is the engineering firm hired to design the project.

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