South Fork Community Forum – Presentation of the TMDL

At the Community Forum on September 19th, 2018, Steve Hood of the Department of Ecology presented the much awaited TMDL report on water quality issues in the South Fork.  Hosted by the South Fork Watershed Education Committee, the forum was well attended and very informative.  To view the powerpoint, click here.

The public comment period on the TMDL Report has now begun! The Department of Ecology is looking for feedback on our draft total maximum daily load (TMDL) report which describes water quality issues with the Nooksack River and potential methods to fix them. They will be accepting comments from Sept. 12 until Nov. 20, 2018. 

Submit comments through our ecomments system
See the announcement of the public comment period

Project Purpose

This watershed project brings together landowners, tribes, agencies and community members for an open dialogue about how to conserve agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and recreation in the South Fork Nooksack River watershed, while protecting and restoring our water resources. Together, we are thinking strategically about how to protect our local economy and environment.

Community Long Term Goals and Planning Principles

As developed by the SFNR residents and landowners participating in the meetings of the 44-member Watershed Group, January – May 2017

Long Term Community Goals

Although we have a wide range of perspectives and interests in the South Fork Nooksack River Valley, we are looking for win-win solutions to protect our water resources for:

  • Our Families: Keep the rural way of life and protect it for our children.
  • Our Farms: Maintain and protect productive agricultural lands and promote long-term agricultural economic viability.
  • Our Forests: Maintain and protect the forestland base and promote a sustainable forest industry with a skilled and steady local workforce.
  • Our Fish: Improve the South Fork ecosystem to increase and support the salmon population.
  • Our Recreation: Ensure through public regulation, education, and community engagement that recreational activities in the Valley contribute positively to the health and safety of our Watershed and protect property rights and community values.

Planning Principles

In order for us to achieve our long-range goals, we need:

  • Communication, transparency, and trust between landowners, residents, agencies, and other stakeholders in the Watershed.
  • Voluntary agreements between landowners and community partners, with incentives for landowner’s efforts to improve watershed conditions.
  • Shared understanding and open dialogue around data, science, resource management, and the changing climate conditions that affect our watershed.
  • Public education around how farmers, foresters, fishers, and other businesses are continually improving their practices to protect and improve water quality.
  • Consideration of the knowledge of local residents relevant to wise management of land and water resources.

(Click here for a downloadable pdf of the Long Term Goals and Planning Principles

Stay Informed

The South Fork Watershed Education Committee is meeting regularly and organizing a series of educational forums dedicated to improving local knowledge of our watershed. Self-determination requires an informed community! Subscribe for updates to make sure you don’t miss the next forum!

Draft South River Nooksack River Watershed Conservation Plan
The Nooksack Indian Tribe Natural Resources Department has released the SFNR Watershed Conservation Plan.  The report is 140 pages long and fairly technical and can be viewed here.  There is also an Executive Summary that is only 30 pages long and less detailed, but highlights the key points and is a bit easier to read. Access the Executive Summary here. Thank you to everyone who provided input! A final plan will be prepared and available by the end of the year.

Watershed Function and Forest Management Study
Susan Dickerson-Lange Phd, of Natural Systems Design has completed her study of the role of forests and forest change in the uplands on watershed function, which contributes to downstream water quantity and quality  As part of the study,  recommendations are offered for silvicultural and restoration actions that have potential to improve flows and lower temperatures.   Here is a short powerpoint of her preliminary work, and her completed study and recommendations.  

EPA Releases Qualitative and Quantitative Assessments
The EPA has released the Final Qualitative and Quantitative Assessments of the impact of climate change on salmon recovery efforts in the South Fork Nooksack River.