Two years ago Whatcom Land Trust permanently protected 1,400 acres of Skookum Creek when we purchased Skookum I. Now we are working to build on that victory and purchase another 1,000 acres along Skookum Creek, creating a five-mile protected corridor along the creek. Big moves have been made to ensure this project’s success. On June 1st the Whatcom County Council approved $1.25 million in Conservation Futures funding for the Land Trust’s Skookum II acquisition. The Land Trust has also received support from many other partners, including the Ouroboros Foundation, the Norcliffe Foundation, The Conservation Alliance, the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust, and the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office’s WWRP Riparian Program, as well as donations from individuals and Land Trust business partners. All of these will help us make this important project a reality!
Skookum Creek is the largest cold-water tributary to the South Fork of the Nooksack River, meaning its water quality and quantity have a major impact on the health of the South Fork itself, which in turn benefits salmon habitat, watershed health, the amount of water available for agriculture, and so much more. Protecting the riparian habitat surrounding Skookum Creek will prevent sediment flow into the creek and keep the water clean for humans and animals alike.
Skookum Creek is also one of the puzzle pieces that create the Cascades to Chuckanuts Conservation Corridor, one of the last intact habitat corridors linking the foothills of the Cascade Mountains all the way to the Salish Sea. This habitat corridor is crucial for many species, including elk, salmon and eagles. Purchasing this second portion of Skookum Creek will help further protect the C2C Corridor. “Skookum Creek is a vital source of cold, consistent streamflow feeding the South Fork Nooksack River through the dry summer months,” says the Land Trust’s Conservation Manager Alex Jeffers. “This upcoming purchase creates a 5-mile connected corridor facilitating the movement of water and wildlife between old-growth forests at the base of the Twin Sister’s Range and critical salmon habitat in the South Fork Nooksack. Threatened species such as South Fork Nooksack early Chinook and marbled murrelet, as well as countless other species, depend on these habitats, and this new acquisition will allow for continued growth and expansion of high-quality habitat in the Skookum Creek Corridor.”
We are so close to permanently protecting this unique and vital landscape. Become a part of this success story and make your gift by our June 18th goal. Purchasing Skookum II represents a victory for the entire Whatcom County community. It represents another step towards clean water, healthy forests, abundant agricultural lands, and thriving wildlife habitat. By acquiring Skookum II, we are moving even closer towards our shared vision of healthy watersheds and landscapes, protected permanently for the future generations of Whatcom County to enjoy. Every gift you make, large or small, brings us closer to that vision!