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Here’s what will benefit from the $250,000 grant the Whatcom Land Trust received

Take a tour of Whatcom County’s Skookum Creek

Skookum Creek is a major tributary, cold water contributor, and the largest land conservation opportunity available for the South Fork Nooksack River in Whatcom County, Wash., according to the Whatcom Land Trust's 2018 video.
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Skookum Creek is a major tributary, cold water contributor, and the largest land conservation opportunity available for the South Fork Nooksack River in Whatcom County, Wash., according to the Whatcom Land Trust's 2018 video.

The Whatcom Land Trust has received a $250,000 grant for its effort to protect thousands of acres of forest and salmon habitat in Whatcom County.

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust recently announced it was awarding the grant to the land trust for the preservation of what’s being called the Skookum Creek Conservation Corridor.

In February, the nonprofit Whatcom Land Trust announced its deal to buy 1,400 acres of riparian forest, land that’s adjacent to a river or other type of flowing water, and uplands for $4 million.

“We had a closing deadline with the seller, so we used internal funding to close that deal. Murdock (Trust) funds allowed us to replace that funding, which was needed for stewardship and restoration,” Whatcom Land Trust Executive Director Rich Bowers told The Bellingham Herald.

The purchase includes 2.3 miles of Skookum Creek, which is the largest tributary of the South Fork of the Nooksack River.

The South Fork is an important habitat for all five species of Pacific salmon, according to the land trust.

The land trust said it was one of the largest conservation projects in its 35-year history, and one that came with a lot of support from the community.

Bowers said he was inspired by that support.

“After grants, of which Murdock was the largest, all of the funding for this purchase came from the sale of a land trust trade property and private donations, mostly from local community members,” he explained. “Again after the land sale and grants, the average gift was roughly $1,000. That is a lot of individual support for a $4 million campaign.”

Kie Relyea has been a reporter at The Bellingham Herald since 1997 and currently writes about social services and recreation in Whatcom County. She started her career in 1991 as a reporter and editor in Northern California.
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