Whatcom Talk –
Salmon are a crucial part of our ecosystem here in Whatcom County. New bridges, replanted trees, and informative signage along our creeks and streams are all evidence that the public is taking action to protect them. One aptly named group leading many such restoration projects is NSEA: Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, a community-based nonprofit.
NSEA started in 1991 “in response to the federal listing of salmon under the Endangered Species Act,” says Advancement Manager Amy Johnson. Environmental issues such as habitat destruction, climate change, and overharvesting prompted the listing.
“Our founders were people in the fishing industry who noticed salmon were dwindling,” says Johnson. “Washington divided the state into fourteen watersheds, and then formed these Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups to be community-based on the ground in that watershed to educate people about salmon and recover salmon.”
The Nooksack Watershed encompasses Whatcom County’s rivers, creeks, and tributaries flowing through British Columbia, Skagit County, the North Cascades, and the Salish Sea. “NSEA strives to recover salmon through education, restoration, and stewardship,” Johnson says—improving conditions for Pacific salmon (chum, pink, coho, sockeye, chinook) and steelhead trout.