"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect."
- Chief Seattle
Latest Water Quality Progress Report
The Birch Bay Shellfish Protection District was formed by the Whatcom County Council in 2009 after the Washington State Department of Health
(DOH) prohibited harvesting of shellfish in a portion of Birch Bay due
to risks to human health from pollution. DOH based their decision for
the closures on the water quality of Terrell Creek, one of the major
tributaries to the bay, and other aspects of the sanitary survey for
The closure area is a 670-yard radius around the mouth
of Terrell Creek. All shellfish harvest is prohibited here. In
addition, there are smaller closure areas near Club House Drive, Birch
Bay Marina, and Point Whitehorn.
Shellfish growing areas in the United States are
classified based on national water quality standards for fecal coliform
bacteria. Among other factors, water quality must meet certain
standards in order for people to be able to harvest shellfish from an
area. The estimated 90th percentile, which is a statistical
calculation, is one of the standards that need to be met. Learn more
about classification types and shellfish growing area classification.
There are ten sites in Birch
Bay that DOH uses to monitor marine water quality and to classify the
harvesting area. In addition, Whatcom County Public Works monitors 14
sites in the Terrell Creek watershed to assess fresh water quality, and the Marine Resources Committee collects data at 18 stations along the coastline.
The Birch Bay Shellfish Advisory Committee meets approximately once a quarter. Meetings are held in the Fire Station 62 Community Room,
9001 Semiahmoo Parkway, Blaine, unless otherwise noted. The public is
encouraged to attend. Summaries of previous meetings can be found on
the Meetings/Calendar page.