Public Works-Natural Resources staff
- Provides technical and scientific assistance to other county divisions
- Collaborates with local, tribal, state, and federal agencies and citizen groups working to restore salmon in Whatcom County
Salmon Recovery Plan
- Guides restoration in the Nooksack River and adjacent watersheds.
- Was developed in partnership with Nooksack Tribe, Lummi Nation, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, City of Bellingham, and the small cities of Whatcom County.
- Prioritizes chinook salmon populations listed as threatened with extinction under the Federal Endangered Species Act.
- Is a template for recovery of threatened steelhead and bull trout and the other salmon and trout populations native to Whatcom County.
322 N. Commercial Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
- The WRIA 1 Salmonid Recovery Plan was developed in parallel with the WRIA 1 Watershed Management Plan.
- Salmon habitat is intricately linked to watershed management.
- Salmon recovery will be most successful when fish habitat objectives are carefully coordinated with watershed management objectives.
Implementation occurs under the guidance of the WRIA 1 Salmon Recovery Board consisting of:
- Whatcom County Executive
- City of Bellingham Mayor
- Whatcom County Small City Mayors
- Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Regional Director
- Lummi Nation and Nooksack Indian Tribe policy representatives
In addition to collaboration with other restoration partners, Natural Resource staff work with other divisions of Public Works and private landowners to accomplish salmon recovery projects. Integrating salmon recovery with flood hazard management and restoring fish passage under County roads are two primary areas of focus.
Salmon Recovery Projects
Acme Early Chinook Project
- Log jams were installed along the left bank of the South Fork Nooksack River.
- Deep cool pools were provided for adult South Fork spring Chinook to hide in prior to spawning.
- Juvenile salmon also find refuge and places to feed during all seasons.
- A secondary objective was the stabilization of an eroding bank.
- Riparian vegetation are re-establishing to naturally stabilize the bank in the future while protecting the land behind it from erosion.
Valley View Culvert
- This project was identified in the 2006 WRIA 1 Fish Habitat Barrier Inventory.
- A Joint effort with Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Impassable culverts blocked fish access to upstream spawning and rearing habitats in a Dakota Creek tributary.
- These blocking culverts were replaced by a much larger culvert:
- Interior baffles allow the pond upstream to be maintained for Coho Salmon rearing.
- Steps are formed that allow Coho and other salmon to easily navigate the culvert to reach upstream habitats.
- The WRIA 1 Salmon Recovery Program website provides information on projects, funding, and technical assessments.
- The Washington State Salmon Recovery Portal provides an interactive map and options to search for completed, active, and future salmon recovery projects in WRIA 1 and throughout the state.
- For more information about salmon recovery in Whatcom County, contact John N. Thompson, ESA Coordinator.
- The South Fork Seasonal Watercraft Closure Handout provides an overview of the 2023 ordinance passed to protect Chinook salmon.