Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association

What We Do

We improve river, creek and riparian habitat while educating people of all ages so that Pacific salmon and steelhead are provided the best chance for survival. 

Expansively, we:

  1. Improve water quality by planting native plants along degraded stream banks so that it is "just right" for salmon - cold, clean, clear and continuously flowing.

  2. Remove migratory obstacles so that salmon have "room to run" upstream to reproduce and downstream to access the salt water ecosystem.

  3. Improve stream habitat so that salmon can successfully rest, spawn, incubate and grow up before heading downstream to the salt water.

  4. Educate youth and adults so that we build an ethic of stewardship and understanding for the critical needs of Pacific salmon and Steelhead.


We believe that salmon are an essential part of our environment,
culture and economy.


We envision abundant salmon, healthy streams and a supportive,
engaged community.


We strive to recover salmon by engaging
our community in restoration, education and


Springing to life in the 1980’s, a core group of concerned volunteers united to try and reverse the trend of declining salmon runs in Whatcom County. Then in 1991, NSEA incorporated as a nonprofit, becoming one of 14 Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups in Washington State. Rapid growth in the 90's catapulted from a Jobs for the Environment grant in 1993, sowed the seeds for NSEA's resilient organizational structure that lives on to this day. 

Four Key Accomplishments

Access - Opened over 50 miles of stream habitat by removing 70 fish passage barriers in the last 10 years. We often call this giving migratory fish "room to run". 

Education - Over 20,000 students served at no cost to Whatcom County school districts, students or parents over a 17 year period. Programs include both field based and classroom instruction. 

Native Plants - Our crews, students and community volunteers have planted over 250,000 trees and shrubs to turn degraded stream banks into functional buffers that improve water quality.

Salmon Recovery - Within the Salmonid Recovery Plan established in 2005
for the Nooksack River Watershed, NSEA has had an important role in
habitat restoration and protection that is important for recovering the
populations of spring-run (early-run) Chinook. 

Read Our Top 10 Accomplishments of 25 Years