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Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Environment, Fisheries Resources, Protection of Endangered Species, Water, Water Resources, Wetlands Conservation & Management

Mission: Community based nonprofit organization strives to recover salmon by engaging our community in restoration, education, and stewardship.

Programs: Habitat restoration: nsea's salmon focused habitat restoration projects have a strong foundation in scientific methodology and are planned and implemented with many cooperative public, private, tribal, and business partners. Project staff led 17 new restoration projects in 2017 including in-stream work, large woody debris (lwd) placement, fish passage barrier removal, and livestock exclusion. In 2017, nsea staff and crew members planted 5,250 feet of streambank with native trees and shrubs and installed 23 lwd structures. Twelve fish passage barriers were removed, which opened 8. 6 miles of habitat above the barriers. Additionally, 59 previous restoration projects, spanning 34,000 feet were maintained.

education: during 2017, program staff trained 46 interns who in turn, volunteered 4,743 hours of their time to support restoration, education and stewardship programs. The students for salmon, fourth grade, salmon-centric education program taught 1,496 students about salmon, salmon habitat and stewardship through 74 day long field trips. Participating teachers of the students for salmon program receive a full curriculum that nsea designed to meet the next generation science standards and classes receive two classroom presentations and one full day field trip at no cost to the school. Students for salmon participants planted 200 trees along local creeks, and most importantly, 93% of students demonstrated an increase in knowledge about salmon, salmon habitat and stewardship.

stewardship: nsea is a community based organization, and strives to engage community members in the process of salmon recovery. Volunteers support many different programs throughout the year, and help a small core staff accomplish far more than would otherwise be possible. Four americorps members and a washington conservation corps crew of six implemented projects, led programs and worked throughout the year to support habitat restoration and stewardship activities. In 2017, nsea's river stewards program, educated 3,772 people through 17 presentations, 17 stream walks, and 12 community events. The river stewards program provides information about salmon, salmon habitat and stewardship activity along the north fork nooksack river during summer months. The stream stewards program engaged 1,302 community volunteers who donated 3,907 hours at 28 community work parties. Volunteers prepared sites, removed invasive vegetation and planted 2,940 native trees along local creeks to help improve salmon habitat. Throughout these programs a total of 8,712 hours of volunteer time was donated to nsea in 2017. Many of those hours can be used as in-kind match to meet grant funding requirements. The dollar value of the volunteer hours donated in 2017 is worth 261,708.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 5

Without a doubt, NSEA is a beloved local nonprofit that does amazing work for salmon recovery in Whatcom County! They have three areas of focus: restoration, education, and monitoring. You can read extensively about their successes in these areas on their slick new website: www.n-sea.org Since 2004, NSEA has removed 70 barriers that made fish migration difficult or impossible opening over 50 miles of habitat that can now be used by salmon! In 2014 (just one year!) they planted 17,343 native trees and shrubs in Whatcom County watersheds, all the while involving the community to participate in widely attended work parties and educating youngsters on the basics of salmon and stream ecology at no cost to their school. And that's just scratching the surface. WOW!

The proof can be seen in the examples of great success that I've listed above. But don't take my word for it (or BHAM's). See for yourself on their website or attend a work party, then you'll know why NSEA is one of my favorite nonprofits.


Board Member

Rating: 4

As a response to BHAM, just want to quickly share that as a board member I felt as though resources were used rather wisely, creatively and thoughtfully in pursuit of its mission. Never did I feel the need to question how money was being allocated or whether restricted money was being mismanaged. Certainly, there are areas of growth, areas to improve. To that end, staff was responsive to the boards request for greater clarity or visibility or safety or whatever the case may be.

To sympathize with BHAM a little, it can be difficult to know the full story of why things are done the way they are. Seems to me, if he or she asked for more information it would have been provided. Dialogues can be powerful to both sides. Perhaps this happened. I don't know. Anyway, those are my two cents. Hope BHAM is able to find some silver lining in the good work at NSEA.


Rating: 1

NSEA scams the public by pulling heartstrings to get people to donate them money, when their money is ill-spent or wasted altogether. Their instream projects frequently upset landowners through their ineffectiveness and sometimes even pose physical hazards to people who come near them (rebar). Their monitoring program is ineffective and data collected is tossed aside by resource biologists. Permanent staff intentionally drive their personal vehicles on company time in order to cash in their mileage and make extra bucks off taxpayer/donators' backs. The biggest outright lie: when NSEA asks for "x" amount of dollars to fund an intern or plant a tree or raise funds for a specific project the money simply does not go where they told you it would. The money goes wherever they want, after misleading you, the good-natured public. Lastly, NSEA's only clear function is to self serve by "educating" youngsters to grow up and become future NSEA supporters through indoctrination.