Chums Success Stories

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.”

Birch Bay Characterization and Watershed Improvement Project Summary of Accomplishments

Citizen Action

  • 44 landowners took action to improve water quality
  • 5,729 feet of fencing established to exclude animals from critical areas
  • 5 manure storage facilities installed and 4 heavy use areas
  • 9 septic systems inspected, 3 repaired and 2 replaced
  • 23 Farms Assessed resulting in 34 Farm plan BMPs installed
  • 1,792 acres of farm land assessed for resource concerns

Habitat Restoration 2012-2015

  • 48,420 feet of riparian area improved and protected
  • 22,000 Native plants established by landowners, volunteers, NSEA and CREP
  • 14 large woody debris structures installed
  • 27 Riparian Projects, resulting in 73 acres of habitat established

Community Engagement

  • 2 Run with the Chums events, engaging over 500 people in water quality education in Terrell Creek
  • 11 water quality and farm plan workshops, 4 project site tours
  • 10 Volunteer work parties, with over 1,200 volunteers
  • 77% of landowners surveyed stated increased awareness of water quality
  • 72% of landowner surveyed recognized Chums of Terrell Creek as a resource for water information

Fish Passage Improvement

  • 6 fish barriers replaced
  • 15 stream miles opened to fish
  • 2012 Lake Terrell Dam made fish passable through improvements
  • Up to 100,000 fish eggs incubated yearly in the Lake Terrell Remote Site Incubator