Cain Creek

Cain Creek Outflow_cropped

Blaine Public Works Department is working to improve water quality in local waters with a two year grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology, with a focus on Cain Creek. Read on to learn more about this study/program and how you can challenge yourself, your friends and neighbors to help in the effort. Let's keep our waters clean and safe for recreation, shellfish harvest and fishing!

Blaine Clean Watershed Challenge 


Historically, Drayton Harbor has been a productive commercial, tribal and recreational shellfish growing area, however, pollution from fecal bacteria has disrupted safe harvest back to the 1950s. In 1988, portions of the area were closed to harvest; the entire harbor was closed by 1999. While the Washington State Department of Health upgraded 575 acres to Conditionally Approved, seasonal closure remains from November through January.

Ecology's 2008 Total Daily Maximum Load (TMDL) study of the Drayton Harbor watershed indicated that Cain Creek requires up to 95% fecal bacteria reduction to meet water quality standards for shellfish harvest and recreation. Past studies conducted by Hirsch Consulting Services, LLC (HCS LLC) identified human fecal biomarkers in Cain Creek.

The aim of the Drayton Harbor/Semiahmoo Bay Water Quality Enhancement project is improved water quality in Cain Creek and Drayton Harbor to restore safe shellfish harvest and recreation. Components include: water quality monitoring, identifying corrective actions, system improvements, raising and sustaining local awareness and building capacity to continue water quality improvement. Sewer collection lines within 100 feet of Cain Creek will be inspected by video camera and corrective actions will be addressed as needed. Implementation planning and program development will address longer term action items such as city wide sewer line inspection, pollution prevention and potential creek corridor restoration consistent with Blaine's Cain Creek Park Plan. Pet waste stations and signage will be installed at selected locations.

The Salish Sea Watersheds Challenge used in Blaine schools as part of the Garden of the Salish Sea Curriculum, is extended to a Blaine Community Watershed Challenge asking residents to practice watershed healthy habits. Community informational events are described in a project brochure that is being sent to Blaine residents with the February utility billing. The first event, a neighborhood meeting was held at the Blaine Public Library on March 4, from 6 to 7 PM as per the event flyer.

Through a competitive process, the Blaine Public Works Department has hired a consultant team to assist with project implementation. Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) is the prime contractor, joined by Hirsch Consulting Services, LLC (HCS, LLC) from Bellingham and Environmental Science Associates (ESA) of Seattle.

  1. Background
  2. Events
  3. Blaine Clean Water Challenge
  4. Study Results
  5. Cain Creek Clean Up Day