Study for Birch Bay shoreline project released
The Northern Light
After studying the possible impacts of the proposed Birch Bay shoreline enhancements, five Western Washington University (WWU) students have concluded the most serious effects will come during construction. The students completed an environmental impact assessment of the proposed Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Facility in a class at WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment. The assessment looked at numerous possible impacts of the project, which will remove beach groins and riprap, add a beach berm and pedestrian walkway on nearly the entire length of Birch Bay, and improve storm water treatment structures. The $10 million project is in the design phase, and Whatcom County Public Works officials say construction won’t start until 2014 or 2015. The 74-page impact assessment report is the product of WWU students Ellen Cole, Laura Higashi-Poynter, Ashley Hill, Rachel Morton and Brian Noel. The team spent five weeks this summer poring over documents, interviewing Whatcom County and state officials, and conducting site visits to produce the report.