A project to reroute Squalicum Creek away from Sunset Pond in order to improve water quality and habitat has been named Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association.
In the summer of 2015, Bellingham work crews rerouted nearly a mile of Squalicum Creek around Sunset Pond into a newly created channel that provides better habitat for salmon and that supports other fish, birds, and mammals. The project also eliminated fish passage barriers along James Street and Interstate 5, opening up more than 22 miles of salmon habitat upstream.
“This project is anticipated to decrease water temperatures, improve dissolved oxygen levels, enhance biotic integrity, and benefit salmon habitat in Squalicum Creek by routing water flow away from Sunset Pond,” Renee LaCroix, Public Works assistant director and project lead, said in a press release.
Projects were judged on safety precautions to protect lives and property; efforts to minimize public inconvenience; protection of the environment, including special considerations given to particular environmental concerns; accomplishments in conditions over which there was no control; as well as construction management and safety.
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The Bellingham Herald