News & Events
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Interested in learning about water quality protection and stewardship opportunities in the Lake Whatcom watershed? Subscribe to the Lake Whatcom Lowdown, a quarterly e-newsletter with updates about Lake Whatcom protection efforts. Click here to subscribe. View the July edition and other past issues here.
Posted: July 27, 2021
Curious about the construction near the intersection of Northshore Drive and Britton Road? The City of Bellingham is upgrading a stormwater facility that will treat an astounding 53% of all runoff entering Lake Whatcom through the City’s stormwater pipes. The Park Place Water Quality Facility will use new, state-of-the-art filtration material developed by the City. The new material will not only effectively remove phosphorus and other pollutants from stormwater, but will do it at a faster rate than other existing systems. It will save money and space and get us one big step closer to a healthy Lake Whatcom. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023.
Watershed Work Window Opened June 1
Be Safe and Watch Your Wake
Be safe when you’re out on the lakes. Boating speed rules and no wake zones on Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish keep swimmers and boaters safe and protect the shoreline from erosion. Less erosion is better for water quality and protects shoreline vegetation and property. Review speed and safety rules for Lake Whatcom on our On the Lake Safe Boating page.
Posted: June 7, 2021
Check Your Motor. Protect Lake Whatcom.
Lake Whatcom Policy Group Meeting June 2, 2021
The Lake Whatcom Policy Group will hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday, June 2 at 3:00 p.m. This meeting is a public meeting. To attend, use the link and instructions provided on the meeting agenda.
Posted: May 25, 2021
Look for the Zero
Thinking about fertilizing your lawn this spring? Remember to look for the zero! Local laws prohibit using fertilizer containing phosphorus in the Lake Whatcom watershed. Fertilizer products list three numbers from left to right for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Make sure the middle number is zero. For more information, Phosphorus: Too Much of a Good Thing.
Posted: April 9, 2021
Lake Whatcom Policy Group Meeting February 17, 2021
The Lake Whatcom Policy Group will hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday, February 17 at 3:00 p.m. This meeting is a public meeting. To attend, use the link and instructions provided on the meeting agenda.
Posted: February 11, 2021
We Need Your Help!
Subscribe to the Lake Whatcom Lowdown
The first edition of the Lake Whatcom Lowdown is here! Do you live, work, or play in the Lake Whatcom watershed? Subscribe now to receive quarterly updates about the Lake Whatcom watershed. You can view the first edition and subscribe here.
Posted: February 1, 2021
2021 permits available
Posted: January 27, 2021
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 www.whatcomboatinspections.com.
Posted: December 4, 2020
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.
Get Rid of 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.
Watershed Work Window Closes September 30
The work window for ground disturbing activities closes September 30 in the Lake Whatcom watershed. Ground disturbing activities include clearing vegetation, adding topsoil or fill, and other activities that move or expose soil. Special regulations apply to prevent erosion during the rainy season from October 1 to May 31. Dirty water flowing into Lake Whatcom adds phosphorus, harming water quality and aquatic life. Learn more:
Thank you for taking care to prevent erosion during the rainy season.
Posted September 25, 2020
Lake Whatcom Policy Group Meeting September 23, 2020
The Lake Whatcom Policy Group will hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday, September 23 at 3:00 p.m. This meeting is a public meeting. To attend, use the link and instructions provided on the meeting agenda.
Posted: September 16, 2020
Whatcom Water Week starts this Saturday!
Whatcom Water Week is September 12 - 19. Events this year include a self-guided Lake Whatcom tour on the Chanterelle Trail in Lake Whatcom Park. There are more self-guided tours and scavenger hunts, webinars, interactive games, riddles, and virtual tours so you can learn about Whatcom Water while social distancing!
Visit www.whatcomwaterweeks.org for event details and to learn how to participate in the Explore Some More passport. Each event you participate in will give you the opportunity to enter into a prize drawing.
Want to learn more about water quality in our region?
Check out Water Currents, a new e-newsletter from Washington State University Extension. The Fall 2020 issue includes articles about water quality problems in rainwater runoff (stormwater), toxins leaching from roofs, the “first flush” from fall rains, and a new two-day course for anyone who wants to help clean up our waterways in the event of an oil spill.
Read the newsletter and sign up to get it delivered to your inbox quarterly.
Posted September 9, 2020
Stewards of the Lake Guidebook arriving in mailboxes this week
Stewards of the Lake: A Guide to Living in the Lake Whatcom Watershed will be arriving in Lake Whatcom watershed residents' mailboxes this week. This guidebook provides information and resources to help residents protect water quality and watershed health. Curious about what the government is doing to help? There is information on that too.
Posted July 22, 2020
Lake Whatcom 2020-2024 Work Plan approved
The Lake Whatcom 2020-2024 Work Plan has now been approved by each of the three respective jurisdictions. The Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District approved the plan at their June 10 Board of Commissioners meeting. Whatcom County Council approved the plan at their July 7 Council Meeting. Bellingham City Council approved the plan at their July 20 Council Meeting.
Posted: July 22, 2020
Lake Whatcom 2020-2024 Work Plan and responses to comments now available
The Bellingham City Council, the Whatcom County Council, and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District Board of Commissioners were slated to vote on final approval of the new Lake Whatcom 2020-2024 Work Plan during their meeting on March 25. Instead, approval of the final work plan will occur at upcoming meetings to be held by each of the three respective jurisdictions.
Posted: March 27, 2020
CANCELLED: March 25, 2020 Lake Whatcom Joint Councils and Commission Annual Meeting
The annual Lake Whatcom Joint Councils and Commission meeting is cancelled due to public health concerns related to COVID-19 and in conformity with Whatcom County Health Department's recent emergency declaration regarding large meetings.
Posted: March 13, 2020
Draft Lake Whatcom Management Program Work Plan Available for Review
As Lake Whatcom Management Program partners, the City of Bellingham, Whatcom County, and Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District work together to develop a coordinated five year work plan to meet program goals for the protection of Lake Whatcom and its watershed. The 2020-2024 draft work plan is now available for public review and comment.
Posted: February 5, 2020