Vigil calls for more urgency to save endangered salmon, orcas

November 22, 2021
Jacqueline Allison

A vigil in support of endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest drew environmental advocates and members of the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Indian Tribe to the Bellingham waterfront on Nov. 20. The event commemorated the 30th anniversary of the original declaration of Snake River sockeye salmon as endangered, and was held in conjunction with several similar events around the region.

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Community Voices / How farmers can fight climate change

November 17, 2021
Stevan Harrell and Katherine Steensma

Farmers are in a powerful position to help curb climate change, and many locally already are taking steps to do so, note dairy farmer Katherine Steensma and author Stevan Harrell. While this bodes well for the future of agriculture here, there is more to be done to stop “wasting and poisoning the good and beautiful things of the world”: natural resources.

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Community Voices / Electric vehicles and the Tesla experience

November 4, 2021
William Dietrich

With the state legislature and some local governments contemplating a future without fossil fuel-powered vehicles, Northwest Washington car buyers are beginning to ponder what it’s like to drive an electric vehicle — a computer on wheels — and some already are behind the wheel.

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Nooksack Tribe and partners face up to climate change challenge on South Fork Nooksack River

October 29, 2021
Kimberly Cauvel

Since long before more than 2,000 chinook salmon died this summer before they could spawn in the South Fork Nooksack River, the Nooksack Indian Tribe has been working with a wide range of partners to plan for supporting at-risk habitat and species. A new report from the tribe aims to translate the science and put boots on the ground.

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Voters to have their say — amid controversy — on San Juan County charter amendments

October 28, 2021
Heather Spaulding

San Juan County voters will have had their say by Nov. 2 on hotly debated amendments to their charter proposed by the Charter Review Commission. The amendments have raised controversy, with one group launching a campaign encouraging voters to reject all the proposals.

 

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Fictional whale tale underscores real-life role of kinship in orcas’ survival

October 21, 2021
Gretchen K. Wing

In the newly published novel “Beyond the Human Realm,” Lopez Island scientist and author Gene Helfman draws on the real-life intelligence of orcas in a fictional story that affirms that preservation of the species requires the adoption of an approach characterized by kinship.

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Author of ‘Orca’ has a message for the Northwest: hope has a price tag

September 14, 2021
Gretchen K. Wing

The new book Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home begins in crisis, as author Lynda Mapes tells the gut-wrenching story of Tahlequah (J35), the mother orca who in 2018 carried her dead baby around for 17 days. Mapes will speak Sept. 18 at the Lopez Island Library.

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photo: Matt Benoit © 2021

Prepared for the worst, local agencies plan wildfire-fighting strategies while hoping for the best

August 5, 2021
Matt Benoit

Whatcom County’s emergency management teams will focus this year’s training on fighting wildfires, and are stepping up reminders to the community that most such fires are caused by human actions — and therefore preventable.

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Years in the making, amendments ban new coal or oil industries, new shipping terminals at Cherry Point

July 29, 2021
Kimberly Cauvel

No new oil- or coal-based industries will be allowed at Cherry Point west of Ferndale under Whatcom County’s latest — and groundbreaking — Comprehensive Plan amendments, following a unanimous vote by the county council.

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photo: Elisa Claassen © 2021

Water supply on Guemes: an island paradise faces challenges

July 27, 2021
Elisa Claassen

More people and rising sea levels mean continuously increasing freshwater challenges on Guemes Island, compelling action on the part of individuals and possibly government — to ensure enough water supply to meet demand.

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Have enough water? San Juan prepares to find out, with USGS study

July 21, 2021
Heather Spaulding

A study funded by the state legislature and the U.S. Geological Survey will address a major barrier in both predicting San Juan County’s future water needs and managing current systems: the capacity of wells in the county is unknown.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2021

Clock starts on Nooksack basin water rights inventory; stakeholders yet to discuss solutions

July 9, 2021
Mike Sato

Weeks of sparse rainfall and a historic heat wave marked the end of June — and the start of a process to establish water rights among various users in Whatcom County’s Nooksack River basin.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2021

House of Tears Carvers visit Bellingham with totem pole bound for DC

May 27, 2021
Amy Nelson

Several hundred people in Bellingham visited a totem pole created by Lummi carvers from a 400-year-old cedar log — the latest stop in the Red Road to D.C. tour of the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere across the U.S. toward its final destination in Washington, D.C.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2021

‘Bold’ ideas around equity, environment proposed as San Juan reviews its county charter

May 21, 2021
Heather Spaulding

San Juan County voters could be voting this fall to create a county climate and environment office and a justice and equity commission by amending the county’s 15-year-old home rule charter.

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Community Voices / Local team launches innovative approach to help curb climate change

May 12, 2021
Allison Roberts with reporting by Kiahna White-Alcain

We must act, not just worry, and use as many solutions as possible to curb climate change as we can, say a team of professors, graduate fellows, student interns and sustainability professionals working on one solution for Whatcom County — that can be replicated anywhere.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2021

Second phase of fish passage work underway on Padden Creek

May 7, 2021
Mike Sato and Alex Meacham

When work is completed by the fall of 2022, coho, chum and chinook salmon will have access restored to 2.7 miles of Padden Creek from its mouth in Bellingham Bay near the ferry terminal.

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