An ongoing effort to improve salmon habitat in the lower Nooksack floodplain received another round of federal funding, the state Department of Ecology announced recently.
Phase 3 of the Smuggler’s Slough restoration project obtained an $804,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for acquisition of 101 acres of wetlands and salt marsh along the lower reach of the slough off Lummi Bay, south of Ferndale.
To complete the acquisition of conservation rights on the properties, and to make habitat improvements, Lummi Nation will contribute $350,000 and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board will add another $125,000, Ecology spokesman Curt Hart said.In previous phases, Ecology in partnership with the tribe acquired 406 acres farther upstream on Smuggler’s Slough. The slough historically was a salmon passage connecting Bellingham and Lummi bays, but it was converted in the 1930s into a drainage ditch as much of the estuarine habitat in the lower Nooksack floodplain was converted into farmland, a 2009 report by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission said.