Lake Whatcom Management
Lake Whatcom is a multi-purpose
lake located in the southwestern portion of Whatcom
County, and is the source of drinking water for approximately 96,000 people in Whatcom County, with about 87,700 people residing within the
City of Bellingham. Drinking water is provided by the City of Bellingham, the Lake Whatcom Water & Sewer District (formerly Whatcom County Water District
No. 10), and a few smaller water associations. Approximately 250 residents draw water
directly from the lake.
In addition to providing drinking water, Lake Whatcom has recreational uses such as boating, swimming, fishing and other activities. About 80% of the
watershed is comprised of forestlands, largely surrounding
sub-basin 3. There are approximately 6,800 homes currently in the
watershed, with a full buildout potential of approximately 8,700. High-density development and development potential
exists around sub-basins 1 and 2 in the Silver Beach, Britton-HIllsdale, Northshore, and Geneva neighborhoods, along with Sudden Valley in sub-basin 3.
Whatcom Management Program (LWMP) is a joint effort of the City
of Bellingham, Whatcom County, and Lake Whatcom
Water & Sewer District to protect and preserve Lake
Whatcom as a long-term source of drinking water. In 1992,
the elected bodies of the 3 entities adopted a set of
6 general and 21 specific goals for Lake Whatcom water quality protection, setting into motion the Lake
Whatcom Management Program. In 1998, an interlocal agreement
was adopted by the 3 entities which formalized the joint
management of Lake Whatcom and provided a stable funding source.
The Lake Whatcom Management Program utlilizes five-year work plans with twelve program areas setting forth tasks to achieve water quality protection. The program areas are:
- Land Preservation
- Stormwater Management
- Urbanization and Land Development
- Community Outreach
- Data Management and Information
- Spill Response and Hazardous Materials
- Utilities and Waste Management
Representatives from the various departments within the City, County, and Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District are assigned to implement the tasks of the Management Program, and also staff the Interjurisdictional Coordinating Team (ICT). The ICT meets twice a month to coordinate watershed management activities between the three entities.
The Whatcom County Public Works Stormwater Division acts as the County's lead division for tasks identified in the five-year work plans.
To learn more, please visit the Lake Whatcom Management Program's website.
Cathy Craver, Senior Planner
Public Works Stormwater Division