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July 2020

The Walsh Group works to restore fish habitat along Middle Fork Nooksack River

DEMING, WA – The Walsh Group is clearing the way for the Washington State salmon population to freely traverse the Middle Fork Nooksack River. Construction crews are demolishing a dam, built nearly 60 years ago, and restoring 500 linear feet of river channel as part of the City of Bellingham’s Middle Fork Nooksack River Fish Passage Project.

The dam was built in 1961 after a decade of explosive population growth. City officials worried that there would be an inadequate supply of drinking water for future generations of city residents. Following construction of the dam, salmon populations began to quickly decrease because the structure blocked 16 miles of pristine spawning habitat for the region’s salmon.

For 18 years, officials and activists have pushed for removal of the dam but have been efforts have stalled for lack of funding. The tide began to turn during the past few years as money was allocated from federal and state entities and private donors.

The $16 million project includes construction of an automated municipal water supply diversion intake system, including an in-water intake structure, fish screening facility, conveyance piping, and modifications to the existing diversion facility. The endeavor marks a great success for wildlife proponents and residents of Bellingham.



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