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Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility Funding Study Update

posted Jun 19, 2018, 3:25 PM by Ingrid Enschede

Whatcom County Public Works is conducting a study to evaluate funding and rate structure options for the new Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility service area, which is the portion of the Lake Whatcom watershed outside of city limits.  The funding study began this month and will take a minimum of six months to complete.  Whatcom County Council established the Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility Advisory Committee to provide stakeholder input and recommendations on the future stormwater utility rate structure.  Advisory committee meetings are open to the public with designated public comment periods. 
Residents and property owners in the new Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility Service Area are encouraged to visit http://whatcomcounty.us/2830/Lake-Whatcom-Stormwater-Utility to learn more and provide their input.  

Now available on the website:
  • Funding study summary with answers to frequently asked questions
  • Comprehensive list of questions and comments received at the April 18 public meeting with staff response
  • Advisory committee meeting documents
  • Study issue papers
  • Instructions on how to sign up to receive meeting notifications and submit public comments and questions

Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility Advisory Committee Meeting June 6

posted Jun 6, 2018, 11:56 AM by Ingrid Enschede

The first meeting of the new Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility Advisory Committee will be Wednesday, June 6, 2018 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Geneva Fire Station meeting room, 4518 Cable Street, Bellingham, WA 98229.  For more information about this meeting and to sign up to receive notifications of future meetings please visit http://whatcomcounty.us/2830/Lake-Whatcom-Stormwater-Utility

Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility Public Meeting April 18

posted Apr 5, 2018, 11:35 AM by Ingrid Enschede   [ updated Apr 6, 2018, 9:15 AM by City of Bellingham ]

Whatcom County Public Works is hosting a public meeting to discuss the Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility Service Area on Wednesday, April 18, 6:30 p.m. at the Bloedel Donovan Park Multipurpose Room, 2114 Electric Ave., Bellingham, WA 98229.  Property owners in the unincorporated portion of the Lake Whatcom watershed are encouraged to attend to learn about this new service area and upcoming funding plan process.  For more information, visit the Whatcom County website page.















Lake Whatcom Joint Councils and Commission to meet March 28

posted Mar 22, 2018, 11:55 AM by City of Bellingham   [ updated Mar 22, 2018, 4:43 PM ]

Legislators to be briefed on progress in improving the lake
by Mark Gardner, City Council Legislative Analyst / Originally posted on City of Bellingham website on March 21, 2018 (Wednesday)

The Lake Whatcom Management Program invites the public to attend the annual Lake Whatcom Joint Councils and Commission meeting on Wednesday, March 28 in the Bellingham City Council Chambers, 210 Lottie Street. The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. and will be recorded for later airing on BTV. The meeting will be attended by members of the Bellingham City Council, Whatcom County Council, and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District Board.

"This is always a very informational meeting on what the city and county are doing to keep our lake safe and the water drinkable for all. Our staffs do great work on behalf of all who drink the water and love the lake," said City Council Member Gene Knutson, Chair of the Public Works and Natural Resources Committee that oversees Bellingham efforts to protect the lake.

Of particular interest to community members is an open house to be held immediately before the meeting, from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m., featuring posters, maps, and literature about Lake Whatcom programs and planning. The open house provides the opportunity for members of the public to talk with program staff about specific lake issues or initiatives.

The following topics are scheduled:
  • Review of recent water quality trends affecting the lake
  • Update on progress in meeting the Department of Ecology's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limits on nutrients and pollutants in the lake and tributaries
  • Overview of a new stormwater district to fund county water quality improvement projects
  • Status report on progress in developing new parks in the watershed
  • Planned survey of watershed residents
Public comment is scheduled for the end of the meeting. Links to meeting materials can be found below:
Renee LaCroix, Assistant Public Works Director
City of Bellingham Public Works Department
360-778-7966, rlacroix@cob.org

Gary Stoyka, Natural Resources Manager
Whatcom County Public Works Department

Patrick Sorensen, General Manager
Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District 

Report highlights 2017 Boat Inspection Program results

posted Feb 23, 2018, 1:18 PM by City of Bellingham   [ updated Feb 23, 2018, 1:19 PM ]

The Whatcom Boat Inspection Program conducted 12,150 boat inspections at Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish during the 2017 boating season to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species to Whatcom County waters.

While the majority of boats inspected had been properly cleaned, drained, and dried, AIS inspectors intercepted 150 boats transporting vegetation and 175 boats that were wet or were found to have standing water. These boats were of particular concern because standing water can host and spread the microscopic larvae of damaging aquatic invasive species, such as zebra or quagga mussels.

If introduced, the impacts of these invasive mussels would be felt by our entire community. These mussels could attach to and damage public and private infrastructure, make shoreline areas hazardous or uninviting for recreational users and property owners, cause long-term taste and odor problems in our drinking water, and displace and outcompete native aquatic species.

The inspected watercraft came from a total of 285 different water bodies in 26 different states or provinces prior to launching at Lake Whatcom or Lake Samish in 2017, including fourteen water bodies infested with invasive mussels. As watercraft continue to arrive from high-risk waters, the Whatcom Boat Inspection Program remains an important defense in the protection of our local lakes.

The Lake Whatcom Management Program has been operating a mandatory watercraft inspection program since April 2013. Inspections and aquatic invasive species permits are required for all watercraft operating on Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish. Over 40,000 inspections of both motorized and non-motorized watercraft have been conducted to date by the Whatcom Boat Inspection Program. In addition to quagga and zebra mussels, inspectors are looking for invasive aquatic plants and New Zealand mudsnails.

More detailed results from the 2017 boating season can be found in the Whatcom Boat Inspections 2017 Annual Report and by viewing our interactive Story Map that shows the last water body visited by boats entering Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish. For more information visit: www.whatcomboatinspections.com

 

Lake Whatcom Capital Project Plan Update

posted Jul 18, 2017, 12:12 PM by City of Bellingham   [ updated Jul 24, 2017, 12:58 PM by Ingrid Enschede ]

http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/29285
The Lake Whatcom Comprehensive Stormwater Plan was completed in 2008. It includes an analysis of threats to water quality and watershed health and recommended solutions to protect Lake Whatcom. Whatcom County Public Works uses the Lake Whatcom Comprehensive Stormwater Plan to guide water quality treatment project identification and prioritization. All capital projects included in the current plan have either been built or are on the County's current six-year capital project plan. Whatcom County has completed an update to the capital project section of the plan. The update identifies and prioritizes new water quality treatment capital projects within the county portion of the Lake Whatcom watershed (outside city limits).

The update process includes:
  • Collecting information on known surface water problems and possible water quality treatment capital projects from the public and Lake Whatcom Management Program partners. 
  • Engineering analysis to identify and scope new capital projects.
  • Evaluation and prioritization of proposed projects based on preliminary cost estimates and estimated phosphorus load reduction.
  • Developing conceptual designs for priority capital projects.
  • Developing a draft and final addendum to the Lake Whatcom Comprehensive Stormwater Plan.
The Draft Lake Whatcom Capital Project Plan is now ready for review. Should you have questions or comments please contact Kirk Christensen by email or by phone at (360) 778-6210.  Please provide comments on the draft plan by August 4, 2017.  

Lake Whatcom Joint Councils and Commission to meet March 29

posted Mar 22, 2017, 1:43 PM by City of Bellingham   [ updated Mar 22, 2017, 4:52 PM ]

Water quality, homeowner programs to be discussed
The Lake Whatcom Management Program invites the public to attend the annual Lake Whatcom Joint Councils and Commission meeting on March 29 in the Bellingham City Council Chambers, 210 Lottie Street. The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. and will be taped for later airing on BTV.

What does 2016 monitoring tell us about Lake Whatcom water quality? What are the next steps in meeting the State Department of Ecology's requirements for reducing phosphorus and bacteria in the water? What can homeowners do to help reduce phosphorus in the lake? These and other questions will be answered at this meeting, attended by members of the Bellingham City Council, Whatcom County Council, and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District Board.

Staff will review program progress during 2016 and describe expected activities and investments for 2017. Efforts will focus on reducing phosphorus from runoff from public and private land using large public stormwater projects in addition to a revamped Homeowner Incentive Program (HIP). HIP is being expanded geographically, program requirements are being simplified, and incentives for homeowners are being enhanced, with a focus on properties that directly drain to the lake or nearby streams.

Public comment will occur at the end of the meeting. A detailed agenda and the Lake Whatcom Management Program 2016 Progress Report can be found below:
Before the meeting, from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m., staff of the jurisdictions will hold an open house, which will include poster boards, maps, and literature. Staff will be available to answer questions from the public.

Media Contacts:
Renee LaCroix, Assistant Public Works Director
Public Works - Natural Resources
City of Bellingham
(360) 778-7966
rlacroix@cob.org

Gary Stoyka, Natural Resources Manager
Whatcom County Public Works
(360) 778-6218
GStoyka@co.whatcom.wa.us

Patrick Sorensen, General Manager
Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District
(360) 734-9224
patrick.sorensen@lwwsd.org
 

This article was originally posted on the City of Bellingham's website on 3/22/2017 (Wednesday).

Whatcom Boat Inspection Program reports success in keeping invasive mussels at bay

posted Feb 24, 2017, 12:03 PM by City of Bellingham   [ updated Apr 17, 2017, 9:03 AM ]

The Whatcom Boat Inspection Program conducted 9,571 boat inspections at Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish during the 2016 boating season to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species to Whatcom County waters.

While the majority of boats inspected had been properly cleaned, drained, and dried, AIS inspectors intercepted 140 boats transporting vegetation and 201 boats that were wet or were found to have standing water. These boats were of particular concern because standing water can host and spread the microscopic larvae of damaging aquatic invasive species, such as zebra or quagga mussels.

If introduced, the impacts of these invasive mussels would be felt by our entire community. These mussels could attach to and damage public and private infrastructure, make shoreline areas hazardous or uninviting for recreational users and property owners, cause long-term taste and odor problems in our drinking water, and displace and outcompete native aquatic species.

The inspected watercraft came from a total of 256 different water bodies in 19 different states or provinces prior to launching at Lake Whatcom or Lake Samish in 2016, including eight water bodies infested with invasive mussels. As watercraft continue to arrive from high-risk waters, the Whatcom Boat Inspection Program remains an important defense in the protection of our local lakes.

The Lake Whatcom Management Program has been operating a mandatory watercraft inspection program since April 2013. Inspections and aquatic invasive species permits are required for all watercraft operating on Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish. Almost 30,000 inspections of both motorized and non-motorized watercraft have been conducted to date by the Whatcom Boat Inspection Program. In addition to quagga and zebra mussels, inspectors are looking for invasive aquatic plants and New Zealand mudsnails.

More detailed results from the 2016 boating season can be found in the Whatcom Boat Inspections 2016 Annual Report and by viewing our interactive Story Map that shows the last water body visited by boats entering Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish. For more information visit: www.whatcomboatinspections.com

Lake Whatcom Capital Project Plan Update

posted Jan 6, 2017, 9:38 AM by City of Bellingham

The Lake Whatcom Comprehensive Stormwater Plan was completed in 2008. It includes an analysis of threats to water quality and watershed health and recommended solutions to protect Lake Whatcom. Whatcom County Public Works uses the Lake Whatcom Comprehensive Stormwater Plan to guide water quality treatment project identification and prioritization. All capital projects included in the current plan have either been built or are on the County's current six-year capital project plan, the Water Resources Improvement Program. Whatcom County is updating the capital project section of the plan in 2016 to identify and prioritize new water quality treatment capital projects within the county portion of the Lake Whatcom watershed (outside of city limits).


The update process will include:
  • Collecting information on known surface water problems and possible water quality treatment capital projects from the public and Lake Whatcom Management Program partners.
  • Engineering analysis to identify and scope new capital projects.
  • Evaluation and prioritization of proposed projects based on preliminary cost estimates and estimated phosphorus load reduction.
  • Developing conceptual designs for priority capital projects.
  • Developing a draft and final addendum to the Lake Whatcom Comprehensive Stormwater Plan.
Sign up to receive notifications of future public meetings about the Lake Whatcom capital project plan update. If you have trouble using this on-line form, call Remy McConnell with Whatcom County Public Works at (360) 778-6298 and ask to be added to the notification list.

First Public Meeting
Provide your input on stormwater problems in the Lake Whatcom watershed
Thursday, April 28, 2016
6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Bloedel Donovan Park Multi-Purpose Building
Bellingham, WA

Originally posted by Whatcom County in April, 2016 at: http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/2329/Capital-Project-Plan-Update 

Annual Lake Whatcom Joint Councils and Commission meeting set for March 23

posted Mar 21, 2016, 10:47 AM by City of Bellingham   [ updated Mar 21, 2016, 10:47 AM ]

Legislators to discuss water quality, review management program
Community members are invited to attend the annual Lake Whatcom Joint Councils and Commission meeting on Wednesday March 23 in the Bellingham City Council Chambers, 210 Lottie Street. Staff will be available at an information open house outside the Chambers from 6 to 6:30 p.m. The meeting of the joint Councils/Commission will start at 6:30 p.m. and will be aired on BTV10.

This meeting brings together members of the Lake Whatcom Management Team, which includes the Whatcom County Council, the Bellingham City Council, and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District Commission, to discuss efforts to improve water quality in Lake Whatcom, the drinking water source for more than half of Whatcom County residents. The three jurisdictions have worked together since 1992 to coordinate work to improve the health of the lake. At this meeting, legislators will review the Lake Whatcom Management Program 2015 Progress Report, which outlines important work in a number of areas including land preservation, stormwater pollution control, utility improvements, and management of recreation activities.

At the meeting, legislators will also receive a briefing on recent program and funding proposals at the state level to enhance aquatic invasive species prevention activities. The meeting will include an opportunity to provide public comment. 

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