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Fish Passage Barrier, engineered culvert


Statement of Qualifications
Natural Resource Conservation
Engineering Services
Whatcom Conservation District


Organization Identification

Whatcom Conservation District
6975 Hannegan Road
Lynden WA 98264-9019
Tel. (360) 526-2381
Tom Slocum, PE
Washington Conservation Districts NW Region Engineer


Summary of Services

Whatcom Conservation District (WCD) offers civil and environmental engineering services for soil, water and habitat conservation projects in Whatcom County.  We work with private landowners, non-government organizations, drainage districts, and tribal and local government agencies to provide assistance with project planning, feasibility studies, engineering design, permitting and construction management on projects that help conserve natural resources.  In some situations, we also can assist in obtaining grant funding for project construction.

WCD, like all Washington conservation districts, is a political subdivision of Washington State.  Our engineering program is funded through grants from state agencies and project-specific funding sources.  We also work under inter-local agreements with local government agencies.  WCD’s engineering program works in coordination with and shares resources with our counterpart conservation districts in Island, San Juan and Skagit counties.

WCD’s engineering services program specializes in designing and permitting wetland and salmon habitat restoration and enhancement projects. Our recent projects have included:

  • stream channel design

  • removing culverts and small dams to improve fish passage

  • removing shoreline armoring and restoring natural beaches

  • modification of tide gates to allow tidal flow and fish passage

  • bioengineered stormwater management facilities

  • bioengineered bank and shoreline stabilization

For these projects, we typically carry out the following in-house engineering tasks:

  • basic hydrologic and hydraulic engineering evaluation

  • topographic surveying of channel profiles and cross sections

  • channel and shoreline geomorphologic field evaluations,

  • engineering design and cost estimating

  • preparation of permit applications

  • preparation of engineering drawings and construction specifications


Whatcom Conservation District Engineering Program

Selected Recent Natural Resource Conservation Engineering Projects

Cornet Bay Bulkhead Removal and Beach Restoration

North Whidbey Island, 2012
Worked with Deception Pass State Park, Northwest Straits Foundation and Island Co. MRC to design, permit and construct a project that removed 900 feet of creosote timber bulkhead and artificial shoreline fill at a popular park and replaced them with a gravel beach and landscaped backshore that resembled nearby natural “reference” conditions.  Included “daylighting” three small creeks from storm drains and building footpaths to improve public beach access.  Project cost approx. $200,000.

Beach bulkhead
Crescent Harbor Salt Marsh Restoration

Oak Harbor , 2007 - 2009
Worked with the Skagit River System Cooperative and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island to design and construct a suite of projects to restore tidal connectivity into approx. 200 acres of the Crescent Harbor salt marsh.  Projects included tidal channel construction, breaching of dikes, and rerouting utilities associated with the City of Oak Harbor’s wastewater treatment plant, which is located at the site.

Raised catwalk
Cottonwood Island Slough Reconnection

Skagit County , 2009 ongoing
Currently working on a Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board grant to complete engineering design and permit applications for reconnecting a relic slough with the Skagit River .  The objective of the project is to restore critical rearing habitat for out-migrating juvenile Chinook salmon.  The project involves coordinating inputs from technical consultants and from several, diverse stakeholder organizations.

Lake Terrell Dam Removal and Creek Restoration

Whatcom County, 2012
Worked with WDFW and the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association to restore fish passage and habitat for chum and coho salmon in Terrell Creek by removing a 1950s-era impoundment dam and constructing 600 lineal feet of new channel, a new water control structure, large wood habitat structures and riparian planting. Project cost approx. $125,000.

Dam removal
Orcas Recycling Services SWPPP

Orcas Island, 2014 ongoing
Worked with a start-up company that took over operation of Orcas Island’s solid waste transfer station and community recycling center to develop a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP).  The ongoing work has included operationalizing WDOE stormwater monitoring and reporting requirements, consolidating stormwater outfalls and designing operational and structural “best management practices” for reducing pollutants in stormwater runoff from the site.

Vertical Map
Whatcom DID#2 / Schneider Ditch Floodgate Retrofit.

Whatcom County , 2008
Designed and obtained construction grant funding for retrofitting two aging conventional floodgates with an innovative floodgate design that allows upstream fish passage while protecting surrounding agricultural land from flooding.  The design specified a proprietary “muted tidal regulated” control system that keeps the gates open at low water levels, but allows them to function as conventional floodgates when rising river stage backwaters the upstream channel.   Cost approx. $45,000.

Engineer installing fish gate
Howard Miller Steelhead Park Stream Channel Restoration

Skagit County, 2012
Worked with Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group and Skagit County Parks Department to design and permit channel grading and large wood habitat structures for reactivating a relict side channel of the Skagit River and restoring the channel of a tributary creek at a large county park. Project supported the goal of restoring ESA-listed Chinook salmon rearing habitat.
Project cost $273,000.

Human looking off of an ELJ
Island County Gov. Annex Building Rain Garden Retrofit

Coupeville, 2008
Using WDOE grant funding, designed and constructed a rain garden to treat and infiltrate runoff from a parking lot at the Island County Government Annex Building .  The project location outside of the county permitting office building serves as a high-profile example of “low impact development” techniques for improving stormwater runoff quality.  Project cost $20,000.

Rain Garden
Samish River Bioengineered Bank Stabilization

Skagit County , 2007
Worked with a private landowner to design, permit and construct an innovative bioengineered bank stabilization project along the Samish River .  The design featured floating large wood debris deflectors that dissipate flow energy against the bank as the river stage rises and falls.   Project cost approx. $10,000.

Excavator building infrastructure
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