Watershed focus: our T1 sample site – in flood

T1 focus

We have ten sites we sample regularly for fecal coliform as part of Whatcom County’s monthly monitoring program. The one labeled ‘T1’ is just upstream of where Ten Mile Creek flows into the Nooksack – specifically, at the Barrett Road bridge. Data from this site indicate the overall water quality for the Tenmile watershed. Other major tributaries, like Bertrand & Fishtrap creeks, also have sample sites at their mouth, which all help provide a summary view of the lower Nooksack watershed quality.

Because T1 is so close to the river, in an area with little slope, it floods when the river rises – as it has this week. After recent steady rains, this photo from Friday (11/2), looking north across the bridge, clearly demonstrates the ‘close’ relationship between river & creek. With water actually flowing up-stream from the Nooksack, there is no use in collecting this day’s water sample, since it would duplicate the County’s separate sample drawn just up-river.
Thanks to our usual man on the scene for the un-usual scenic blue-sky view!T1 sample site

Guest speaker at our Nov. 14 Members Meeting: Dr. Sandra Matheson

Save the date! We are pleased to have Sandra coming to our next meeting to talk about her family’s local beef operation, Matheson Farms. We will have announcements in local media and hope to have a good turnout. Don’t miss it!
See location information here and contact us if you have any questions.sandra_event5 postcard
Sandra is a life-long farmer, educator, filmmaker, author, speaker, active grandmother and retired veterinarian. She is also an Accredited Consultant/Field Professional in Holistic Management and a certified consensus facilitator. She serves as the president of Roots of Resilience and Managing Change Northwest; has co-authored the book The Art and Science of Success; and is a co-founder and past president of the North Cascade Meat Producer’s Cooperative.

Septic awareness – on Facebook!

Here’s another TCWP member benefit: FB news without messing with Facebook!
The septic awareness crew at County public works has been upping their ‘outreach’ game, using social media to encourage septic system owners to keep up to date with maintenance. Last month they ran a series of posts with clever, attention-grabbing tag lines – see below for a couple examples (here are the links shown: septic info; and rebate program.)

Reportedly, these have been working – not so much because people love the county’s FB page; mostly it’s because of how news spreads once it gets re-posted a few times. So, do your part – either with FB, or with reliable original technology: spread the word in the neighborhood!


Chickadee: a lesson in the value of water

A member living near Ten Mile creek describes a recent wildlife encounter:

Black-capped Chickadee Adult

“Weeks before the rains came back, a chickadee made it clear that I had not been keeping a 5 gallon bucket adequately full of water. The cedar this chickadee lives in, with many others, also shelters trees I had healed-in for later planting. I was using the bucket to help maintain humidity.

The chickadee arrived as soon as I did, landed on the lip of the bucket, then loudly and repeatedly announced that the water level was too low for easy access, while alternately dipping and glaring at me. I filled the bucket and have kept it full ever since. I have not been lectured again.”

Image credit: © Scott Martin | Macaulay Library
Massachusetts, February 03, 2017

Did you know? – Tenmile on social media!

No, we’re not using Facebook; or Instagram; or Twitter (gosh, no). But from our friends we are getting help trying to reach Tenmile residents on NextDoor.com, where there are 653 residents in three NextDoor neighborhood groups that overlap our watershed. Here is an example, a post last week that promotes an upcoming WCD event highlighting assistance for farm operations preparing for ‘mud season’. Spread the word!

Whatcom Water Week!

Plan ahead now! See the events page here for details. There are many activities planned throughout the week, including these that may be of particular interest:

  • County Septic System Homeowner Training: Sep 20, at WECU Education Center, 5659 Barrett Ave, Ferndale. Registration required by calling (360) 778-6000; for details contact James Hayes, environmentalhealth@whatcomcounty.us
  • Bellingham SeaFeast: Sep 21 & 22; For event schedule & information see www.bellinghamseafeast.com

Meeting with County Public Works

We had a meeting today with County Public Works and WCD staff to talk about septic systems – or in tech-speak, On Site Sewage (OSS) systems. We shared ideas and data that we all had, and how to coordinate our strategy for summer sampling efforts, and outreach that will be increasing through the rest of this year. Summer is a key focus of our own group’s sampling, since stormwater runoff is minimal, which increases the possibility that fecal sources may be coming from septic systems.

WCD Work Session 6/7

We joined multiple Tenmile stakeholders and WCD staff for a 2-hour work session on 6/7 to explore options for how to focus our watershed outreach activities. This is the beginning of long-awaited activity after a long period of WCD preparation begun last fall with the National Water Quality Initiative and the county-wide social survey. Can’t wait for the next steps!