Thursday, February 12, 2015

You are invited to a forum - Bellingham Bay Habitat: Past, Present, and Future

Time: Wednesday Feb 25th, 7-9pm
Place: Bellingham Public Library Main Lecture Room, 210 Central St.

RE Sources for Sustainable Communities hosts an educational forum looking at the transitions of habitat in Bellingham Bay from pre-industry to today. Hear from experts on the history of Bellingham Bay, how development has impacted habitat over the years, and ongoing efforts to restore habitat in the Bay. Having a greater understanding of our Bay’s habitat in the past can illuminate habitat restoration decisions today. Learning about current habitat restoration projects is important for Whatcom County citizens interested in future waterfront redevelopment plans.

The evening will begin with a look at what Bellingham Bay was like pre-industry. Long before European settlement, Whatcom County was home to Northwest Coast Indians – the Lummi, Nooksack, Samish, and Semiahmoo – who harvested shellfish and fish from the area.  We will discuss which species and habitat were present, and how they helped people thrive in and around what is now Bellingham’s downtown waterfront.

Speakers from the City and Port of Bellingham will present on how some of the habitat that was lost through industrialization is now being restored. City of Bellingham staff will highlight several past habitat restoration projects, future plans for restoration, and talk about marine nearshore study results. The restoration plan at Little Squalicum Creek involves creating a pocket estuary at the mouth of the creek; removing a concrete culvert that has been a fish passage barrier; and restoring critical salt marsh habitat for salmon, shorebirds, and small mammals listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Port staff will describe efforts to restore habitat in Bellingham Bay, such as an estuary at Squalicum Creek and removing fish passage barriers at the mouth of this creek. The Department of Natural Resources has already removed a derelict pier and creosote pilings from the areas adjacent to the creek mouth. Restoration efforts aim to improve habitat for salmon.

Many of the Port and City restoration projects are priorities identified through the planning efforts of the Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot, A multi-agency initiative coordinating Bellingham Bay cleanup, source control, habitat restoration and land use projects.

The evening will conclude with a panel Q & A about habitat and habitat restoration in Bellingham Bay.

Hosted by RE Sources Clean Water program, using science, policy and education to reduce pollution and toxics in the Salish Sea and its uplands. 

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