Birch Bay Ecosystem

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Birch Bay is a beach ecosystem in Whatcom County with heavy recreational use from both US and Canadian recreation. Extensive armoring appears to have exacerbated coarsening and loss of beach over time. It is the site of the largest beach nourishment in Puget Sound.


  • right to left dominant drift, herring spawning and surf smelt spawning on south beach.
  • Site of the Birch Bay Beach Nourishment Project one of the largest beach nourishment
  • 1970s - Wolf Bauer developed beach restoration concept.
  • 2014-2020 - design, right-of-way acquisition.
  • 2020-2021 - beach nourishment construction
    • 105,000 yards of material
    • Total cost of 15.3 million
    • Major storm in Jan 2022 caused extensive damage outside the project area.
    • Monitoring of Surf Smelt by Lummi Nation and other organisms in year 1,3, and 5.
    • Monitoring of beach material and revegetation success by County to meet permit requirements.