Photo by K. Moran, 2014

Lake Whatcom is a vital resource, providing drinking water, recreation and wildlife habitat to our community. The City of Bellingham, Whatcom County, and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District formed the Lake Whatcom Management Program in 1998 to coordinate programs and projects that restore, protect and preserve Lake Whatcom and its surrounding watershed.

Photo by T. Ward, 2015

Our Progress

Learn more about program goals and actions. Track our progress.

Photo by G. Mednick, 2019

Get Involved

Learn more about actions you can take to help prevent pollution and protect Lake Whatcom.

Photo by City of Bellingham, 2018

What's New

Learn more about Lake Whatcom Management Program news, meetings, and events.

Latest News

Planning to boat this winter?

Planning to boat in Lake Whatcom or Lake Samish this winter? Even during the “off” season, Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) permits and inspections are required. Schedule your inspection by calling (360) 778-7975 at least 24 hours prior to launch. Learn more about the AIS program at

Posted: December 4, 2020

Photo by Todd Edison

Lake Whatcom Policy Group Meeting: December 2, 2020

The Lake Whatcom Policy Group will hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday, December 2 at 3:00 p.m. This is a public meeting. To attend, use the link and instructions provided on the meeting agenda.

Posted: November 24, 2020

Lake Whatcom On-Site Sewage System Impact Assessment report now available

The final report for a 2020 study of water quality impacts from on-site sewage systems (also known as OSS or septic systems) on Lake Whatcom’s north shore is now available.

The study builds on a 2017 study that concluded that septic systems along North Shore Road are a likely source of bacteria and phosphorus contamination to Lake Whatcom.

The 2020 study did not find a correlation between human biomarkers from septic systems and phosphorus and fecal bacteria levels, indicating that these septic system contaminants are likely removed by soils prior to reaching the lake.

Download the final reports for both the 2017 and 2020 studies:

Visit our Water Quality page for more information on Lake Whatcom water quality monitoring.

close up of rake and fallen leaves with grass

Get Rid of Your Yard Waste the Right Way

Did recent windstorms leave a pile of leaves to rake in your yard? What to do with all of those leaves? It may not seem intuitive, but yard waste is pollution. You are required to dispose of it properly. Dumping it near ditches and roads, creeks or Lake Whatcom is not a good option.

Leaves, grass clippings, and other yard waste piled near ditches, roads, or water can:

  • Plug storm drains and culverts, causing flooding and increasing maintenance costs.

  • Add excess nutrients and other pollutants to the water, harming water quality and wildlife.

  • Spread invasive plants, harming native vegetation and habitat.