NRCS presentation at our April 10 meeting

The Natural Resources Conservations Service (NRCS) sponsors the NWQI:NWQI logo plusFind information and materials from the presentation below.

At our April 10th meeting, Emily Usher presented “results from our local watershed forum last year, combined with results from five other watershed forums conducted across the country (NC, WA, VT, IL, and OK), and watershed-specific recommendations surrounding watershed management, resource needs & education/outreach.”

You can learn more by downloading her presentation (44 page Powerpoint here) and summary of results (2 page pdf here). Or contact us here for assistance.

County septic system homeowner training: April 24

This next opportunity to learn about your home septic system is Wednesday, April 24th, 6pm to 8pm, at the Ferndale WECU, 5659 Barrett Ave.

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With this training you will save money by being certified to evaluate your own system and have confidence knowing how your septic system works.

If your system is not eligible for homeowner evaluation or you simply don’t want to do it yourself, this class is still for you. The training covers the way septic systems work and provides tips for proper maintenance. You will leave feeling good about understanding how this expensive and important piece of your property works.

When you complete the training in person, you also qualify to apply for rebates on repairs or maintenance costs for your septic system. Learn more on the County’s septic system website here.




Neighborhood walk interrupted: why all the trash?


Aldrich trash #1

A member reports:

I was enjoying my morning walk recently, admiring the snow capped mountains of BC and our own Mt Baker – when I passed several ditches littered with trash and garbage bags, all in various stages of decomposing. What a bummer!

My first thought was “who would do this?!” It is hard to believe that some people don’t feel connected to the community. Don’t they realize that fouling the ditches has consequences? Do they not even live here, and drive from their neighborhoods to dump their trash?

The water in these ditches eventually flows to our creeks and to Bellingham Bay. These waterways are home to fish, and other wildlife depend on them for their water supply – as we all do. If you see trash, please clean it up if you can; or call Whatcom County Public Works at (360) 778-6400. These lovely people will come to the rescue if you call.

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Earth Day work party on Ten Mile Creek! – April 20th

On Saturday, April 20th, 9am-noon we are co-sponsoring this Earth Day volunteer work party on Ten Mile Creek, organized by Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) and also co-sponsored by Whatcom Conservation District (WCD.) EarthDayDesign FINAL-01 - compressed

Parking will be at Irene Reither Elementary School next to the site (954 E Hemmi Rd.) And, to celebrate the day, the first 200 attending will receive a free t-shirt with this special-edition design! Snacks & coffee are also provided. See the NSEA website here for more details.

We will be planting buffer trees and shrubs along Ten Mile Creek just north of E. Hemmi road, a section of the creek that will be site of a wider project by Whatcom County & WCD later this year.


Portage Bay harvest reopening! (for Spring)

This goal has been central to the mission of our work, and a very significant accomplishment for all those playing a part, large & small! Plenty of work remains, to ensure the Spring opening remains, and to remove the Fall closure next. Here is an excerpt from Whatcom County Public Works press release.

Portage Bay reopeningLummi shellfish

Reminder: WCD Election Day March 26th

WCD Election LogoIf you received a ballot by mail, be sure to post it in time to arrive by election day, Tuesday, March 26th.
Otherwise, on election day vote in person at the WCD offices, 6975 Hannegan Road near East Pole Road. Polls will be open between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm; stop by & visit with the friendly staff – they will be happy to see you!

There is one Whatcom Conservation District (WCD) Board position open for election in March. Summary information & links below are all from the complete WCD election website.

Mar. 11 Laurel WID meeting: a few tidbits

This arrived too late for our March 13th members meeting; so for those interested, here are some topics of common interest from the Laurel WID* meeting:

  • We invited WID members to our March 13 meeting for the FFA presentation, and the April 10 meeting for the NRCS-NWQI presentation.
  • Constructive group discussion about: disappointing autumn water quality results; challenges in assessing specific ‘problem’ observations; and how to best engage landowners on such issues.
  • Dept of Ecology staff: 113 Tenmile-area landowners will be receiving reminder post cards to encourage attention to good stewardship practices.
  • Update: collaboration continues on a landowner ditch-clearing project, near Tenmile Creek & Chasteen road.
  • Update: County staff will plan a meeting for us all to discuss considerations in transitioning residences on septic systems to a municipal sewage system.
  • Reminder: NSEA Earth Day planting event, part of another collaboration project: County road repair & Ten Mile Creek channel relocation at East Hemmi road.

* The Laurel Watershed Improvement District (WID) is one of six taxing entities in the lower Nooksack watershed, established to “participate in cooperative watershed management actions… for purposes of water supply, water quality, and water resource and habitat protection and management.” WID boundaries are set to include participating landowners. The Laurel WID covers a large part of the Ten Mile Creek watershed, but not all. We consider the WID to be an important partner; ‘we achieve more working together‘.

WCD election update: ballots are out!

There is one Whatcom Conservation District Board position open for election.
Ballots have been mailed
for those who requested one, so you should have it now – or soon. To be counted, all mailed ballots must be postmarked on or before election day, March 26. NOTE: not all mail is postmarked the day it is deposited with the post office due to changes to its mail-handling process. More information follows below.

WCD Election LogoIf you don’t have a mail-in ballot, you can still vote on election day, March 26th! 
Summary information & links below are all from the complete WCD election website.

  • Election-day voting: at WCD offices, 6975 Hannegan Road, Lynden. Polls will be open 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. Visit the office, meet the staff and cast your vote in-person!
  • Each Conservation District is governed by a board of five supervisors; see this page to meet current board members.
  • The two candidates in this election are: Theresa Sygitowicz and Valeri Wade (click on names for biographies.)
  • Further details about the rules & timeline – including voting in person – are on the election website.
  • If you have any questions regarding elections – including missing mail-in ballots – contact Dawn Bekenyi at or 360-526-2381 x 101.

Winter’s delight: Ice sculpture…

Our intrepid water quality sampling wizard was out on his usual rounds last week – in very unusual conditions. With temperatures in the teens and wind chill near zero, early morning on the creek was a bit intimidating. So what does he do? He pauses long enough to appreciate a bit of art offered up by the conditions – and cold fingers snapped some photos so we can join in admiration.

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So, while you are enjoying these, how about a little quiet appreciation for the many volunteer efforts that keep contributing in so many ways to the health of our waterways! It’s what we do….

p.s. If you would like to join in the fun, our next water sampling is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb 26th. Just get in touch here and we’ll get you all set up!