Buildings and Surfaces

Did you know...

Because of impervious surfaces like pavement and rooftops, a typical city block generates more than 5 times more runoff than a forested area of the same size?

You can help!

Participate in the Homeowner Incentive Program (HIP)

Lake Whatcom Watershed residents are invited to participating in the Homeowner Incentive Program (HIP), a cooperative program sponsored by the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County. Program participants receive assistance and reimbursement for materials and technical assistance when they complete projects on their property that reduce runoff and pollution entering Lake Whatcom. Many of these water quality improvement projects also make beautiful landscape improvements. Project examples include riparian plantings, impervious surface removal, lawn removal and replacement, phosphorus limiting rain gardens, infiltration trenches, and porous paving materials.

Get a rain barrel

Rainwater catchment systems (e.g. rain barrels) collect and store rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff that is diverted to storm drains, streams, and lakes. Through the City's Residential Stormwater Retrofit Program, the average participating Lake Whatcom home was able to capture 42% of roof runoff into and through rain barrels. Using rainwater collected in your rain barrel to water your lawn and garden saves you money on your metered water bill, conserves drinking water, and reduces stormwater runoff. Please view the City's Rainwater Harvesting page for more information on how to purchase and install a rainwater catchment system.

Use permeable pavers and porous concretes

Great for patios, driveways, and pathways, permeable pavers and porous concretes are two ways you can reduce the amount of stormwater runoff entering our lakes and streams. Placing stone/mortar pavers closely together across a large area can provide the structural support needed for vehicle or pedestrian use while the gaps in the pavers allow for the stormwater to be infiltrated into the soil (More information).

Porous concretes and asphalts are able to support traffic loads while also containing voids that allow water to drain through the section and be infiltrated into the soil below (More information).

Install a green roof

A green roof replaces conventional roofing with a living, breathing roof system. Green roofs consist of a layer of vegetation over a growing medium on top of a synthetic, waterproof membrane. These roofs can significantly decrease stormwater runoff, save energy, reduce pollution and erosion, and provide habitat for birds and insects. Green roofs can be designed with deep or shallow soil profiles and can be planted with ground cover plants or a combination of ground cover, shrubs, and trees (More information).