With the right people and funding, it is incredible what can be accomplished in a year’s time. The South Fork Valley of the Nooksack River is critical habitat for spring Chinook salmon, as well as other endangered & threatened species. Thanks to the Washington State Conservation Commission Salmon Recovery Funding, Whatcom Conservation District, in partnership with the Nooksack Tribe, landowners, and local contractors has been able to make great strides in protecting this habitat. In 2023 alone, we were able to restore 66.5 acres of critical riparian habitat, restore 14,600 linear feet of stream, plant 46,002 seedlings in critical areas, and put $637,000 into the local economy. This restoration should help in the recovery of Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, Pink salmon, and Bulltrout.
All this work was funded through the Washington State Conservation Commission’s Salmon Recovery Program. This voluntary and streamlined program is designed for landowners who are interested in receiving support for planting riparian buffers. The program is designed with landowner needs in mind and aims to increase opportunities for citizen engagement and stewardship for the recovery of salmon in Whatcom County.
On Monday, August 21, Whatcom Conservation District had the honor of giving a tour of two of the major projects we implemented in 2023 for salmon recovery. In attendance at the tour was Senator Sharon Shewmake, Whatcom County Council member Kaylee Galloway, and PUD Commissioner Jamie Arnett. Other speakers on the tour were the landowners who put part of their land into conservation, Washington State Conservation Commission staff, Salix Cooperative representatives, Whatcom Conservation District Board members, and Whatcom County staff. The tour was a great success.
“Thank you so much for inviting me! I really enjoyed the tour! I grew up in a commercial fishing family and I worked in the fishing industry for a number of years, it’s really amazing to see the work being done to recover our salmon.” – Jamie Arnett, PUD Commissioner
Thank you to everyone who attended the tour. We are excited to see these newly established buffers grow, and we look forward to continuing salmon habitat restoration in Whatcom County into the future.