Project team member listens to feedback from a local resident regarding the flood model for the project reach
Local residents provide their input at Community Workshop #1 on June 27th at the Acme Presbyterian Church
A citizen weighs whether or not to cross floodwaters rushing across SR 9 north of the Acme General Store. Credit: Whatcom County River and Flood
Adult chinook holding in an engineered log jam (ELJ) at the Hardscrabble Restoration Project Reach in the South Fork Nooksack River. ELJ’s and natural log jams create scour pools with complex cover, often with cooler temperatures, that are a refuge for adult holding and juvenile rearing. Credit: Nooksack Natural Resources
Local South Fork Nooksack Valley resident discussing recent erosion concerns to Nooksack Tribe Natural Resources Staff in 2017. Credit: Nooksack Natural Resources (Lindsie Fratus-Thomas)
“It’s in our hands”, juvenile salmonid captured during fish exclusion during ELJ construction on the Nooksack River. Credit: Nooksack Natural Resources (Lindsie Fratus-Thomas)
South Fork County Park. Credit: Whatcom County Parks and Recreation
Fly fisherman fishing on the South Fork Nooksack near Van Zandt 2009. Credit: Bellingham Herald
State Route Highway 9 floods regularly in the fall/winter during high flows in the Acme Valley. Credit: KGMI/Jake Hazel
Farmland in the South Fork Nooksack Valley. Credit: South Fork Nooksack River Watershed Community Watershed Project (Holly O’Neil)
Female Chinook salmon from the South Fork Nooksack River that died prior to spawning (known as pre-spawn mortality). Flavobacterium columnare (Columnaris) is a pathogen associated with high temperatures that has been confirmed as a cause for pre-spawn mortalities of salmon in the South Fork Nooksack River. Credit: Nooksack Natural Resources (Joe Rodriguez)
Flooding in the South Fork Valley 11/13/2015. Credit: Nooksack Natural Resources (Lindsie Fratus-Thomas)
The South Fork Nooksack (Nuxw7íyem) River Fish Camp (Ts’éq) Reach Integrated Design Project is a collaboration of the Nooksack Tribe and Whatcom County River and Flood to develop broadly-supported solutions to address community needs.
January 2021 Update: The project schedule has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Project Team has completed its assessment of geomorphic and hydraulic conditions and has now developed three Draft Design Alternatives. A virtual Community Workshop will be held on January 26th, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. Learn more in Community Workshop section below. For additional status information, please see the Project and Listserv Updates at the links below:
The overall goal for this project is to develop an integrated habitat restoration and flood risk reduction project in in the lower South Fork (SF) Nooksack (Nuxw7íyem) River. The project will focus on reducing flooding in the Acme Community and improving Chinook habitat in the SF Nooksack River upstream and downstream of Acme.
Although initially scoped to occur within the Fish Camp (Ts’éq) Reach from river mile (RM) 9.1 to 9.6, the Fish Camp Project Area was expanded downstream during concept development to RM 7.3 near the BNSF railway bridge. This was done to more broadly incorporate community input and conceptual elements with the potential to alleviate flood risk to the Acme community, to include concept zones and elements in areas where landowner willingness opportunities exist, and to address habitat deficiencies in the south fork downstream of Acme.
The major problems this project will address include negative impacts from flooding in the Lower South Fork Valley (Acme) and degraded habitat that strongly limits productivity of wild Nooksack spring Chinook salmon.
The project area presents a unique opportunity to develop integrated designs for flood risk reduction and salmon habitat restoration in the Lower South Fork Valley. Following in-depth conversations with stakeholders, the project team will work together with the community to develop multiple design possibilities (design alternatives) that will both reduce flood risk and improve habitat conditions for Chinook and other salmon. The selected alternative will be developed into a preliminary design informed by:
The final preliminary design may include floodplain reconnection to reduce risk in flood hazard areas, measures to increase stability and reduce erosion risk, and removal, setback or replacement (with wood) of bank armoring and placement of engineered log jams to improve Chinook habitat and promote recovery.
The draft design alternatives evolved from concept zones and ideas, which were developed with input from stakeholders during the first community workshop. You can view the Design Zones and Concepts document here. Using the Concept Zones and Ideas as a foundation, the Project Team went through an extensive process of modeling individual design elements in each zone, which were combined into three design options. The team modeled these three design options to analyze the river’s response to the combined effects of a variety of design elements.
The design team used the modelling results from the three options to form Draft Design Alternatives that show the greatest combined benefits for flood reduction, erosion mitigation, and habitat. More information on the Design Alternatives Development can be found here.
The purpose of the second community workshop is to share the three Draft design Alternatives along with the hydraulic modeling results for each, and to review the Alternatives Evaluation Criteria which will be used to select a preferred alternative.
Herrera Environmental Consultants
The Nooksack Tribe was awarded a Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office-Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) grant to develop a Preliminary Design for this project.
Please contact either of the project co-leads with questions.
Lindsie Fratus-Thomas, Watershed Restoration Coordinator
Nooksack Indian Tribe
Natural Resources Department
P.O. Box 157
Deming, WA 98244
(360) 592-5140 Ext 3135
Paula Harris, P.E., River and Flood Manager
Whatcom County Public Works River and Flood Division
322 N. Commercial Street, Suite 120
Bellingham, WA 98225
For information regarding engagement opportunities, to schedule a phone call, or to be added to the Listserv, contact:
Hello@VedaEnv.com (360) 812-0321