City awarded grant to naturalize Telescope Beach

Published on Wed, May 14, 2014 by Brandy Kiger Shreve

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Telescope Beach has come a long way over the past few years, but with broken concrete slabs marring the shoreline and inadequate access to the water, it’s still not quite where it needs to be for the public to fully enjoy it.

But thanks to a $50,000 grant from the state department of ecology (DOE) that was awarded to the Blaine parks and 
cemetery board that could all soon change.

“This was huge for us,” city planner Alex Wenger said. “It’s a non-matching grant, which means the city doesn’t have to put up an equal amount of funds to receive it and it gives us the ability to maintain the shoreline of Blaine Marine Park, which we haven’t had the funds to do.”

Wenger said the funds were awarded for their plan to naturalize the 400-foot stretch of shoreline on Semiahmoo Bay known as Telescope Beach. “Basically, it’s the area from the bench and apple tree to the telescope,” he said. “We’ll be reinforcing the headland there as well. It’s going to be a great little project.”

Wenger said workers will be very careful to work around the existing apple tree as they proceed with their naturalization, and his priorities for the project are to bury the broken concrete rip-rap and restack some of the rocks.

He also plans on trucking in rounded rock – 6 to 12 inches in diameter – which you would be likely to find on other beaches in the area. 

“It’s not going to be a white sandy beach,” said city planner Alex Wenger. “And there won’t be palm trees. But it will be more of a Pacific Northwest rock beach and we’ll be able to create a habitat area for crabs and surf smelt and other creatures.”

The project can proceed once the city obtains the required permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “It takes a few months to acquire these permits,” Wenger said. “We might be able to see this project constructed in the fall if all goes smoothly.” 

The shoreline permits will require a public hearing before the project can proceed.

Funding for the DOE grant came from the Terry Husseman account, which is part of the Coastal Protection Fund. The money is collected from penalties issued for water quality violations. 

“The coolest thing about this project is that we’re taking money from violators to build a cool shoreline,” Wenger said. “We’re committed to doing it now. It’s all systems go and I’m excited about it.”