Uncovering a valuable resource
What: Whatcom Water Week
Where: Throughout Whatcom County
WHEN: Sept. 14-22
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
How in the heck does the water Bellingham residents use for drinking, soaking their plants, doing laundry or taking a shower make the trek from Lake Whatcom to their taps?
This mystery will be one of many those interested in finding out more about the state of Whatcom County’s resources can uncover during Whatcom Water Week, the annual happening that sees businesses, nonprofits and community groups focusing on the importance of water via stewardship opportunities, outdoor and indoor tours and talks, storytelling gatherings, athletic endeavors and beyond.
The weeklong series of events taking place Sept. 14-22 is organized by the Whatcom Watershed Information Network (WWIN), whose members include representatives from government agencies, businesses, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, tribes and citizens who are involved and interested in marine and freshwater ecosystems and natural resources education and outreach.
For a good example of the educational elements WWIN is hoping to incorporate into the mix, consider attending a Bellingham Water Treatment Plant tour Thurs., Sept. 19 at the Whatcom Falls Park that will answer the aforementioned question about how the water gets from the lake to the tap.
Also on the roster are self-guided stormwater discovery tours that follow the path of rain after it falls in Squalicum Creek Park, Bloedel Donovan Park, trails around Barkley Village, Fairhaven, and downtown Bellingham. A mobile-friendly site, http://www.stormwater.cob.org, will help guide the way with maps, historical photos and underground drawings that uncover the mysteries of these stormwater features working to protect local waters.
“Run with the Chums” will once again act as the unofficial kickoff to Whatcom Water Week Sat., Sept. 14 starting at the BP Highlands on Grandview Road in Birch Bay. Attendees at the free, family-friendly event can run or walk a scenic loop through the highlands above Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve and Point Whitehorn that explores forested trails, opens up to coastal views, and finishes through agricultural lands. With a theme of “Healthy Water, Healthy People,” this year’s resource fair will also focus on orca recovery and what local partners are working on regarding habitat restoration efforts for both whales and salmon—orcas’ primary food source.
From 10am-12pm that same day, interested parties can also get involved in International Coastal Cleanup Day efforts at Bellingham’s Locust Beach and Blaine’s Semiahmoo Spit, or join the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association to explore the biennial return of Pacific pink salmon along Thompson Creek in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. At 3pm, NSEA naturalists will also helm a guided trail walk along the Nooksack River.
But that’s not all. Remaining events include neighborhood stream tours of Padden, Squalicum, and Whatcom creeks, a Maple Creek Reach tour led by Whatcom Land Trust, a City of Lynden Water Treatment Plant tour, a guided look at the Bellingham Wastewater Treatment Plant, a “Shared Waters, Challenges, and Solutions” event, work parties and more.
Through Sept. 30, residents can also submit photos that best capture the role water plays in their life and in the culture of Whatcom County. By doing so, you’ll get to hone your vision of why the resource matters to you.