Puget Sound Stream Benthos

Whatcom Creek Long-term Restoration Project, City of Bellingham

On June 10, 1999 an underground pipeline ruptured in Bellingham, Washington, releasing approximately 277,200 gallons of unleaded gasoline into Hannah and Whatcom Creeks. The gasoline was subsequently ignited, resulting in a fire which burned approximately 25 acres of riparian vegetation along the Whatcom Creek corridor. During this event, the fishery and aquatic resources of Whatcom Creek were severely impacted. A Long-term Restoration Plan was designed to determine the impacts of the spill on natural resources and identify measures that would be implemented to restore those injured resources. The goals for rehabilitation and enhancement center on addressing injuries by creating and improving salmonid habitat associated with Whatcom Creek. Monitoring activities associated with the Long-term Restoration Plan include macroinvertebrate sampling.

The objective of aquatic macroinvertebrate sampling on Cemetery Creek is to document colonization and survivorship by the macroinvertebrate community in reconstructed channels in the restoration site. To accomplish this objective, baseline samples were collected from Cemetery Creek in 2007, one year after completion of the restoration project. Sample collections have been repeated in successive years.

Sara Brooke Benjamin
(360) 778-7969

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