River & Flood

Response to 2021 Floods

Whatcom County has been working with numerous partners to respond to the devastating November 2021 Nooksack River floods and take action to prepare for future floods.

Watch the July 26, 2022 Update on Long Term Flood Recovery Issues special presentation by Whatcom County staff to County Council

Assistance to Property Owners and Individuals

Flood Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants

One way to reduce flood risks is to work with willing landowners in high-risk areas to either buy their property or elevate their homes. The Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Grants Program uses Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding to reduce the risk of future flood damage to structures in flood-prone areas. Visit our Hazard Mitigation Assistance page for more information.

Whatcom Long Term Recovery Group

The Whatcom Long Term Recovery Group (WLTRG), in collaboration with the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office Division of Emergency Management, is working to provide coordination and recovery services to individuals, families, businesses and communities that were adversely affected by November 2021 floods. Visit our Flood Recovery Information page for more information.

Infrastructure Repairs

Flood Infrastructure

We worked with partners to complete many emergency short-term repairs to levees damaged during the November 2021 floods. Additional longer-term repairs are underway in 2022 and 2023.

Transportation Infrastructure

We completed emergency repairs to 10 county roads damaged by the November 2021 floods.

Flood Hazard Reduction

Everson Overflow Corridor or Everson Flow Split

As a result of the catastrophic November 2021 flooding, a new priority for flood hazard reduction was identified for the area upstream of Everson where water overflows the Nooksack River and flows north to Sumas, Abbotsford, and the Fraser River. A new planning team is working to evaluate flows and identify possible solutions. For more information, visit our FLIP Team Meetings page

Capital Projects

We continue to build capital projects that reduce flood hazards from the Nooksack River and other high flood risk areas. For more information visit our River and Flood Projects page

Flood Management Planning

  • Current Planning - Planning is underway to update the Lower Nooksack Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan.
  • Floodplain Management Who Does What?
  • A new bathymetric (water depth) survey of the Nooksack River is underway by NV5 Geospatial and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This survey will be used to update the lower river hydraulic model and provide critical information for flood management planning. 

Flood Preparedness and Initial Response

  • Learn more about how we prepare for and respond to floods
  • The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is improving Nooksack River flow estimates using new technology, new gaging stations, and improved data. Improved flow estimates will make flood predictions more accurate and aid flood response.

International Cooperation

The Governor’s office is working with the premier of British Columbia on a Nooksack River International Initiative, with details expected later this summer. The State Department of Ecology is  supporting the Governor’s Office’s work on this initiative. The purpose of this work is to improve flood prevention and response across both sides of the border.