One year after the Nooksack River flooded Sumas
It has been a year since the great Sumas flood hit Whatcom County and British Columbia. The flood was extra destructive because it sent a section of the Nooksack River north into Canada, over dry land that is now occupied by homes, farms, churches, and businesses.
Paula Harris is Whatcom County’s river and flood manager. She says that flood opened people up to change. Local leaders have supported her plan to demolish 39 homes in the flood path, and raise 29 others onto taller foundations.
“For the first time in my career here, I can see maybe a vision that could move forward to a final solution," Harris said. "And I really hope we can maintain the focus and we can have a safer community, and I can sleep good when it rains again.”
Climate change has made the Nooksack less predictable, as glaciers on Mount Baker recede, exposing more sediment to erosion.