California Creek Estuary Park 2023 Addition
California Creek Estuary Park 2023 Addition
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Whatcom Land Trust facilitates the acquisition of 12 additional acres to the California Creek Estuary Park

This week Whatcom Land Trust (the Trust) transferred an additional 12 acres of conservation land to the Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2 (BBBPRD2) for expansion of the California Creek Estuary Park. This is the third contiguous parcel purchased by the Trust to facilitate acquisition by BBBPRD2. 

According to Ted Morris, Capital Projects Specialist with BBBPRD2, with this addition the park will protect roughly 900 feet of saltwater shoreline on Drayton Harbor and 1800 feet of freshwater shoreline along California Creek.

Whatcom Land Trust has prioritized conservation in the California Creek watershed for the last ten years to support critical habitat restoration and increase climate resilience.

Key conservation areas include the estuary and side channels of California Creek, which provide critical salmon rearing habitat, and the mudflats at the mouth of Drayton Harbor. The mudflats are designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA), providing migratory stopover habitat for shorebirds. By protecting coastal wetlands and estuary shoreline, the Trust is able to maintain critical wildlife habitat and conserve wetlands surrounding the estuary that provide a buffer from impacts of sea level rise. 

Additionally, Whatcom Land Trust has worked to restore coastal wetlands in the California Creek watershed by removing impervious surfaces, removing invasive species, and planting thousands of native trees and shrubs in critical habitat areas.

“Blaine-Birch Bay Park District appreciates the partnership with Whatcom Land Trust in order to acquire properties like this,” said Ted.

Whatcom Land Trust frequently works with county and local governments to assist in the acquisition of land with high conservation and public access value. 

“Partnering with the Blaine-Birch Bay Park District has been a great opportunity for Whatcom Land Trust to protect key wildlife habitat, water quality and recreation opportunities along Drayton Harbor and California Creek. Not only is California Creek a vital waterway for migrating and rearing salmon, but water quality impacts key shellfish harvesting areas for commercial, recreational, and tribal harvesting, ” said Alex Jeffers, Whatcom Land Trust Conservation Director.

Over the last year Land Trust staff and volunteers completed stewardship work including invasive removal and native plantings on the new parcel. 

Additional amenities at the California Creek Estuary Park will include an interpretive trail and kiosk, a picnic area, a kayak launch, and a ¾-mile loop trail. The park will also serve as a trailhead for the Bay to Bay International Trail.

The Trust is excited to help grow the California Creek Estuary Park, and looks forward to continuing the impactful partnership with BBBPRD2 to ensure public access and protection of critical habitat along California Creek.