Background & History
Severe flooding during the winter of 2004-2005 prompted residents in the north Lynden area (Fishtrap Creek and Double Ditch Creek drainage area) to request that Whatcom County take action to protect property and relieve chronic drainage problems related to lack of ditch maintenance. The neglected maintenance was attributed primarily to the difficulty or inability of landowners and the county to secure required Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permits from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
In response to local resident’s concerns, the Whatcom Conservation District (WCD) and WDFW organized several meetings with local residents, county, state and federal agencies, Nooksack and Lummi Tribes to identify and implement a plan to address the acute flooding problems. The plan was developed through a collaborative problem solving process involving all the stakeholders and was led by the WCD and WDFW. This short-term plan is referred to as Phase I. The acute drainage maintenance needs were addressed during the summer/fall of 2005.
The plan also identified some longer-term drainage maintenance issues that could be addressed under a Phase II planning process. The Phase II process would focus on the organizational structure for funding long-term drainage/flood management, for fish restoration needs and opportunities, to insure water quality safeguards, to decide on maintenance schedules and to secure long-term Hydraulic Project Approvals.
At a community meeting in March 2007 about 35 affected landowners decided to pursue creation of a watershed improvement district under Chapter 87.03 RCW. Ten community members volunteered to form a steering committee and with the assistance of the Whatcom County Agricultural Preservation Committee and Whatcom Conservation District, they began the petition process to create a nearly 6,000 acre district to be known as the North Lynden Watershed Improvement District.
Larry Stap - President
Kevin Te Velde