Presentation Abstract

The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in streams and shallow marine waters used to grow and harvest shellfish indicate the presence of human- and animal-borne pathogens that can cause serious illness. People who contact polluted water or eat shellfish contaminated with these pathogens are at risk. Since 1998, state and local agencies, dairy operators, farmers, septic system owners and others have worked to address this concern. In 2012, a partnership of local, state and federal entities started the Whatcom Clean Water Program (WCWP), with the purpose of reducing fecal coliform contamination in Drayton Harbor and Portage Bay. County and State agencies are identifying and correcting conditions that pollute the Nooksack River and Portage Bay, where Lummi Nation Tribal members rely on shellfish harvesting for commercial, ceremonial and subsistence purposes. Livestock and farm operators, homeowners with on-site septic systems, and cities have invested time and money to reduce the risk of polluted runoff. Since the beginning of the WCWP, agricultural leaders have voiced concerns that fecal coliform concentrations in Bertrand and Fishtrap creeks and their tributaries are high at the Washington-British Columbia border, making it difficult for operators downstream to achieve reductions in fecal coliform, a fundamental objective in the program. In late 2016, the BC/WA Environmental Cooperation Council (ECC), comprised primarily of Washington’s Department of Ecology and the BC Ministry of Environment, began a program to review available information, identify knowledge and understanding gaps, and deliver recommendations to agency directors. The main goal of the program is to develop a cross-border strategy to identify sources of fecal coliform pollution, to engage landowners and help them address problem areas, and to reduce the risk of restrictions placed on streams and shellfish harvest areas connected to the Nooksack River.

Session Title

British Columbia / Washington Collaboration on Transboundary Water Quality: Fecal Coliform Bacteria and Nitrogen in the Nooksack River

Keywords

Transboundary cooperation, Bacterial pollution, Nooksack Basin

Conference Track

SSE9: Transboundary Management and Policy

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE9-605

Start Date

6-4-2018 8:30 AM

End Date

6-4-2018 8:45 AM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 6th, 8:30 AM Apr 6th, 8:45 AM

Transboundary cooperation to reduce bacterial pollution in Washington's lower Nooksack Basin

The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in streams and shallow marine waters used to grow and harvest shellfish indicate the presence of human- and animal-borne pathogens that can cause serious illness. People who contact polluted water or eat shellfish contaminated with these pathogens are at risk. Since 1998, state and local agencies, dairy operators, farmers, septic system owners and others have worked to address this concern. In 2012, a partnership of local, state and federal entities started the Whatcom Clean Water Program (WCWP), with the purpose of reducing fecal coliform contamination in Drayton Harbor and Portage Bay. County and State agencies are identifying and correcting conditions that pollute the Nooksack River and Portage Bay, where Lummi Nation Tribal members rely on shellfish harvesting for commercial, ceremonial and subsistence purposes. Livestock and farm operators, homeowners with on-site septic systems, and cities have invested time and money to reduce the risk of polluted runoff. Since the beginning of the WCWP, agricultural leaders have voiced concerns that fecal coliform concentrations in Bertrand and Fishtrap creeks and their tributaries are high at the Washington-British Columbia border, making it difficult for operators downstream to achieve reductions in fecal coliform, a fundamental objective in the program. In late 2016, the BC/WA Environmental Cooperation Council (ECC), comprised primarily of Washington’s Department of Ecology and the BC Ministry of Environment, began a program to review available information, identify knowledge and understanding gaps, and deliver recommendations to agency directors. The main goal of the program is to develop a cross-border strategy to identify sources of fecal coliform pollution, to engage landowners and help them address problem areas, and to reduce the risk of restrictions placed on streams and shellfish harvest areas connected to the Nooksack River.