Watershed Management photo identifier

Watershed Management

Nooksack - WRIA 01

This page is being maintained as an archive of past information and will not be updated.

link to WRIA 02 link to all WRIAs link to WRIA 03 link to WRIA 04 Map of Nooksack, WRIA 01

Grant funds expended and/or projected through June 2015


Initiating governments

  • Whatcom County
  • City of Bellingham
  • Public Utility District No. 1
  • Lummi Nation
  • Nooksack Tribe

Mission Statement

In the broadest terms the object of the project are to assess the status of the water resources in WRIA 01, determine the best management strategies to balance the competing demands for water, and to ensure long-term sustainability of that balance.  Critical to that process is the balance between instream and out-of stream uses of water, and the provision of adequate future water supplies for uses such as agriculture, energy production, and population and economic growth.


The Nooksack Watershed Plan was approved by Whatcom County in June 2005, and the Nooksack Watershed Phase 4 Implementation Grant was signed in June 2006.  Their detailed implementation plan and water monitoring plan were finished in July 2007.  In 2011 the Watershed Planning Staff Team formally merged with the WRIA 1 Salmon Recovery Funding Board, and became the WRIA 1 Watershed Management Team.  This group also serves as Local Integrating Organization for the Whatcom Action Area of the Puget Sound Partnership.

Instream flow status

Existing instream flows were set in 1985 (WAC 173-501). As a part of the Watershed Plan, the WRIA 01 Instream Flow Action Plan was developed. This plan describes a basin-by-basin approach to examine instream flow needs and consider treaty reserve water rights for the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe.

The first areas to initiate negotiations were the Bertrand Creek and Middle Fork Nooksack River watersheds, beginning in spring 2006. In 2008 these pilot negotiations were combined and expanded to include the entire Nooksack drainage. By expanding the area of consideration, water managers can better utilize regional resources and address water needs more holistically. The goal is to recommend amendments to the existing instream flow rule in about five years.

Planning document

Other resources

  • 2010 State of the Watershed Report - The first report is an easy-to-read summary of progress toward the goal of ensuring long-term protection and enhancement of our communities' water resources. This report documents how well we are doing to protect and manage riverine and coastal watersheds.  It is a snapshot of the work we are doing in Whatcom County and an account of what is known about our water, our land, and our fish.
  • Nooksack Watershed Management Project

Outside links, publications, studies, data

Please send additions or corrections to Chris Anderson, (360) 407-6634.

Nooksack River near Lynden courtesy of Doug Allen




Plan Website - Whatcom County

WRIA 01 Status

  • Currently in Phase 4: Implementation.
  • Optional elements: water quality, habitat, instream flows.