South Fork Nooksack River Fish Camp (Ts'eq) Reach Integrated Design Project

Fish Camp Vicinity map 500pxl

The South Fork Nooksack River Fish Camp (Ts’eq) Reach Integrated Design Project is being led by the Nooksack Tribe in close collaboration with Whatcom County River and Flood in order to develop broadly-supported solutions to address community needs.

Status

Currently, the project team is assessing geomorphic and hydraulic conditions in the river. Upon completion, design alternatives will be developed to reduce flood risk and improve Chinook salmon habitat. We are seeking input from stakeholders to help develop and select a preferred alternative.

Project Benefits

  • Reduce flood risk within the Acme area
  • Improve habitat conditions to support recovery of Chinook salmon and other salmon species

 Background 

The overall goal for this project is to develop an integrated habitat restoration and flood risk reduction project in in the South Fork Nooksack River Fish Camp (Ts’eq) Reach located upstream of Acme between river miles 9.0-9.6. The major problems this project will address include negative impacts from flooding in the Lower South Fork Valley (Acme) and degraded habitat that strongly limits productivity of wild Nooksack spring Chinook salmon.

  • Flood damage in the Acme area has resulted in approximately $80,000 in pay outs by the National Flood Insurance Program. Additionally, the results of a recent Climate Impacts Risk Assessment show that there will likely be more frequent and intense floods in the future.
  • From 1999 to 2015, the native South Fork Nooksack River early (spring) Chinook stocks have averaged a small fraction (<1%) of their estimated historic populations, amounting to an average of just 24 wild adults returning each year (NOAA, 2019). Habitat degradation is considered the leading cause for the decline of local salmonid populations. Recovering Nooksack Chinook salmon populations is essential to the broader Puget Sound salmon recovery effort. Additionally, the wild Nooksack spring Chinook salmon run holds great cultural and subsistence importance to both the Nooksack Tribe and the Lummi Nation.

Project Description

The project reach presents a unique opportunity to develop integrated designs for flood risk reduction and salmon habitat restoration in the Lower South Fork Valley. Following many in-depth conversations with stakeholders, the project team will work together with the community to develop multiple design possibilities that will both reduce flood risk and improve habitat conditions for Chinook and other salmon. The final design will be informed by an understanding of current flood risk to the area, existing channel and flooding conditions, and the potential flood-reduction and habitat responses resulting from the design proposals. The final design may include floodplain reconnection to reduce risk in flood hazard areas, measures to increase stability, and removal or setback of bank armoring to address Chinook recovery.

Engineering Design 

Herrera Environmental Consultants

Funding 

The Nooksack Tribe received a grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office-Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) to develop a Preliminary Design for this project.

Contact 

Please contact either of the project co-leads with questions.

Lindsie Fratus-Thomas, Watershed Restoration Coordinator
Nooksack Indian Tribe
Natural Resources Department
P.O. Box 157
Deming, WA 98244
lfratus@nooksack-nsn.gov
(360) 592-5140 Ext 3135

Paula Harris, P.E., River and Flood Manager
Whatcom County Public Works River and Flood Division
322 N. Commercial Street, Suite 120
Bellingham, WA 98225
pharris@co.whatcom.wa.us
(360) 778-6285

For information regarding engagement opportunities, to schedule a phone call, or to be added to the Listserv, contact:

Hilary Wilkinson
Outreach and Education Lead for Fish Camp Project
Veda Environmental
1155 N. State St. Suite 400
Bellingham, WA 98225
hilary@vedaenv.com
(360) 319-3493 

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