August 2017 (volume 26, issue 8)

After 25 Years, EPA Cleaning Up Toxic Site Near Ferndale

by Andrew Wise On a marshy piece of land sitting in the shadow of the British Petroleum Cherry Point Refinery, just west of Ferndale and south of Blaine, sits a rusting collection of large industrial tanks connected by a spider … Continue reading

Restoring Grizzlies to the North Cascades

by John Simmons Grizzly bears. Icons of the Wild West and the fear of campers everywhere. Many people would like to see grizzlies return to their natural ranges for their cultural importance and ecological benefits; others oppose their return for … Continue reading

East of the Mountains

by Joe Meche Over the past two decades we’ve made our first trip over Washington Pass as soon as the snowplows opened State Highway 20, usually in mid-May. For one reason or another this year, mid-May suddenly became mid-June before … Continue reading

Blanket Response

Dear Editor, It would be helpful to our confused society if we distinguished between judging a person and their ideas from that of taking a position toward a person or to an idea that requires using judgment. To give a … Continue reading

Let’s Move Past the Culvert Case

by Lorraine Loomis The state of Washington has made remarkable progress in the past four years toward meeting a federal court mandate to repair hundreds of fish-blocking culverts under state roads. Failing culverts deny tribal treaty-reserved fishing rights that include … Continue reading

Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at June 5, 2017 Meeting Shall the council: 104. Grant a noise variance to the Washington State Department of Transportation for the I-5 cable barrier upgrade project? Construction work in residentially zoned areas between 10 p.m. and 7 … Continue reading

Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale Action Taken at June 13, 2017 Meeting Shall the council: 111. Solicit public comment on the size of the proposed Whatcom County jail? (Public hearing held) At the 5/30/2017 meeting, vote #109, the council set this … Continue reading

Port of Bellingham Commission

Action Taken at June 6, 2017 Meeting Shall the commission: 70. Authorize the executive director to accept a 2 state grant for costs associated with maintaining readiness for the oil spill response trailers at Blaine Harbor and the Bellingham Cruise … Continue reading

Time to Plant Greens for Fall and Winter

by Peter Heffelfinger August in the Pacific Northwest offers the best weather of the year, reasonably cool yet sunny and dry. Rain is a distant memory, for now. Other regions have sticky humidity and drenching thunderstorms, face the threat of … Continue reading

Why Environmentalists Should Support Farmers

by Gerald Baron Farmers and farming are good for the environment. Like any other group, there can be careless farmers, accidents and lapses in enforcement of rules. But the net benefit to the environment is positive and much better than … Continue reading


Boris Schleinkofer, poetrywatch editor “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.” — … Continue reading

Threats to Eelgrass and Solutions to Preserve and Restore

by Ron Kleinknecht Part 2 Editor’s Note: Part 1 appeared on the front page of the Whatcom Watch June 2017 issue. In Part 1, (1) I made the case that eelgrass (Zostera marina) and other sea grasses are critical to … Continue reading

Personal Costs of Driving and Car Ownership

by Preston Schiller To celebrate 26 years of publishing Whatcom Watch, we will be printing excerpts from 20 years ago. This article is from the August 1997 issue of Whatcom Watch. Previous articles (Whatcom Watch January 1997, May and June … Continue reading

Wendy Scherrer, Environmental Educator

by Kathryn Fentress Wendy Scherrer, 64, has three adult children and three grandchildren. She is a 1976 Huxley College graduate who helped develop the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) and became its Executive Director in 1999. After earning her environmental … Continue reading

All of Us Must Take Action

by Lyle Harris This section is devoted to studying the local impacts of specific issues the Trump Administration or Republican Congress will propose. Ronald Reagan said this in 1983: “Since the founding of this nation, freedom of the press has … Continue reading

Improve Water-Use Efficiency: Focus on the Outliers

by Eric Hirst Whatcom County enjoys ample water supplies when averaged over the year, but summer conditions are quite different. Winter rains recharge groundwater and fill our streams, but summer’s hot, dry weather increases demand, especially for irrigation, and cuts … Continue reading

What Does Death Mean Today?

by Robert A. Duke “Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life,” by Haider Warraich, M.D., says modern technology and law have made death more complicated, so maybe you need to be more detailed about what procedures you want … Continue reading