Watershed Restoration

Skookum Edfro Phase 3

Skookum Edfro Restoration Project phases. Flow is from right to left. Letters denote the locations of photos shown below.Skookum Edfro Restoration Project phases. Flow is from right to left. Letters denote the locations of photos shown below.

The overall goal for this project is to engage stakeholders in developing a design concept that restores salmon spawning, rearing, and holding habitat in the South Fork Nooksack River from river mile 12.8 to 13.9. This design should result in self-sustaining salmon runs at harvestable levels, and increased flows in the channel and available floodplain to reduce flooding to downstream properties.

Flood Risk

Results of a recent Climate Impacts Risk Assessment show that there will be more frequent and intense floods in the future. The recent flooding throughout Whatcom County highlights the need to reduce flood risk for properties in flood prone areas.

This river needs your help.South Fork Nooksack River at river mile 13.15 looking downstream. The project reach is low-gradient with high quality chinook salmon spawning, rearing, and holding habitat potential. Location A on map.
Riprap and homogenous instream habitat, but has excellent floodplain potentialJagged boulders along the edge of the river (sometimes referred to as riprap) form homogeneous in-stream habitat, but there is excellent floodplain potential in this location. Location B on map.

Chinook Salmon

The South Fork Nooksack River is home to three species that are listed as threatened on the Endangered Species List: chinook, steelhead, and bull trout. Habitat degradation is the leading cause for the decline of WRIA 1 (Nooksack Watershed) salmonid populations (WRIA 1 2005). A recent die-off of over 2,500 South Fork Nooksack early Chinook in September 2021 illustrates the severity of the habitat problems that are now being exacerbated by climate change. Most of the mortalities occurred in the project reach (LNR 2021), highlighting the need for habitat restoration. The photo below was showcased on a 60 Minutes segment (the Vanishing Wild) that aired on January 1, 2023 (0:30 to 3:00 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TqhcZsxrPA or 15:15 to 18:05 at https://www.cbsnews.com/video/60minutes-2023-01-01/#x)

Adult chinook mortality event. September 2021Adult chinook mortality event. September 2021. Location C on map.
Here are several dead chinook as seen from an overhead drone. Location C on map.Here are several dead chinook as seen from an overhead drone. Location C on map.

Update 2022: Lummi Nation Response to Chinook Mortality Event

The root cause of the mortality event is severely compromised habitat function from legacy and ongoing degradation and alteration.The root cause of the mortality event is severely compromised habitat function from legacy and ongoing degradation and alteration.

Community Engagement

The project team is deeply committed to working with and engaging stakeholders through the duration of this project.

Engagement opportunities include:

  • Participation in Acme-VanZandt Subzone - LNR and Veda introduced the project at the January 19th, 2022 meeting.  
  • Frequent communications provided via a Listserv and updates to this website,
  • presentations and in-person meetings with landowners, stakeholders, and established forums, 
  • Two stakeholder meetings to share results of technical work and gather input from community members, 
  • Community workshop #1 was held on November 15, 2022, at the Acme Presbyterian Church from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Meeting notes and the presentation links at the top of this page. The team introduced existing conditions and solicit feedback to select the preferred alternative. We were excited to see the interest that the attendants had in this project. Many of the community member's requests are currently being addressed are also linked above, including Lummi Nation response to the mortality event.
  • Other group and individual meetings. The team has met individually with one landowner and will continue to do so per request.

Stakeholders will have opportunities to weigh in on various topics, including but not limited to:

  • the scope and scale of the problems the project is intended to address,
  • prioritization approach and criteria for design alternatives, and 
  • the preferred design alternative.

FUNDERS

  • Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office - Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB)
  • Whatcom County PUD
  • Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

PARTNERS/SPONSORS

  • Lummi Nation, supported by Herrera Environmental Consultants and Triangle Associates
  • Salmon Recovery Staff Team 
  • Nooksack Watershed Staff Team
  • Whatcom County Public Works 
  • Whatcom Land Trust

For more information, please contact Alex Levell: alexl@lummi-nsn.gov

Upper South Fork Nooksack River Effectiveness Monitoring Report