Cottonwood Neighborhood Water Quality and Stormwater Drainage Improvements

The Cottonwood Neighborhood Drainage Improvements Project was built in 2013.  Located near the intersection of Cedar Avenue and Birch Bay Drive, this project included a new stormwater conveyance system under Cedar Avenue, a bioswale to clean stormwater runoff from the Seaview Drive and Maple Crest area and eliminate a hazardous drainage confluence, and an improved near-shore drainage system on Birch Bay Drive. A bioswale is a type of low impact development water treatment facility where soil and plants remove pollutants from stormwater (see fact sheet for more information).  With the new system in place, the old "black T" outfall structure, which was prone to clogging, was removed.  

Engineering design for this project was completed by Reichhardt & Ebe Engineering of Lynden and Whatcom County Public Works.  Len Honcoop Gravel, Inc of Lynden was the contractor with a construction contract of $468,000.  This project was identified as a priority capital improvement project from the Birch Bay Comprehensive Stormwater Plan (CT 06). 

Project Goals:
  • Reduce the risk of flooding.
  • Improve water quality.
  • Address safety problems created by the old system.

Cottonwood Neighborhood Stormwater Improvements

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Water Quality Problems
Bacteria levels in the Cottonwood neighborhood creek have been measured monthly since 2006 and are about six times the level of the next highest creek flowing into Birch Bay.  This amount of bacteria represents a public health risk and makes improving water quality in the Cottonwood neighborhood a high priority.  BBWARM is working with Whatcom County Public Works and the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee to try to identify possible sources of bacteria.  We need the community's help to identify and remove possible sources of bacteria in the Cottonwood neighborhood creek. See the water quality fact sheet for more information on what you can do.    

water quality graph
BB8 is the water quality monitoring site for the Cottonwood drainage area.