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

Fish Camp Vicinity map 500pxl

The South Fork Nooksack (Nuxw7íyem) River Fish Camp (Ts’éq) Reach Integrated Design Project is a collaboration of the Nooksack Tribe and Whatcom County River and Flood to develop broadly-supported solutions to address community needs.

Status

Currently, the project team is reaching out to stakeholders and community members and is assessing geomorphic and hydraulic conditions in the project area. After initial outreach and data collection, design alternatives will be developed to reduce flood risk and improve Chinook salmon habitat where possible. We will seek input from stakeholders to help develop and select a preferred alternative.

Based on feedback from our first community workshop, we have developed design concepts that represent a compilation of ideas from community members and project design team members. We are conducting analyses on these concepts before they are further developed or incorporated into project alternative designs. You can view these draft design concepts here.

Project Benefits

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

Community Workshop Documents  

June 27, 2019

 Background 

The overall goal for this project is to develop an integrated habitat restoration and flood risk reduction project in in the lower South Fork (SF) Nooksack (Nuxw7íyem) River.   The project will focus on reducing flooding in the Acme Community and improving Chinook habitat in the reach of the SF Nooksack River known as Fish Camp (Ts’éq) Reach, upstream of Acme (approximately 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 through 2017, the natural-origin (wild) South Fork Nooksack River early (spring) Chinook stocks have averaged a small fraction (<1%) of their estimated historic abundance (13,000), amounting to an average of just 76 wild adults returning each year. 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 (design alternatives) that will both reduce flood risk and improve habitat conditions for Chinook and other salmon. The selected alternative will be developed into a preliminary design that 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 preliminary design may include floodplain reconnection to reduce risk in flood hazard areas, measures to increase stability and reduce erosion risk, and removal, setback or replacement (with wood) of bank armoring and placement of engineered log jams to improve Chinook habitat and promote recovery.

Engineering Design 

Herrera Environmental Consultants

Funding 

The Nooksack Tribe was awarded a Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office-Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) grant 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:

Veda Environmental
Hello@VedaEnv.com                                                                                                                                                                                       (360) 812-0321                                                                                                                                                                                      

Additional Information