Updated Monday, November 29th
An aerial view really shows the extent of devastating flooding in Northwest Washington, which has taken at least one life, displaced hundreds, and cost $50 million in damage in Whatcom County alone. We will continue keeping tabs on local water quality, as floodwaters often have contaminants from urban and agricultural sources.
Right now, though, please take advantage of these opportunities to help the hardest-hit in our community — If you’ve already done one thing from this list, consider doing just one more. We’ve also listed a couple tools to help you stay safe as soils are still saturated and floodwaters recede.
- Help Sumas Elementary School rebuild after it was destroyed in the second flood event.
- Support Community to Community Development as they offer direct aid to agricultural workers and families. They have set up a Solidarity Relief Fund which will go directly to farmworker families impacted by this catastrophic event. You can mail a check or visa gift card donation to: Community to Community Development, 203 W. Holly St. No. 311, Bellingham, WA 98225.
- Terra Verde Garden is a small, local organic farm that was hit hard. Support them here.
- Vamos Outdoor Project, works to connect families to environmental education opportunities through fundraising, outreach, and partnerships with local organizations (primarily working with the Latinx and English Language Learner communities), has some relief donation opportunities.
- Opportunities to donate to relief efforts, including efforts for farms and farmworkers compiled by Sustainable Connections
Impacted by flooding? See if you qualify for WA State emergency cash assistance
Governor Inslee designated 14 counties as disaster areas after the severe weather and requested the Disaster Cash Assistance Program be made available to Washington residents who are eligible (you do not have to be a citizen). If you live in Clallam, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Lewis, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Mason, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston or Whatcom County, you may be eligible for a temporary cash assistance grant. Learn more about eligibility here.
Safety tips and flood readiness resources
More winter rain due to climate change (which is increasing stream flows by 16% in the wet season) can lead to river flooding, loss of property, spreading of pollution and more. Preparing is key alongside working together to curb how much the climate actually warms.
- Use well water? Make sure to boil and/or filter your water before drinking! More here from the Department of Health.
- Safety tips for Septic Systems: What to do after a flood. (From the Washington Department of Health). Don’t pump a septic tank during flooded or saturated drain-field conditions!
- Flood Recovery Resources available for Whatcom County
- How to prepare for flooding (King County, but useful region-wide)
- Skagit County Flood Awareness page
- Whatcom County Flood Response page
(Photos used with permission by Larry McCarter).