Current Planning 

Nooksack River Floodplain Improvements Videos

This video series follows local resident Gavin Willis as he learns about integrated floodplain improvement in the Nooksack River basin. Tag along to see initiatives being taken by landowners, witness examples of partnerships through the Floodplain Integrated Planning (FLIP) process, and hear about actions being taken to find solutions.

View the River & Flood Video Series

Integrated Floodplain Planning Event Recording

The Whatcom Watersheds Information Network (WWIN) and Whatcom County hosted a virtual speakers event on the Floodplain Integrated Planning Process. The event provided information on how this process will guide future work to reduce flood risk, recover salmon populations, and improve the resiliency of floodplain agriculture and floodplain communities in Whatcom County.

View the recording and other WWIN Speaker Series

Lower Nooksack River Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan (CFHMP) Update

The Lower Nooksack River Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan (CFHMP) provides detailed recommendations for flood hazard reduction strategies and projects along the lower Nooksack River. The Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District adopted the CFHMP in 1999 and is currently working to update the plan and integrate flood hazard reduction strategies with the needs of salmon and agriculture. The River and Flood Division has established a Floodplain Integrated Planning (FLIP) Team to assist in updating the plan.

Floodplain Integrated Planning (FLIP)Team 

FLIP Progress Update November 2022

The FLIP process provides the framework for achieving the integrated floodplain management goals for the Lower Nooksack River and its floodplain.

  • Reducing flood risk 
  • Recovering salmon populations 
  • Preserving cultural resources 
  • Improving the resiliency of floodplain agriculture and communities 

The FLIP process began in 2017 and is an ongoing collaborative effort among the County, the tribes, and many stakeholders. There is not an anticipated completion date for the Updated CFHMP at this time.  

The FLIP team includes representatives from:

  • Flood Control Zone District and sub-zone districts advisory committees
  • Diking and watershed improvement districts 
  • Federal, state and local agency staff 
  • Local tribes
  • Small cities within the floodplain
  • Technical experts

FLIP Steering Committee

The FLIP process is led by a Steering Committee with representation from the Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District (FCZD), Lummi Nation, Nooksack Indian Tribe, Ag Water Board, the cities in the Nooksack River floodplain, and the Washington State Department of Ecology. The committee embraces the Floodplains by Design principles of integrating multiple interests and applies them to the Nooksack River watershed.


The CFHMP includes four reaches on the river from Deming to Bellingham Bay and a fifth reach representing the Nooksack River overflow from Everson to Sumas (see map below). Planning work is organized by reach. Current planning efforts are focused on Reach 2 and on the Everson Flow Split vicinity, which includes lower Reach 4 and Reach 5. 

  • Everson Flow Split
  • Reach 1 (I5 in Ferndale to Bellingham Bay) 
  • Reach 2 (Guide Meridian to I5 in Ferndale) 
  • Reach 3 (Everson Bridge to Guide Meridian)  
  • Reach 4 (Deming to Everson Bridge) 
  • Reach 5 (Everson-Sumas Overflow)

Contact Us

  1. Deb Johnson, PE

    Project Engineer
    [email protected]

    322 N Commercial Street
    2nd Floor
    Bellingham, Washington 98225

  2. Paula J. Harris, PE

    River and Flood Manager
    [email protected]

    322 N Commercial Street
    2nd Floor
    Bellingham, WA 98225