What’s Up, Whatcom Creek?

November 17, 2011 § 4 Comments

Fish ladder on Whatcom Creek

I recently made a quick trip to Bellingham, Washington, where Whatcom Creek flows through the center of this old salmon fishery/lumber town-turned-college town.  It’s a sweet place, walkable, bikeable, with generous greenway trails that were former railroad lines.  Bellingham has its own issues, of course – among them paved-over historical wetlands currently used as railyards that are slated to become bermed mixed use development (bermed, of course, to protect from storm surges, flooding, you know, stuff that happens in wetlands) instead of restored habitat that would benefit salmon fisheries.  Just more of the everyday environmentally harmful planning decisions which are the background noise to big news stories like the fight over a coal shipping depot.

But back to the beauty.

Here’s some photos from a quick jaunt along Whatcom Creek.  These photos were taken right next to Bellingham’s Civic Center, just a few steps of descent from the street (and spitting distance from Occupy Bellingham, which was holding firm in the 30° nights!).  My friend giving me the tour – and my coworker who advised me to look for this creek – tell me salmon still run the Whatcom.  This bridge used to be a barrier until the fish ladder was installed (there are other barriers upstream, however).

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Enjoy the photos – and believe in the possibility of such a visage – perhaps a somewhat drier one – with steelhead trout, on the Arroyo Seco, or Las Virgenes Creek, Ballona Creek… We don’t need fake creeks in Los Angeles, we need real ones that bring spring runs for our fish, shade trails, offer us seasonal cycles of willows budding, fluffing out, turning from silvery green to yellow, golden, deciduous, delirious.

Our waterways are restorable, it is about political will, whether the public wants it enough.  Do we?

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