Whatcom Farmers for Clean Water

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Whatcom Farmers for Clean Water is a program built to promote and encourage the efforts of local residents doing their part to protect water quality, nurture soil health and protect salmon habitat through installation of best management practices.  

We all want clean water, for healthy families, healthy animals and safe recreation.  Whatcom Conservation District has been working with landowners and farmers in Whatcom County to protect natural resources since 1946.  The District provides technical, educational and financial support for local landowners to understand the benefits of conservation farm practices, correctly incorporate these practices into their operation, evaluate the changes and adapt management to optimize yield and resource protection.

Are you a Whatcom Farmer for Clean Water?  Would you want a sign on your land?  Call us (360) 526-2381

Have you seen the signs around Whatcom County?

Keeping it Green, Keeps the Water Clean!!

Growing cover crops is a beneficial practice to reduce nutrient and sediment losses from agricultural fields and improve water quality. Cover crops also increase soil health through enhancing soil organic matter content.  A cover crop can be a grass, cereal grain, or legume. It provides multiple benefits and can be an inexpensive way to build better soil. Cover crops are helpful for small garden spaces up to large acreages.

What Are The Benefits of Cover Crops?

  1. Reduces Nutrient and Sediment Runoff
  2. Improved Soil Structure
  3. Increased Soil Fertility
  4. Weed Suppression

Cover Crop Fact Sheet

 Want more information on Cover Crops or other farm practices?  Call one of our helpful farm planners at (360) 526-2381.

 


 

Landowners are Making a Difference in Terrell Creek

Scott and Kristy Mcallister have been living in the Terrell Creek area with their daughters for the last eight years.  The Mcallisters raise alpacas, pigmy goats, chickens, donkeys, and a pony.  They learned how to build their small farm through trial and error along with advice from 4H and FFA.  They were thrilled to work alongside a Whatcom Conservation District (WCD) farm planner to develop a pasture rotation system, wetland restoration site, and roof water management on their five acre farm.

“We learned so much from WCD, it was actually embarrassing some of the things we didn’t know.  We found simple, easy solutions to mud management, healthier animals, and greener pastures.”

 


 

After hearing about the efforts by the Chums, Harry and Mary Pardue enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) through WCD to improve the functionality of 3.9 acres of stream banks and wetland on their property.  Their riparian  buffer and wetland restoration included 1,350 native trees and shrubs.  These plants will help protect water quality, reduce erosion, create shade, provide habitat, and add an aesthetic backdrop to their lovely home.

“We didn’t know how degraded our backyard wetland had been because of all of the invasive plants; the scotch broom, blackberries and reed canary grass.  Knowing all that, and at our age, we couldn’t have done it ourselves.  CREP was a package deal and how could we say no?  They did everything for us.” 

 


 

Dave Klieber and his family moved from Seattle about nine years ago to the Terrell Creek area for more space for his kids and to enjoy a more rural lifestyle.  Their early 1900s farm house, however, had an aging septic system. They were thankful for the WCD’s financial assistance to help with the cost of a new system.
“Programs like this are great motivators to keep you moving down the path toward doing the right thing.  The Whatcom Conservation District had plans in place, the steps to take and motivation to get the work done, we would not have done it as quickly otherwise.”

 

 

 


 

Alden

Three generations live happily on Glen Alden’s five acres near Blaine, growing the food they need and living with the land.  The property boasts a seasonal stream, beautiful cedar forest, and duck pond.  The farm is not only a beautiful place, but they also they raise turkeys, chickens, ducks, alpacas, and horses. 

New to the area, Glen was thrilled to have the help of the Whatcom Conservation District farm planners and financial assistance through the Whatcom County Pollution Identification and Correction program to align his farming goals with the environmental ethic he and his family hold dear. 

“We keep all our manure contained to protect clean water, it’s important to us. 
WCD enhanced what I would have already done and gave good direction to the placement of the fences.  The design work, overhead maps, and materials estimates were vital to the success of this project.”

Glen is not new to farming by any means.  Before moving to the area, he farmed for over 10 years in Dawson Creek BC, pasturing about 50 head of cattle.  Moving from northern British Columbia to Western Washington has its differences, so some of the knowledge and experience he gained through his work with Corina Cheever, certified farm planner were new to him.

“I was really surprised that manure 9 miles inland could have an impact on the bay, that was all new to me and I am anxious to have my consciousness raised and do my part.” 

“[We] now have a fence system that is really solid, well braced, to spec, and protects the environment which is very important to us.  Fencing my animals away from our seasonal creek is an easy way to make a difference.”

Thankful for his experience with Whatcom CD he often talks to his neighbors about the process and the technical assistance that was offered.  We are proud to have Glen Alden as an advocate and thoughtful neighbor.  Would you like to see what Whatcom CD can do for your farm?  Give us a call at 360-526-2381, we’re glad to help.