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Ecology seeks input on proposed Bellingham Costco wetlands plan

The future site of proposed retail, including a new Costco, off Bakerview Road is shown Oct. 9, 2013 in Bellingham.
The future site of proposed retail, including a new Costco, off Bakerview Road is shown Oct. 9, 2013 in Bellingham. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

There is one week left to comment on Costco’s plan to make up for wetland impacts from a proposed new store off West Bakerview Road.

Through March 4, the state Department of Ecology has asked people who are interested to comment on the wholesale store’s proposal to mitigate the impacts of building over wetlands at the site. The new store will be located east of Pacific Highway on the north side of Bakerview.

Part of the site closest to Bakerview currently has scattered buildings, mobile homes, and “dilapidated ‘double wide’ modular homes,” according to Costco’s permit application.

“Trash and debris are found throughout most of the site, including large quantities of tires, old plastic quart oil containers, discarded farm equipment and piles of old diapers in and around Wetland F, which abuts the dilapidated double wide locations,” the application reads.

To make up for the loss of those wetlands, Costco plans to restore wetlands on two parcels it bought from the city just off Northwest Avenue.

The city still will own the parcels, but Costco, which paid nearly $500,000 for them, will be responsible for maintaining them.

Costco’s plan would create slightly more wetlands than would be impacted by building the store, as well as enhance existing wetlands, resulting in a total of 9.4 acres of highly functioning wetlands, according to the permit application. Costco also purchased Lummi Mitigation bank wetlands to offset impacts.

The plan also would restore about 960 feet of a stream channel for the Bear Creek tributary. Bear Creek is one of two large tributaries for Silver Creek, which most of the proposed Costco site drains into to the north.

The application materials can be found online at ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/fed-permit. Click on “Northwest Region” then “Northwest Region Public Notices.”

Comments can be sent to Department of Ecology-SEA Program, Federal Project Coordinator, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504 or ecyrefedpermits@ecy.wa.gov.

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