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By Kenzie Mahoskey Eager volunteers ready to make a difference in the lives of salmon gathered together on Earth Day for an event run by The Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association. At the World Fish Migration and Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 21, volunteers planted pots with bareroot plants that will eventually be used at restoration project sites along streams with salmon. NSEA Work Manager Amy Johnson said the plants provide shade and will help to keep the water clean by limiting erosion and filtering toxins from stormwater. Rachel Vasak, the association’s executive director, said in an email that the association tries to engage students and volunteers to participate in planting events after the plants have a chance to grow for one to two years in their nursery.   NSEA was founded in 1991 and since then has done over 400 restoration projects, according to their website. The association works at different locations throughout Whatcom County, removing barriers that keep the salmon from being able to swim upstream. Tunnels and dams can act as barriers because they block the water or are too small for fish to pass through, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fish Migration. In addition to the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, there are 14 other groups in Washington dedicated to a similar mission. The groups incorporate volunteers and landowners in their efforts to help the salmon, according to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website. Johnson said NSEA has a no-cost environmental science program called Students for Salmon. The program provides fourth-grade students with hands-on experience and teaches them facts about salmon and how to help. The association welcomes anyone to volunteer. Check out their website under the “get involved” tab for more information.

Volunteers team up to plant trees at the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association's Earth Day event // Photo by Kenzie Mahoskey

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