Solutions for a better world

Bringing Padden Creek above ground after 120 years

Padden Creek Daylighting is a habitat restoration project of Bellingham Public Works that helps restore healthy water quality and habitat to the community for people, salmon, and wildlife. Restoration was funded by the City of Bellingham’s storm and surface water fund, with support from the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

In the early 1890’s, a half-mile of Padden Creek in the city of Bellingham, Washington, was routed into a tunnel to prepare for the construction of the Great Northern Railroad. The tunnel created a flooding risk and was a barrier for fish traveling upstream to spawn.

Today, more than 120 years later, Padden Creek is once again flowing above ground in a newly constructed channel.

Louis Berger’s Seattle team was contracted to restore the creek’s natural channel. The team coordinated with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Washington Department of Ecology to prepare the new channel’s construction.