Whatcom Water Weeks

A resourceful guide to conservation

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

In late July, storms drenched Whatcom County and broke two rainfall records previously set in 1949 and 1987.

While the unexpected downpour caused some residents to grumble about the interruption to what had been a mostly idyllic summer, others—like me—gave thanks to the rain gods.

In fact, after just two days of heavy precipitation, the dried-out grass in my lawn had recovered much of its lustrous spring green, and the garden’s edible and ornamental plants were noticeably happier and healthier.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, I often take it for granted that the rains will always return, and that there’ll always be enough water to go around for both plants and humans. But when the dry days of summer morph into the dry months of summer, I realize the resource isn’t infinite, and that conservation is still important—and vital.

Enter Whatcom Water Weeks, an annual event put on by the Whatcom Watershed Information Network (WWIN). The network of representatives from government agencies, businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions, tribes and citizens have a mission to “support and improve watershed education, stewardship, information exchange and public involvement efforts in Whatcom County.”

For two weeks—Sat., Sept. 6 through Sat., Sept. 20—events designed to celebrate water and educate community members about its importance will fill the calendar. I’ll highlight a few of the events here, but be sure to peruse the organization’s website for a full listings of happenings, as activities are still being added.

With a theme this year of “Water, Food, and YOU!,” many of the Whatcom Water Weeks gatherings will focus on the oh-so-important connection between clean water and the production of foodstuffs—whether it’s crops, livestock, fisheries or forests.

“Without clean water, we stand to lose the local foods we enjoy, a large segment of our local economy and a way of life for many in our community,” organizers say. “Each of us plays a role in protecting our community’s future.”

In many cases, attendees can go straight to the source of the subjects up for discussion. For example, the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) will host Nooksack River Campfire Talks Sept. 6, 13 and 20 focusing on salmon and stream ecology.

While snacking on smoked salmon at the Nooksack River’s Douglas Fir Campground, those in attendance will learn more about what the organization does to ensure salmon continue to thrive in our corner of the world. NSEA will also host guided river walks Sept. 7 and 14 at the Horseshoe Bend Trailhead in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Also on the food front is an “OysterFest” taking place Sept. 6 at BelleWood Acres, Sustainable Connections’ annual Whatcom County Farm Tour Sept. 13, a tour at Chuckanut Brewery Sept. 13, a “Gardening Green” series beginning Sept. 13 at Bellingham Public Works, and more.

But that’s far from all. Additional events include animal feedings and discussions at the Marine Life Center; a City of Bellingham “Water Wanders” tour; a Salmon Habitat Bike Tour with members of Whatcom Land Trust; a Skookum Hatchery Open House, a “Bounty on the Beach!” guided exploration for tideland treasures in Birch Bay,  a rain barrel tour, an educational cruise with the Stewards of Drayton Harbor, a “Steward Safari” in downtown Bellingham, tours of the Bellingham Cold Storage facility and the Canyon Hydro Plant, a beach-cleaning gathering at Whirlwind Beach, showings of The Unknown Sea: A Voyage on the Salish Sea documentary at the Pickford Film Center and the Bellingham Yacht Club, the Bellingham Traverse, agricultural buffer walks and a number of water-related storytelling events.

Whether you choose to attend one Whatcom Water Weeks event or plan to schedule your life according to its copious calendar, there’s no doubt that you’ll have a better understanding of the resource by the time the events draw to a close. By then, you might just be wishing for the rain to come back, already.

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Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

Connected by climate


Bard on the Beach

2:00pm|Vanier Park

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Skagit Garage Sale

9:00am|Skagit County Fairgrounds

Oktoberfest Cruises

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Love, Loss & What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

A back-to-school guide


Welcome Back Students Shows

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Community Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Lynden Community Center

Ferndale Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|Nugent's Corner

Farm Toy Show

9:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Skagit Valley Giant Pumpkin Festival

9:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Harvest Festival and Pumpkin Pitch

9:00am|Skagit River Park

Oyster Run Motorcycle Rally


Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|Peace Portal Drive

Fall Family Fun

10:00am|Glen Echo Garden

Run with the Chums

10:00am|BP Highlands

Harvest Field Day

11:00am|WSU Washington Research and Extension Center

Wild Foods

11:00am|Deming Library

Food Truck Roundup

11:00am|Civic Stadium

Making memories at Make.Shift


Council of the Animals

12:00pm|Larrabee State Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Museum Day Live!

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum

Family Trees

1:00pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Holly Street History Tour

1:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Fingerpainting for Grownups

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Trio of Writers at VB

2:00pm|Village Books

Salute to Satchmo

3:00pm|Sudden Valley Dance Barn

i.e. Reception

4:00pm|i.e. gallery

Artist Talk

4:00pm|Smith & Vallee Gallery

The Ferndale Challenge

5:00pm|Ferndale Senior Activity Center

World Peace Poets Read-In

5:00pm|St. James Presbyterian Church

Democrats Dinner

5:30pm|Silver Reef Casino

Irish Concert and Workshop

7:00pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Night Hike

7:00pm|Tennant Lake Interpretive Center

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Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

A gold medal standard


Connected by climate


The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Love, Loss & What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bellingham Bay Marathon

7:30am|Gooseberry Point

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Veterans Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Post 1585

Starry Night Chamber Orchestra

3:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

I, Angus

4:00pm|Village Books

Art of Jazz

4:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Sunday Night Fusion

7:00pm|Presence Studio

Deobrat Mishra


Culture Shock

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Standup Comedy Showcase

8:30pm|The Shakedown

Northwood Steak and Crab Bellingham Farmer’s Market
A gold medal standard


Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

We Grow Market

3:00pm|Northwest Youth Services

Yoga for Outdoor Fitness


Candidate Forum

6:30pm|PUD Building

Cooking with Sea Vegetables

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

The Happy Elf Auditions

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Open Mic

7:00pm|Village Books


8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library


9:30pm|Green Frog

see our complete calendar »

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