BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A dam that diverts river water to Washington state's Lake Whatcom will be removed next year as part of a project that aims to restore salmon habitat.

The Bellingham Herald reported Monday that Bellingham's dam on the Middle Fork Nooksack River has been diverting water since 1962 to supplement the city's main source of drinking water.

Bellingham project engineer Stephen Day said the system that pulls water from the river will be redesigned and moved upstream after the dam is demolished.

RELATED: Dam projects on Washington rivers will restore miles of salmon habitat

Removing the dam will open up 16 miles of historic habitat for salmon in clean cold water flowing from Mount Baker.

The Middle Fork Nooksack River Fish Passage project aims to restore access to spawning and rearing habitat for endangered chinook salmon and steelhead and bull trout.

Day said the state has set aside $10.5 million for the more than $16 million project.