The Bellingham Waterfront is transforming beneath our very eyes. This land was once dominated by heavy industries that were largely inaccessible to the public. But now, spaces like parks and cafes are opening. Watch this short tour and learn about past industries and how the community is cleaning up their impacts!
This tour was originally hosted on September 15th, 2021 at Waypoint Park along the Bellingham Waterfront. North Sound Baykeeper Eleanor Hines gives you an overview of the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) process, which governs how Washington cleans up historically contaminated places. Then Pollution Prevention Specialist Kirsten McDade goes over some of the history of Bellingham Bay. Staff from the Port of Bellingham and the Working Waterfront Coalition give their perspectives on the renovation of the bay. Last, our Community Engagement Specialist Destiny will talk about what actions people can take in the future to help realize the revitalized waterfront that we all want.
This is part of our series of tours — virtual and in-person — of the 12 toxic cleanup sites on Bellingham Bay’s waterfront on its journey to becoming more connected to the community, salmon and local businesses.
The Bellingham Waterfront was a seat of industrial activity for more than 100 years, an era that ended with the closure of the Georgia-Pacific tissue mill in 2007. Industries left behind a legacy of toxic pollutants in the soil, sediment, and water — including mercury, nickel, dioxins, petroleum byproducts, and more. The shoreline was also physically altered by armoring off beaches, dredging up sediment, and filling in parts of the natural shoreline to build on.
This product is funded through a Public Participation Grant from the Department of Ecology.