Community members are invited to join the City of Bellingham and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) for a community work party celebrating Make a Difference Day and Arbor Day at Whatcom Falls Park from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23. Volunteers will plant native trees and shrubs, remove invasive plants and maintain social trail closures to improve habitat and water quality in Whatcom Creek.
All ages, abilities and experience levels are welcome. Tools, gloves, instructions and light refreshments, including coffee donated by Tony’s Coffee, are provided. The work party will conclude with free pizza donated by Papa John’s and closing remarks from Mayor Seth Fleetwood.
This event takes place outside and follows COVID-19 safety protocols. Registration and masks are required. Unaccompanied youth under the age of 18 must also provide a City & NSEA Youth Liability Release Form signed by their legal guardian to participate, which can be found at cob.org/parkvolunteer. Participants under age 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. All registered participants will receive email reminders with more information. For additional questions, please email email@example.com or call (360) 778-7105.
Habitat Restoration Work
The City of Bellingham and NSEA work to improve local habitats and the community’s connection to them through restoration work and volunteer opportunities. The City has completed a number of habitat restoration projects just downstream of Whatcom Falls Park, including the Red Tail Reach, Cemetery Creek and Salmon Park projects, which provide important habitat for local fish and wildlife.
NSEA, a non-profit organization that strives to recover salmon by engaging the community in restoration, education and stewardship, implements habitat restoration throughout Whatcom County and works both independently of and collaboratively with the City of Bellingham to rally thousands of volunteers to local habitat restoration sites each year at their community work parties. The City offers additional volunteer opportunities to the community through the Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program, including work parties and a Park Stewards program.
The City and NSEA are working together to organize the Make a Difference Day and Arbor Day community work party, an opportunity for volunteers to reduce access to social trails to improve habitat. Social trails are created when people walk off designated trails, causing soil compaction that makes it difficult for plants to establish and leads to erosion. Erosion causes extra sediment to enter Whatcom Creek, which can clog the gills of salmon and reduce their ability to build and cover their redds (nests). By planting native plants in these impaired areas of Whatcom Falls Park, volunteers will help reduce erosion and ultimately improve habitat for the fish and wildlife that call Whatcom Creek home.