Citizeninput requested on Birch Bay’s stormwater plan

Published on Thu, Sep 22, 2005 by E. Steele-Friedlob

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Citizen input requested on Birch Bay’s stormwater plan

By E. Steele-Friedlob

Whatcom County, working closely with the Storm Water Management and Shellfish Protection Subcommittee of the Birch Bay Steering Committee, has awarded a contract to CH2M-Hill, one of the biggest environmental consulting/development companies in the world, to develop the first of its kind storm water management plan for the Birch Bay watershed.

This nine-month effort will result in an innovative, geologically appropriate plan to manage storm water runoff in the Birch Bay watershed, including cost-effective approaches to retrofit existing storm water drainage structures to meet the community’s rapid growth. The plan will also serve as a model storm water management plan for other Whatcom County communities.

The single most innovative feature of the process for developing the Birch Bay storm water management plan is the level of public involvement. To be effective this plan must be responsive to the storm water concerns of Birch Bay’s citizens.

One of the main concerns of the Birch Bay community is the preservation of recreational shell fishing. Good water quality from effective storm water management is necessary to maintain quality clam and oyster harvests as well as to assure the health of other wildlife that depends on the bay. Good storm water management also provides information and techniques for citizens to minimize erosion of property in vulnerable areas along the bay and related key areas.

To this end, a workshop will be held on October 1 as a means to inform and involve the community in the project.

This workshop will serve as a key baseline for developing an accurate plan tailored to the needs and sensitivities of the community and the Birch Bay watershed. To do their job effectively, C2HM-Hill needs citizens’ expert knowledge about their experience with patterns of flooding, runoff and erosion.

The following are issues that will be addressed during the workshop:
• Mapping the storm water landscape for Birch Bay
• Terrain and pertinent geology that contributes to runoff issues
• Key run-off patterns
• Old challenges; areas with historical record of problems
• New challenge areas
The workshop will also address such issues as :
• Mapping locations
• Frequency
• Consequences
• Neighborhood impacts
• Any observed mitigation
• New developments
• Key questions

The workshop is free and will take place Saturday, October 1 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Birch Bay Bible Community Church gymnasium, 7039 Jackson Road, Birch Bay. For more information, please call Kathy Berg at 371-0171 or Elie Friedlob at 371-3441.