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Public Health

A wood stove swap-out is helping clear the air in rural Whatcom County

March 5, 2020
The tree-dense Columbia Valley, flanked by Red Mountain to the east and Sumas Mountain to the west, contains at its center around 1,600 homes. Many rely on wood stoves as a primary heat source. As a result, the valley’s large amount of wood smoke often combines with specific weather conditions to produce the county’s worst air quality.
Matt Benoit
Commerce, Governance, Recreation

Downtown Bellingham waterfront site sprouts new signs of life

February 26, 2020
After almost 20 years of frustration and stagnation, the first tender shoots of redevelopment have appeared amid the post-industrial desolation that Georgia-Pacific Corp. left behind on Bellingham’s downtown waterfront.
John Stark
photo: Melissa Marteny © 2020
Culture, Education, Social Justice

Whatcom Museum opens heritage exhibits to indigenous people; part of ‘bigger conversation’

February 24, 2020
New exhibits and a new perspective on access at the Whatcom Museum of History and Art have become threads in a national conversation about the relationship between museums and indigenous people.
Kimberly Cauvel
Governance, Natural Resources

Water concerns spark funding request for groundwater studies for San Juans, Guemes

January 21, 2020
Concerns of island residents about water supply sustainability motivated requests by 40th District Sen. Liz Lovelett for state funds for groundwater studies. As of adjournment of the 2020 state legislative session on March 12, Lovelett’s office reported that funding for groundwater studies on Guemes Island and in San Juan County were approved and included in the capital budget.
Louise Dustrude
Climate, Governance, Natural Resources, Public Health

San Juan Islands’ fresh-water supply sustainability is in question

January 7, 2020
Back in the ’70s, the Lopez Island water witch and other old-timers would rattle a newcomer’s cage by telling him the water feeding wells in the San Juan Islands came from a large undersea aquifer reaching to Mount Baker. The water witch and the old timers are gone, and the specter of climate crisis is here. No one jokes about fresh water in the islands coming from Mount Baker. Instead, talk is in earnest and concerns the question of sustaining the islands’ supply of fresh water.
Mike Sato
Climate, Natural Resources, Public Health

Grassroots groups work to save habitat, keep streams cool for Nooksack salmon

January 7, 2020
As local streams get less water from lower snowpacks and grow warmer during hotter summers, some local grassroots organizations are working to reverse or soften the damage to habitat and the fish that rely on colder water.
Kimberly Cauvel
Climate, Governance, Natural Resources, Public Health

Whatcom plans as climate crisis threatens shorelines, homes, livelihoods

January 7, 2020
The worst impacts of climate change in Whatcom County are yet to come, scientists say. Researchers say that while some changes may seem to be emerging slowly, swift action is needed to curb and prepare for them.Residents are already seeing impacts on the waterfront, air quality and fisheries they treasure.
Kimberly Cauvel
photo: Amy Nelson © 2019