Middle Fork Nooksack River Fish Passage Project

​Project Overview: EN-0047

This is a multi-benefit project which proposes to enhance fish passage at the City's municipal water diversion dam located on the Middle Fork Nooksack River. When constructed in the late 1950's the City's dam was not required to provide fish passage. The dam blocks access to upstream habitat for three Endangered Species Act listed species. A feasibility study will determine a preferred option for an alternative diversion structure to retain the City's diversion capability while restoring fish passage. The project elements include a feasibility study, design, permitting and construction. Construction includes creation of a diversion facility, design and installation of fish screens, and removal of the dam to create anadromous and resident fish passage to an estimated 26 miles of riverine and tributary habitat.

This project is a collaborative effort between various project partners, including the City of Bellingham, Lummi Nation, Nooksack Tribe, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and American Rivers.

The projects purposes are to reestablish fish passage for Chinook Salmon, Steelhead Trout, Bull Trout, and other species at the City of Bellingham Middle Fork Nooksack River diversion dam while maintaining the City's ability to divert water for municipal use.

The project includes several challenges, including a remote site in rugged terrain and in-water work within a highly dynamic river environment.

Funding will come from the following sources: City Water Fund, Cooperative funding agreement with American Rivers. Additional funding opportunities being sought.

Status - December 2017

Accomplishments: Agreement with American Rivers completed.  Design Consultant Team selected.

Next Milestone: Complete feasibility and alternatives analysis study. 

Project Details

  • Status- Design
    • Design Conslutant: HDR Inc.
  • Contract Awarded
  • Contract Amount
  • Contractor

 Related Links

Affected Neighborhoods


Participating Departments



​Stephen Day, P.E.

Project Engineer

Phone:  (360) 778-7944

Public Works Contacts