Bertrand Creek water quality focus of June 24 conference

Bertrand Creek runs through in Bethusen Park in Lynden, Tuesday, April 21, 2015.
Bertrand Creek runs through in Bethusen Park in Lynden, Tuesday, April 21, 2015. The Bellingham Herald

Water quality in the Bertrand Creek watershed, where high counts of fecal coliform bacteria are a concern, is the focus of a Wednesday, June 24, conference.

The event is at Berthusen Park at 8837 Berthusen Road in Lynden. It is being put on by Whatcom Conservation District and the Washington state Department of Ecology.

Organizers describe it as an effort to bring science and the community together to protect water quality in the watershed, which is in northern Whatcom County near Lynden.

The conference will include presentations about the state of the watershed, community solutions and partnership efforts. Presenters are from the conservation district, Ecology, the state Department of Agriculture, Whatcom County Public Works, and the B.C. Ministry of Environment.

It also will include an afternoon water sampling demonstration in Bertrand Creek to show people how they can do their own sampling in their backyard.

Landowners/farmers in the watershed, scientists, educators and community members are among those who have been invited to attend.

Fecal coliform bacteria come from human and animal feces. The bacteria enter Whatcom County’s waterways in several ways — horse and cow manure, pet and wildlife waste, and failing septic systems — and indicate there could be pathogens. A number of agencies have been working together since 2013 to reduce bacteria pollution in Whatcom County creeks, including the Bertrand Creek watershed.

The free conference is nearly full, but people who want to go can still RSVP by emailing nembertson@whatcomcd.org or calling 360-526-2381, ext. 126. Another event could be organized if there’s enough interest, and RSVPs would be used to gauge that.

The conservation district also plans to put conference videos on its website at whatcomcd.org at some point.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.