Bring a Branch to Birch Bay

 Birch Bay Library  Comments Off on Bring a Branch to Birch Bay
Aug 242016

We are pleased to announce the completion of our first Free Little Library, as an introduction of the plan to Bring a Branch to Birch Bay. The Library Committee of the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce has a three-phase plan to accomplish this goal.

Bring a Branch to Birch Bay

Phase 1 – Little library boxes

Phase 2 – An express library, card entry space

Phase 3 – A full service, fully staffed library.

Please join us at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 28th at the Birch Bay Park, 7930 Birch Bay Drive (just north of the Visitors Information Center/CJ’s Restaurant) for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Help us help our community. Contact us at to learn how.

A Discussion with Carl Weimer, County Council Chairman

 Birch Bay Issues, Community, Politics  Comments Off on A Discussion with Carl Weimer, County Council Chairman
Apr 112014

Action in the South End

 Birch Bay Issues, Food  Comments Off on Action in the South End
Aug 192012

 Week after week this summer the Birch Bay Market at the corner of Alderson and the Drive has been gaining vendors and customers Friday through Sunday. The Pats (Alesse) and Nancy Firsdell have made this happen.
The August 4th weekend was the ultimate: Saturday was SnipFest – nine hours of music – to benefit, the emergency clinic that neuters dogs and cats. The magic behind this comes from Tammy Pearce and Dave Bucknell of the Bay Cafe, located across the road from the Alesse’s C Shop.
That’s Tammy holding the microphone. Last year SnipFest raised $4,000; Tammy expected the total to be well over $5,000 this year. The woman to her left is Nancy Firsdell, who did much of the work to attract 50 vendors. The band on stage is Black Out Alliance that drew in many of the other performers and closed out the show.
Both of the sponsoring businesses flourished and brought the action to the South End of the Bay once again.

Nosin’ Around for News

 Birch Bay Issues, Food  Comments Off on Nosin’ Around for News
May 102012

The new Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro will open in about a month in the building we know and love as the “Blue Fish.” This according to Mr. Yoon, the proprietor, who I met Wednesday evening. He was working hard and sweating from cleaning the place up but smiling as he pointed to the liquor license application on the door.
But the picture is bleak at the Beach House that many are wistfully calling Stefanie’s again. I’m hearing that, if new management doesn’t appear soon, the season will be lost. A former employee explained that when Wynstra folded the leasing company pulled out all the equipment and that will take time to replace.
Down the drive, the CJ Wijns space was purchased by ‘Grand Bay’ condo owners who are advertising for an operator. There, too, nothing is left – including that nice furniture.
Word is the golf course is an impossible situation because the high cost of water to keep the grass alive could never be covered by green fees.
Turning to the beach, we understand Birch Bay and Blaine have been separated in a petition by ReSources to require participation in stormwater permit requirements. There was consideration that Blaine does not have enough population to be included but that, we understand, has been resolved. This is a WIN for the folks who run the Blaine city government – Dept. of Ecology pressure will enhance their stature of having the 97th worst polluted body of water in the state.

Not so Much About Hurting Wallets…

 Birch Bay Issues, Environment  Comments Off on Not so Much About Hurting Wallets…
Apr 172012

… as about protection for business and home values in Birch Bay and improvement of water quality.

The petition to place legal controls on stormwater runoff by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities must be considered thoughtfully. What will be the economic results be if the Bay continues to be polluted;will recreational visitors and potential home buyers stop coming?

The petition to include Birch Bay and Blaine in the Western Washington Municipal Storm Water Permit, was produced by Lee First, prevention specialist, and Wendy Steffensen, lead scientist, of RE Sources. Here are excerpts:

“Birch Bay has also experienced shellfish growing area closures due to degraded water quality in Terrell Creek, the primary freshwater discharge to the bay. In 2003 the DOH [Washington State Department of Health] identified Birch Bay as a “threatened” shellfish growing area due to water quality degradation. In 1994, DOH noted the elevated bacteria levels in Terrell Creek as a potential threat to the shellfish growing areas adjacent to the mouth of the creek (DOH 1994). There is also 1 [sic] Category 2 (waters of concern) listing for fecal coliform, with additional listings proposed for fecal coliform and dissolved oxygen for the 2010 assessment. Again, it is likely that these parameters are associated with stormwater.

“Terrell Creek, which drains to Birch Bay, experiences low summer and fall flows, fish passage problems, and degraded instream and riparian habitat. Fish populations are declining in Terrell Creek. Poor water quality and low flows in the lower portion of Terrell Creek have been considered potential causes or contributors to fish kills in 2002 and 2007. The Terrell Creek water Quality Monitoring Report 2004-2009 concluded that temperature, DO [Dissolved Oxygent], and Fecal Coliform in Terrell Creek did not meet the WA State water quality standards for this freshwater creek (NSEA 2010).

“In response to the water quality issues, Whatcom County has established a shellfish protection district in Birch Bay. Ongoing monitoring by Whatcom County has shown that the majority of sites do not meet the standard for primary contact recreation and noticeable improvement has not occurred. (Whatcom County Public Works, 2010-2011)

“The Birch Bay UGA has the Birch Bay Watershed and Aquatic Resources Management (BBWARM) District, which is managed by Whatcom County Public Works. It is a self-taxing district that was established in 2007 to manage stormwater and address citizen concerns about water quality problems, flooding, and loss of aquatic habitat in the Birch Bay Watershed. The mission of BBWARM is as follows: To promote actions that reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff by decreasing the threat of flooding to private and public property and by improving and protecting water quality, aquatic habitat, and the quality of life that a healthy watershed provides. Despite the proactive efforts by this group and by Whatcom County staff, water resources in this area would be afforded more protections if the area was included under the municipal permit.“

BBWARM is a voluntary program. Some of the elements of the BBWARM program are similar to the requirements of the Permit. The requirements of the Permit are much more extensive. Some of the differences between what BBWARM accomplishes and what is required of permittees include, but are not limited to the following:
– The permit requires more extensive education and outreach,
– The permit requires an ongoing program to map, identify, detect, prevent, and track illicit connections,
– There are more stringent requirements for controlling runoff from new development, redevelopment, and construction than for BBWARM, and – Maintenance requirements, tracking, and reporting inspection of stormwater facilitities is more extensive for permittees than for BBWARM.”

Will the Whatcom County Council, which established BBWARM, agree?