Nooksack Basin Salmon Habitat Restoration Project

Surrounded by local farmers’ fields, the rebuilt landscape features state-of-the-art technology to restore salmon access to miles of stream habitat.

Local farmers are unveiling a just-completed fish habitat restoration project that has re-opened miles of salmon stream on a tributary of the Nooksack River.

The project installed a state-of-the-art fish-friendly floodgate that will allow salmon to again live and spawn in what is known as Duffner Ditch, which winds through productive farmland southwest of Lynden and connects with Bertrand Creek just before reaching the Nooksack River.

“We are honored to be able to help restore salmon and protect stream and water resources that are an important part of the ecosystem where we live and grow food,” said nearby dairy farmer and Bertrand Watershed Improvement District Commissioner Mike Schoneveld.

Local farmers in the district collaborated with Whatcom County, the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Whatcom Conservation District and other partners to fund the effort.

With a price tag of over a half-million dollars, the project protects salmon during floods as well, automatically closing during high water to provide safe harbor for fish in the salmon stream.

Farmers also supplied land and support for the project, as crews were forced to redirect the stream’s water while the floodgate was installed.

“Four years ago we demonstrated that we can sustainably restore natural stream flow levels in the

Bertrand Creek with a pilot stream augmentation project, and this new project shows our continuing commitment to restoring salmon and preserving a future for locally grown food in Whatcom County,” said area potato grower and Bertrand WID commissioner Greg Ebe.

“This is why we came together as farmers and landowners to form the Watershed Improvement District — because we know a better future is possible for fish and farming if we come together as acommunity,” Ebe said.