Homeowner Incentive Program

The Lake Whatcom Homeowner Incentive Program (HIP) provides assistance to Lake Whatcom watershed residents within the Bellingham City limits to complete water quality landscape improvements on their property that reduce runoff and pollution entering the lake. Many of these water quality improvement projects also make beautiful landscape improvements. Visit the HIP website to find out if you qualify.

Since 2011, HIP has helped  approximately 200 Lake Whatcom watershed homeowners install water quality improvement projects on their property. HIP is available City of Bellingham homeowners with property that does not meet current stormwater management standards.  For homeowners that live outside of Bellingham City limits but within Whatcom County, see their Native Neighborhood Landscaping Program for similar ways to protect Lake Whatcom!

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Why does HIP matter?

The City of Bellingham is substantially invested in protecting and improving water quality in Lake Whatcom through stormwater retrofits and treatment systems, property acquisition, education and outreach, and regulation and enforcement.  These actions alone are not enough. Private property owners also have a role to play.  Water that runs off of residential properties often carries excess nutrients, pet waste, car oil, and soaps, which all harm the quality of our drinking water source and increase water treatment costs. Taking stewardship actions like installing a HIP project reduces the pollution leaving your property in stormwater runoff flowing to the lake. 

Photo by G. Mednick, 2019

Examples of HIP Projects

Permeable pavers over an infiltration trench

Native landscaping

Media filter drain (MFD) covered with river rock