Conservation Alliance has been involved in two stages of NR South Fork
WHATCOM — A $45,000 grant from The Conservation Alliance will help the Whatcom Land Trust permanently protect 1,000 acres of maturing riparian forest and uplands and over two miles of upper Skookum Creek, improving biodiversity, watershed health, climate resilience, landscape connectivity and recreation in the Upper South Fork Nooksack River basin.
The Conservation Alliance was also a major contributor in the 2019 acquisition of Lower Skookum, which included 1,200 acres of forest, uplands, wetlands and marshes in the Skookum Creek watershed, providing a critical cold-water source for the South Fork.
“With the generous help of The Conservation Alliance, we can continue to build on our successes in the Skookum Creek Wildlife Corridor and ensure that this area is protected in perpetuity for future generations of people, wildlife and salmon,” said Gabe Epperson, land trust executive director.
Working with the current landowner, Weyerhaeuser, to acquire the property, the land trust has also partnered with local tribes to increase salmon recovery efforts in the South Fork and with Backcountry Horsemen and other outdoor groups to ensure public access and recreational opportunities in the area.
The Skookum II acquisition will increase the amount of permanently protected land contributing to landscape connectivity, the interdependence of wildlife species and this critical habitat, and the protection of refuge and climate resilience for both wildlife and watershed health.
The project will also help connect more than 4,000 contiguous acres of additional trust-protected and partner-protected lands, including The Nature Conservancy’s Arlecho Creek Old Growth Preserve and Lummi Nation lands. This project will nearly double protections in terms of acreage, maturing forest, connected landscape and associated biodiversity, river miles and watershed.
The Conservation Alliance is made up of environmental-minded business including local members American Alpine Institute, NuuMuu, REI, Runner Girl Races and Superfeet.
The mission of the Whatcom Land Trust is to preserve and protect wildlife habitat, scenic, agricultural and open space lands in Whatcom County for future generations by securing interests in land and promoting land stewardship. Since founding in 1984, the land trust has permanently protected more than 24,000 acres throughout Whatcom County, including 14,000 of public park land, 1,200 of working lands for agriculture and forestry, 12,000 acres in the Lake Whatcom watershed to ensure clean drinking water for 100,000 residents, and more than 36 miles of marine and freshwater shorelines that preserve wildlife habitat. A staff of 12, governing board of 11 diverse private citizens and 600-plus volunteers effectively collaborate with over 200 organizations and individuals including private landowners, local communities, tribes, public agencies including Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham, corporations and other conservation organizations to permanently protect and manage lands and engage local citizens in conservation actions.