Nooksack River Fish Kill

I just received this via email...the Nooksack takes yet another hit.

Washington Department of Ecology news



Help sought to solve fish kill in Nooksack River

BELLINGHAM – A sudden die-off of salmon smolts in the Nooksack River may have been caused by an unknown discharge of chemicals that changed the river’s acidity between 9:30 a.m. and noon on Tuesday, April 17.

Officials with the Washington Department of Ecology and the Lummi Nation are asking people to contact them if they saw anything suspicious dumped down a storm drain or into the river during that time frame or at any time during the last few days.

Lummi Natural Resources Department staff reported 11 dead Chinook salmon smolts (young of the year) and more than 100 dead pink and chum salmon in a smolt trap at Hovander Park when the trap was checked by biologists at noon on Tuesday. No dead fish were observed when the trap was checked earlier in the day at 9:30 a.m. Later on the same day, Lummi staff conducted water quality sampling downstream and observed a drop in pH in the water. The pH is a measure of acidity – the lower the pH value, the greater the acid level.

Separately, Lummi staff collecting water quality samples at the same site on Wednesday afternoon reported a distinct juniper/evergreen chemical cleaner odor from the bank of the river near the boat launch at the Marine Drive Bridge and detected very acidic water with a pH meter.

Water samples and fish carcasses have been collected and sent for laboratory analysis. In the meantime, anyone who may have information about a spill to the river is encouraged to call Ecology’s Bellingham field office at 360-715-5200.

Media Contacts:
Joye Redfield-Wilder, Ecology communications manager, 509-329-3495,

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