Do accurate assessments exist anywhere on salmon habitats at varied locations throughout Whatcom County? Does The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife or Ecology have them? How about Puget Sound Partnership’s 27-member Salmon Recovery Council or contractors handling NOAA’s Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program? How about the state Recreation and Conservation Office or the “State of Salmon in Watersheds” in our governor’s Salmon Recovery Office? Or, how about Whatcom County’s six Watershed Improvement Districts, its watersheds information network (ECONet), its Salmon Recovery Board’s Lower Nooksack Strategy or its Public Works Natural Resources Department?
Is any book being made, for instance, on volumetric flow increases forced by irrigation pumps through formerly slow-water, high-production, plankton-producing salmon habitats? As, conservation spending spirals up and up, is anyone really watching out for our kings and silvers in the upper Nooksack, potential sockeyes in lower lakes and tributaries, and chums and pinks near the mouths of all our rivers and streams?
David R. Montgomery of the University of Washington in “King of Fish” says “riverkeepers” are the only way to collect, consolidate and assess such information after he warns that Northwest salmon now, too, are in extreme peril due to saturation fishing, industry-driven hatcheries, shoreline armoring and time wasted by “overlapping authorities across conflicted jurisdictions.”
Bottom line: I believe we need riverkeepers for the Lower Nooksack, Upper Nooksack, Lummi/Drayton and Squalicum/Samish regions now, or, like Europe and our East Coast, salmon here, too, will be history due to right decisions not getting made in time to save them!