River & Flood

Response to 2021 Floods

Whatcom County has been working with numerous partners to respond to the devastating November 2021 Nooksack River floods and take action to prepare for future floods.

Assistance to Property Owners and Individuals

Elevation Flood Mitigation Grants and Voluntary Buyouts

One way to reduce flood risks is to work with willing landowners in high-risk areas to either buy their property or elevate their homes. We are working with the flood-impacted cities and have applied for over $30 million in FEMA funding through three different Hazard Mitigation Grant Program grants. This program will purchase properties in the areas with the most severe damage and that are in future potential floodways. Properties in adjacent areas will be suitable for elevation. In late winter and early spring 2022, we sent letters to 727 property owners in the areas where the most damage occurred during last winter’s flooding and received 90 responses. We are currently working through the grant process.

Whatcom Long Term Recovery Group

The Whatcom Long Term Recovery Group (WLTRG), in collaboration with the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office Division of Emergency Management, is working to provide coordination and recovery services to individuals, families, businesses and communities that were adversely affected by November 2021 floods.  Visit our Flood Recovery Information page for more information.

Infrastructure Repairs

Flood Infrastructure

We worked with partners to complete many emergency short-term repairs to levees damaged during the November 2021 floods. Additional longer-term repairs are underway in 2022 and 2023.

Transportation Infrastructure

We completed many emergency repairs these roads damaged by the November 2021 floods. 

  • Beach Ave on Lummi Island
  • Birch Bay Lynden Road
  • Drayton Harbor Road
  • Goshen Road
  • Mosquito Lake Road 
  • North Fork Road
  • South Pass Road
  • Truck Road

Flood Hazard Reduction

Everson Overflow Corridor or Everson Flow Split

As a result of the catastrophic November 2021 flooding, a new priority for flood hazard reduction was identified for the area upstream of Everson where water overflows the Nooksack River and flows north to Sumas, Abbotsford, and the Fraser River. A new planning team is working to evaluate flows and identify possible solutions. For more information, visit our FLIP Team Meetings page

Capital Projects

We continue to build capital projects that reduce flood hazards from the Nooksack River and other high flood risk areas. For more information visit our River and Flood Projects page

Flood Management Planning

  • Current Planning - Planning is underway to update the Lower Nooksack Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan.
  • Floodplain Management Who Does What?
  • A new bathymetric (water depth) survey of the Nooksack River is underway by NV5 Geospatial and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This survey will be used to update the lower river hydraulic model and provide critical information for flood management planning. 

Flood Preparedness and Initial Response

  • Learn more about how we prepare for and respond to floods
  • The U.S. Geological Service (USGS) is improving Nooksack River flow estimates using new technology, new gaging stations, and improved data. Improved flow estimates will make flood predictions more accurate and aid flood response.

International Cooperation

The Governor’s office is working with the premier of British Columbia on a Nooksack River International Initiative, with details expected later this summer. The State Department of Ecology is  supporting the Governor’s Office’s work on this initiative. The purpose of this work is to improve flood prevention and response across both sides of the border.