Report from Laurel Feed Customer Appreciation Day

OLauel Feed imagen May 11 some of our members set up our new information display at the Laurel Farm & Western Supply, on West Laurel road, for their annual customer appreciation day. This is one of the most popular spring events in the area, with many attractions for the family.

Laurel feed May 2019 -2



On a warm & sunny day, hundreds probably visited at one time or another – the kids may have outnumbered parents by 3 to 1. It’s hard to beat pony rides, farm animals and hundreds of trout to be caught!

Laurel feed May 2019 -3

Still, with our partners at the Whatcom Conservation District, we were able to talk with residents, and learned more about issues related to water availability and quality in both stream & ground water in the Deer Creek watershed (tributary to Ten Mile Creek.)

Laurel feed May 2019 -1

Photos: blockbuster Earth Day event!


Thanks to great planning, perfect spring weather and a superb site on Ten Mile Creek, the planting event on April 20th was a great success! We had almost 200 volunteers out to plant more than 500 trees & shrubs.

IMG_20190420_102902724With willing landowner support, our co-sponsors Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) and Whatcom Conservation District (WCD) had everything ready to go to plant out the north/east banks of the creek at this site just east of Reither Elementary School, where NSEA had planted the west bank years ago, now nicely maturing and shading the creek.


As a co-sponsor, we had our TCWP information display set up for the day, and greeted each arriving group of volunteers with a brief introduction about our organization and what we do. The display enabled further conversations throughout the morning.
It was a great day!IMG_20190420_111438128


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.

Evaluate image

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‘.