Glacier-Gallup Creeks Alluvial Fan Restoration Project

Glacier-Gallup Creeks Alluvial Fan Restoration Project Vicinity

Contact Us

  1. Deb Johnson, PE


    Project Engineer
    (360) 778-6288
    djohnson@co.whatcom.wa.us

    322 North Commercial Street, Suite 120
    Bellingham, Washington 98225

Summary

The Glacier-Gallup Creeks Alluvial Fan Restoration Project is a collaborative project between Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District (FCZD) and Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Community engagement is vital to the success of this project. Community meetings and close coordination with affected landowners will occur throughout the project to convey technical information and receive feedback from the community. 

Project Update

The project is in the first phase of a multi-phase effort. The first phase includes community engagement, an existing conditions evaluation of Glacier and Gallup Creeks within the project area, development of concept alternatives for the levee system, an alternatives analysis, and selection of a preferred alternative. To date, the following components of the first phase have been initiated and/or completed: community engagement (on-going), existing conditions evaluation (completed – see Project Documents), and development of concept alternatives (in progress). Future phases will advance the preferred alternative for the levee system through detailed design and construction. 

In addition to the selection and design of a preferred alternative for the levee system associated with WSDOT’s Glacier Creek Bridge replacement, FCZD is also evaluating interim options for addressing existing damage to the Glacier Creek Levee. The damage area along the levee is located approximately 1,000 feet upstream of Hwy 542. The interim options will evaluate the risk/benefit associated with different interim repair options including a do-nothing scenario where the levee is not repaired until the longer-term project is implemented in 2026. If an interim repair is deemed necessary for risk reduction until the longer-term project of bridge replacement and levee reconfiguration can be implemented, a preferred interim option will be identified and then designed and implemented. The preferred interim repair option will be presented to the community at the public meeting in early 2022. 

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Project Overview

  • Status: Design - evaluating existing levee system, engaging affected landowners and the community, identifying options to modify existing levee system
  • Next Steps: Second public meeting in early 2022; selection of preferred alternative
  • Schedule: Construction anticipated in 2026 with WSDOT project to replace the Hwy 542 Glacier Creek Bridge. COVID-19 has delayed the project planning and design.

Project Benefits

  • Improve public safety for the community of Glacier
  • Reduce highway bridge maintenance
  • Reduce levee maintenance
  • Restore salmon habitat
  • Restore alluvial fan processes

Background

The project is located in the community of Glacier on the alluvial fans created by Glacier and Gallup Creeks. Highway 542 and many homes and businesses in the community are at risk of damage during floods. The highway crosses the alluvial fan with two bridge crossings over Glacier and Gallup Creeks. A levee on Glacier Creek and non-engineered berms on Gallup Creek currently provide some protection to the highway and the community. However, the Glacier Creek levee constricts the creek, increasing the energy in the channel which causes bank erosion and damage to the levee. Moreover, the constriction typically leads to upstream sediment build-up which, over time, may reduce the channel capacity and may lead to further erosion or avulsions which is when a creek jumps out of its natural banks.

The highway, levee, and berms have also disrupted natural alluvial fan processes and damaged critical salmon habitats. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is planning to replace the highway bridge over Glacier Creek in 2026 with a new bridge that will be joined with the recently-constructed Gallup Creek Bridge to create a full span bridge across the two creeks and a significant portion of the alluvial fan between them. 

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  2. Project Documents

Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District

Floodplains by Design