Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Facility Project CRP #907001
The first 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."
Contingent upon Whatcom County Council approval in late 2013, major elements of the projects first phase (soft shore protection) include:
- 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.
- 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
- Preserve trees where ever possible
- Minimize cultural resource disturbance
- Provide amenities, signage, and landscaping
* Contingent upon council approval in late 2013