Whatcom Land Trust Announces New Land Acquisition in the Skookum Creek Watershed

Bellingham, WA. – Whatcom Land Trust announces the purchase of an additional 1,000 acres of riparian and upland forest in a major tributary watershed of the South Fork Nooksack basin from Weyerhaeuser Corporation. This Skookum II acquisition builds upon a 1,400 acre purchase in the watershed in 2019. Now that these two properties are secured, the Skookum Creek Conservation Corridor permanently protects 2,400 acres of riparian forest and uplands to improve salmon habitat, watershed health, landscape connectivity and recreation opportunities for Whatcom County.

Skookum Creek is the largest cold-water tributary to the South Fork of the Nooksack River, meaning its water quality and quantity have a critical 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 much more. Protecting the riparian and upland forests surrounding Skookum Creek will reduce sediment flow into the creek and keep its water clean for both human and wildlife use. This additional purchase of Skookum II will also help connect more than 4,000 contiguous acres of additional Land Trust-protected and partner-protected lands, including The Nature Conservancy’s Arlecho Creek Old Growth Preserve and Lummi Nation forest lands.

In early June the Whatcom County Council approved $1.25 million in Conservation Futures funding towards the Skookum II acquisition in exchange for a conservation and public access easement.

“Thanks to support from generous donors and the Whatcom County Council and Executive Sidhu, we’re able to permanently protect the largest contiguous wildlife corridor on private land in Whatcom County. This is a momentous step in our efforts to fight climate change with local solutions.” –Gabe Epperson, Whatcom Land Trust’s Executive Director.

Along with the financial support of the County’s Conservation Futures Fund, the Land Trust also received funding from other public and private sources in order to make this project a reality. These partners include the Ouroboros Foundation, the Norcliffe Foundation, The Conservation Alliance, the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust, the Chaney Family Foundation, and the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office’s WWRP Riparian Program, as well as donations from individuals and Land Trust business partners.

Whatcom Land Trust plans to host tours of this new acquisition later this summer. Sign up for our newsletter at
whatcomlandtrust.org to receive updates.

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