Improving fish habitat, one plant at a time

Martin Luther King, Jr Day of Service community work party Jan. 15

December 27, 2017 - by Stefanie Cilinceon, Environmental Education and Outreach

Citizens are invited to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service by improving fish and wildlife habitat in downtown Bellingham at a community work party hosted by the City of Bellingham and the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 15. Volunteers will plant native plants around the Whatcom Creek estuary in Maritime Heritage Park, contributing to ongoing efforts to improve the water quality of a stream that has been degraded by human activities. Planting native plants will improve critical habitat for a number of fish species, including steelhead trout, and coho, chum, pink and Chinook salmon.

What: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service community work party.

When: Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Whatcom Creek estuary in Maritime Heritage Park, 1600 C Street.

Find a map for the event on the City of Bellingham website by searching “work parties.” Come to the tents near the fish tanks.

Travel by bus: Several Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) routes will get you to Maritime Heritage Park. Find your route using WTA’s online trip planner.

Travel by car: Parking is available in the lot at the end of C Street.

Who: YOU, your friends and family, and other community members (all ages welcome.)

You need: Weather-appropriate clothing, closed-toe shoes and a positive attitude.

We provide: Tools, gloves, instructions, a raffle hosted by NSEA and pizza donated by Papa John’s.

Hosted by: Bellingham Parks, Bellingham Public Works Natural Resources and NSEA.

Work party contact: Rae Edwards, Bellingham Parks Volunteer Coordinator at (360) 778-7105 or

Details: RSVP not required for this free event. Unaccompanied youth under the age of 18 must provide a by searching “COB NSEA youth liability form.”

The City of Bellingham is dedicated to cleaning our streams. The City’s Public Works Natural Resources Habitat Restoration program works to improve fish and wildlife habitat in and along streams within Bellingham’s priority watershed areas, including Whatcom Creek. Several large restoration projects have been completed in the stream using funds from the settlement agreement from the 1999 Olympic Pipeline Incident, which severely impacted fish, wildlife and vegetation in and around Whatcom Creek.

Whatcom Creek has a long history of human activities impacting the water quality, including a landfill beginning in the 1880s and later a sewage treatment plant. Development of Maritime Heritage Park began in the 1970s when the sewage treatment plant was transformed into a salmon hatchery. The City’s Parks Department maintains the park and collaborates with the Natural Resources Habitat Restoration program to restore habitat along the creek. The Parks Volunteer Program supports weekend work parties and the community’s stewardship of Bellingham’s parks.

NSEA, a non-profit organization that works to recover salmon populations through community engagement, has been working with the City of Bellingham for years to improve fish and wildlife habitat in Whatcom Creek. This ongoing environmental restoration work includes planting native plants along the stream, which minimizes erosion, reduces water temperatures, filters pollutants and provides food and shelter for fish and wildlife. This work party provides an opportunity for community members to directly contribute to this important work.


Media Contact

Analiese Burns, Habitat and Restoration Manager

City of Bellingham – Public Works – Natural Resources

(360) 778-7968

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