April 2023 (volume 32, issue 4)

Untangling Nooksack Water Rights

by Luisa Loi Despite flowing for thousands of years through this ever gray and rainy corner of Washington, the Nooksack River is a resource that tribes, farmers, cities, irrigation districts and public utilities have learned not to take for granted.  … Continue reading

New Plans for an Old Jail

by Emma Bjornsrud The Whatcom County jail, located in downtown Bellingham, was completed in 1984 and is operational to this day. Designed to hold up to 148 people, and constructed based on outdated standards for the time, it lacks space … Continue reading

Whatcom County Jail Timeline

Compiled by Bill McCallum     1984 Nov. 5 Prisoners are transferred into the current jail in downtown Bellingham. 1993 The state of Washington Legislature requires every county to form a Whatcom County Law and Justice Council. Jail management is … Continue reading

Jail Is Unsafe, Inefficient 

by Emma Bjornsrud The current Whatcom County jail is insufficient, overcrowded and in disrepair. “The current facility, by almost any metric, is decrepit and challenging to work in — not a great space for human beings to be in,” said … Continue reading

Spring Is Shorebird Time

by Joe Meche When the calendar flips from March into April, it’s our cue to start watching all of our local shorelines and even a few agricultural fields for migrating shorebirds! The sheer numbers of these unique birds that migrate … Continue reading

Salmon Management Must Build on Past Lessons

by Ed Johnstone One year from now, in February 2024, we will mark the 50th anniversary of federal Judge George Boldt’s ruling in United States vs. Washington, which affirmed tribes’ treaty-reserved rights to harvest salmon outside of our reservations. The … Continue reading

Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale Action Taken at February 7, 2023 Meeting Shall the council: 29. Authorize the executive to sign a 3,449 contract (amendment #4) with Hunt Forensics of Bellingham for the increased costs of medical examiner services? Dr. Gary … Continue reading

Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at February 13, 2023 Meeting Shall the council: 22. Authorize the mayor to sign an ,500 purchase and sale agreement with Valarie Greffard for 0.67 acres of watershed property? The parcel has one potential development unit. (Discussed in … Continue reading

Port of Bellingham Commission

Compiled by Bill McCallum Action Taken at February 7, 2023 Meeting Shall the commission: 14. Authorize the executive director to sign a ,250 license agreement with Shoestring Circus for a waterfront parking lot? There will be seven days (0 per … Continue reading

Articles You Might Have Missed

Around the world people are taking the initiative to mitigate climate change. Here are some good news briefs compiled by the Climate Issue group of the LWV of Bellingham/Whatcom. The Mushroom That Could Replace Plastic Fomes fomentarius — that’s the … Continue reading

Support Local Farming by Purchasing a Subscription

by Annika Sampson Dear Sasquatch, I’m interested in supporting local farms and farmers this year. I really want to put my money back into this community, plus I’ve always thought that eating seasonally is really inspiring. What are some of … Continue reading

Theme for Earth Day 2023: “Invest in our Planet”

EARTHDAY.ORG (EDO), the global organizer of Earth Day and the largest recruiter of environmental movements worldwide, announced the theme for Earth Day 2023 — “Invest in Our Planet.” Acting as a continuation of last year’s well-received campaign, the theme is … Continue reading


“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” — John F. Kennedy Do … Continue reading

The Future Of Whatcom Agriculture: Water Is Key

by Eric Hirst Editor’s Note: See the front page article, “Untangling Nooksack Water Rights,”  written by Luisa Loi in this April issue for more information regarding adjudication. Craig MacConnell, in the March 2023 issue of Whatcom Watch suggests: “Here is … Continue reading

Restoring a Native Name for Mount Baker?

by Allan Richardson  How should we name our mountains and other geographic features? How do we balance between native names and those given by explorers and surveyors? Mount McKinley in Alaska was officially renamed Denali in 2015, thus restoring the … Continue reading

Watch Writer Has Serious Accident

Editor’s Note: Stoney Bird has contributed 25 articles to Whatcom Watch. Seventeen were a series on capitalism. Five recent articles promoted ranked-choice voting. by Mouse Bird I am organizing a fundraiser for my father, Stoney Bird. On the evening of … Continue reading