Lummi Nation partners with county, land trust on South Fork Nooksack restoration

LUMMI NATION – The Lummi Nation has entered into a partnership with Whatcom County and the Whatcom Land Trust to re-align a portion of a county road that runs past the tribe’s Skookum Creek Hatchery. This section of the road segment serves primarily as access to the hatchery and to a system of logging roads.

Moving the road off the bank of the South Fork of the Nooksack River will allow the tribe to restore habitat to its natural condition, by replanting native vegetation in the riparian area and building logjams for instream cover and complexity. The project ranked first for restoration benefit in a habitat assessment of the upper South Fork conducted by the tribe’s Natural Resources department in 2007.

The Nooksack River’s South Fork spring chinook population is facing extinction, largely because of lost and degraded habitat. Restoration projects such as this one are key to recovering the population.

At a Jan. 13 meeting, Whatcom County Council passed a resolution to vacate about 3,000 feet of Saxon Road in Acme. The Lummi Nation’s Natural Resources department plans to reconstruct the road, moving it away from the river and onto their hatchery’s property and an adjacent parcel purchased by Whatcom Land Trust.

The land trust bought the property with a state Salmon Recovery Funding Board grant, for the purpose of salmon habitat protection and enhancement. Once the road is completed, Lummi Nation and Whatcom Land Trust will give the right-of-way to the county. The tribe is also working with Longview Timber, another adjacent landowner, to move a small section of the road off of the river within its property boundary.

The tribe plans to develop a public education program that uses the Skookum Reach Habitat Restoration project site as an educational laboratory to demonstrate the steps being taken to restore endangered salmon stocks.

For more information, contact:
Jim Hansen, Lummi Nation Restoration Coordinator 360-384-2340 or [email protected]; Kari Neumeyer, NWIFC information officer, 360-424-8226 or [email protected].