The Glacier-Gallup Creeks Alluvial Fan Restoration Project is a collaborative project between Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District (FCZD) and Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Improvements to the levee system are being planned in coordination with a bridge replacement over Glacier Creek. Community meetings and close coordination with affected landowners will occur throughout the project to convey technical information and receive feedback from the community.
The project is in the first phase of a multi-phase effort. Phase one includes:
A public meeting was held in 2019 to introduce the community to the long-term project and gain feedback. A second community meeting will occur in winter or spring of 2024 to review the proposed flood risk reduction and habitat options and gain feedback from the community for development of a preferred alternative for the project. A third community meeting is anticipated in summer or fall of 2024 to update the community on the outcomes of the workshop and the process taken for selecting the preferred alternative. Future phases will advance the preferred alternative for the levee system through detailed design and construction.
In addition to the selection and design of a preferred alternative for the levee system associated with WSDOT’s Glacier Creek Bridge replacement, FCZD also implemented a short term levee repair to address damage from recent flood events. The interim repair was completed in August 2023.
Highway 542 bridge over Glacier Creek.
Looking upstream along the Glacier Creek Levee about 1,000 feet upstream of Hwy 542.
Looking upstream at flood damage along the Glacier Creek Levee about 1,000 feet upstream of Hwy 542.
The project is located in the community of Glacier on the alluvial fans created by Glacier and Gallup Creeks. Highway 542 and many homes and businesses in the community are at risk of damage during floods. The highway crosses the alluvial fan with two bridge crossings over Glacier and Gallup Creeks. A levee on Glacier Creek and non-engineered berms on Gallup Creek currently provide some protection to the highway and the community. However, the Glacier Creek levee constricts the creek, increasing the energy in the channel which causes bank erosion and damage to the levee. Moreover, the constriction typically leads to upstream sediment build-up which, over time, may reduce the channel capacity and may lead to further erosion or avulsions which is when a creek jumps out of its natural banks.
The highway, levee, and berms have also disrupted natural alluvial fan processes and damaged critical salmon habitats. WSDOT is planning to replace the highway bridge over Glacier Creek and is currently seeking funding for the bridge replacement. If funds are secured, the earliest construction would occur is 2027. The new Glacier Creek bridge will be joined with the recently-constructed Gallup Creek Bridge to create a full span bridge across the two creeks and a significant portion of the alluvial fan between them.
Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District