We promote sustainable communities and protect the health of northwestern Washington’s people and ecosystems through application of science, education, advocacy and action.

Limit fossil fuel industry impacts to the Salish Sea and communities

Fact Sheet | More background

This fall offers a historic chance to curb dangerous fossil fuel impacts in Whatcom County, and give greater protection for the central Salish Sea. Learn more about what's at stake, what you can do, and a timeline of the coming months here.

Come to a County work session — it's open to the public, but this particular meeting doesn't have time allotted for public testimony. This is your opportunity to learn about the efforts to protect our community and ecosystems from fossil fuel impacts — so you can give effective, helpful, and specific input to the County in the coming weeks as they move forward with proposed land use amendments for Cherry Point. If you don't go, it's mostly fossil fuel industry lawyers packing the room! Soon, we'll need to ask County staff to do everything they can to protect the Salish Sea. Strengthen your understanding of the County's proposals so your voice has the biggest impact it can.


The good news as of August 7th, 2019: The new rules the County Council is considering for approval this fall prohibits new coal, oil, and fracked gas shipment terminals at Cherry Point, and they empower the County to hold existing industry accountable for pollution — which have otherwise had a pass to put nearby communities at risk, and to harm air and water quality for over 60 years. 

These proposed amendments to Cherry Point land use law would be precedent-setting. Huge thanks to all of you who added your voice this year to strengthen these standards! We already have enough hazards from oil trains, tankers and pipelines here — it’s time Whatcom County set legally enforceable standards to protect public safety and the environment. 

Spot and combat pollution with your smartphone!

Tuesday, November 12th
6:00 - 8:00 PM
BP Heron Center
7290 Birch Bay Drive, Birch Bay (map)
PLEASE RSVP to LOlson@co.whatcom.wa.us with subject line "RSVP to Nov. 12 Training Event" 

Thursday, November 14th 
12:oo - 1:30 PM
RE Sources for Sustainable Communities
2309 Meridian St, Bellingham (map) | Details + RSVP

You can keep pollution on land from making its way into the Salish Sea — if you don't notice something strange going down a storm drain, who else will?

Attend a "pollution walk" led by Pollution Prevention Specialist Kirsten McDade, and learn to recognize common pollutants when you see them! She'll also show you how to use Water Reporter on your phone.

Download the Water Reporter app from your app store, join the North Sound Baykeeper campaign, and get to it! Here are some simple instructions to get startedThis guidebook will help you get started on how to notice pollution and notify someone. When in doubt, take a photo and make a Water Reporter post!

Keep an eye out for more upcoming trainings  and you can become an expert at helping catch pollution.

Protect shorelines from climate impacts

Our valuable shorelines — relied upon by oysters, clams, herring, salmon, even orcas — are in urgent need of protection, and
 we have a chance to update the Shoreline Management Program that governs Whatcom's shores. 

Whatcom shorelines provide habitats that are essential for endangered salmon and orcas‘ survival. Learn more about what's at stake and how you can help! 

What's happened so far: Over 500 people signed our petition in Fall 2019 asking Whatcom County to protect our shorelines by better planning for climate impacts, and studying whether we're meeting Washington State requirements that there be "no net loss" to vital shoreline functions over time. Thanks to your input, Whatcom County Council said they would study how well we're achieving the "no net loss" mandate, as well as looking into sea level rise impacts when they approved the new SMP scope in September. We will regroup when the County releases law changes, when the community can give more input. This will happen in January 2020 or sooner. Make sure you hear about ways to make an impact: sign up for our newsletters!

Support this work with a donation!


One spoonful of salmon shouldn't be dangerous: Stopping EPA rollbacks of clean water standards

Limits to pollution that our state established after years of effort are under attack by Trump's EPA — limits that keep anyone who eats more than one spoonful of Salish Sea salmon from harmful levels of heavy metals, carcinogens, and more. 
The EPA intends to revoke Washington State's water quality standards that protect citizens from toxic pollutants that accumulate in fish tissue and are dangerous to people and orcas.

In 2016, the EPA issued strong standards based on years of research, engagement with Tribal Nations, and public comments. But in 2017, industrial polluters filed a petition to the EPA to rescind them. This would have a disproportionate impact on those in our communities that eat the most fish, particularly members of Tribal Nations and Asian Pacific Islanders.

Balancing Water Supply Demands

November 2019 offers a critical chance to advocate for policies that will help address low flows in the Nooksack River, which often leave salmon high and dry in the summer when they need water the most. Washington State will decide how to increase streamflows in accordance with the 2018 Streamflow Restoration Act, and your input will be crucial. Make sure you get our e-newsletters so you get clear, direct ways to take action delivered to your inbox.

Whatcom County depends on a reliable water supply for farms, wild salmon, healthy communities, and the outdoor lifestyle that makes this a special place to live. But plentiful water is not forever guaranteed, so we must work together to ensure enough water certainty for all, now and into the future. There’s plenty of water in the Pacific Northwest during much of the year. But only 10% of our annual rainfall occurs during the summer, when water is in greatest demand by agriculture, homes, and spawning salmon. Whatcom County is at a critical juncture in how we manage our water supply. Your input is needed to help balance the needs of all water users — including salmon. Read more. 

You spoke up, Skagit County heard: Polluting North Cascades mining project paused!

When a massive rock mining project reared its head, hundreds of people like you responded to the call and pointed out the huge costs to water quality, wildlife habitat, and a community of hundreds living near the North Cascades.
Skagit County heard you, and has paused the project and required the mining company to review its impacts. The company may drop the project altogether as a result.

Statewide wins for orcas, clean energy, and more in the 2019 legislature

The health of the environment and Washington residents depended heavily on lawmakers’ choices this year — from a dwindling southern resident orca population to devastating wildfires exacerbated by a changing climate. After a four-month session full of community members calling on their lawmakers to tackle these issues, 42 laws related to environmental and community wellbeing passed!

Read about the successes here, including going 100% clean electricity statewide, sweeping protections for orcas, expediting toxic cleanups, protecting families from pollutants, better oversight for seasonal farmworker programs, and much more.

In collaboration with the Environmental Priorities Coalition, we advocated for and tracked several issues of significance to the people and ecosystems of the North Puget Sound. See the what the final status of key environmental priority bills we watched here.

Salish Splash! Watch us jump for joy (and orca recovery)

This year, the Washington State Legislature passed a critical package of orca recovery bills that address the many threats faced by Southern Resident orcas. Together, we celebrated this win with Salish Splashes in several cities along the Salish Sea!

We challenged friends, family, and colleagues to jump into Bellingham Bay with us — What better way to show your support and enthusiasm for orca recovery than by jumping for joy into the water?  

Last year, we celebrated Puget Sound being designated a No Discharge Zone, prohibiting boats from dumping raw or partially-treated sewage right into the water. See the video here.

Bellingham’s waterfront: New public spaces, new hope for orcas

Did you know there are many ways our little length of shoreline in Bellingham Bay can play a key role in restoring our orca population, even though orcas are rarely seen here? To start a conversation about it, Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures and our North Sound Baykeeper, Eleanor, took eight interested paddlers out on a kayak tour of Bellingham’s waterfront to celebrate Orca Month in 2018. They launched tandem kayaks from Zuanich Park for a close-up look at seven spots along the waterfront — including some sites the public hasn’t had access to for decades.  Read the North Sound Baykeeper's story here on our Clean Water Blog.

It takes a team effort to keep Whatcom County’s water clean

In Whatcom County, we have learned the hard way that we can’t take our good fortune for granted. From the efforts to restore Bellingham’s waterfront, you know that the cost of cleanup far exceeds the cost of prevention. You also know that declining water quality in Lake Whatcom, the drinking water source for 100,000 residents, gets more and more expensive to treat – a cost ultimately borne by you and me. 

To keep Whatcom County special, we need to be vigilant. We need to be careful. And we need to take action when pollution does taint our precious waters. That is RE Sources’ job, and we’ve done it for 35 years – upholding standards of respect, integrity, and always keeping an eye toward the future we are creating for our grandchildren. They deserve a future in which a prosperous community and clean water continue to coexist. Read more.

Waterkeeper Alliance member

Our North Sound Baykeeper is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international nonprofit that strengthens and grows a global network of grassroots leaders protecting everyone’s right to clean water. The Waterkeeper Alliance is made up of over 300 organizations and affiliates protecting rivers, lakes and coastal waterways on 6 continents, with a goal of swimmable, drinkable, fishable water everywhere. Learn more.

If you see pollution, report it! Call the Pollution Hotline:  (360) 220-0556.  
Please take photos and be prepared to discuss location and details about the pollution.

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As a 501(c)(3) organization, RE Sources does not directly or indirectly influence any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.
RE Sources for Sustainable Communities tax ID number is 91-1243957.