Dear Whatcom County Council,
Our valuable shorelines — which oysters, clams, herring, salmon, and even orcas rely on — are economically and ecologically critical for our North Sound way of life. However, these shorelines are in urgent need of protection.
Climate change is triggering fiercer storms and rising sea levels that endanger coastal shorelines (like the storm event that damaged Birch Bay Drive and the Bay Breeze Restaurant in December 2018). Contaminants from stormwater runoff, invasive aquatic plants and mollusks, and toxic algae blooms threaten our drinking water and are destroying important freshwater shorelines and fish habitat. The threat of more overwater structures like docks, piers, wharfs, floats, and ramps would also affect eelgrass and kelp beds that provide shelter for juvenile salmon and herring (the smaller fish they eat) — damaging habitat needed to support the food chain that orcas depend on.
The periodic update of the Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program (SMP) is your opportunity as decision-makers to make vital revisions and reduce the impacts of these threats, many of which we’re already seeing. The latest science needs to be taken into account as the threats of climate change to our region accelerate.
Below are the topics and issue areas we urge you to include in your resolution of scope for the periodic update of the SMP: