Ecological Challenges

Farmers in Washington’s Whatcom County are engaged in a wide range of water quality improvement projects. TMDLs (total maximum daily loads) in local waterways cover fecal coliform, ammonia-nitrogen, biochemical oxygen demand, chlorine and temperature.

The presence of commercial shellfish beds not far from the mouth of the Nooksack River puts added pressure on farmers and shellfish harvesters to work together on water quality improvements.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS) program found that 45% of America’s river and stream miles are impaired by excess nutrients and 23%—including 8% of the West’s river and stream length—exceed thresholds for enterocci, bacteria that include coliforms such as E. coli. Click here to read EPA’s 2016 report.