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Stormwater Division

Lake Whatcom Management

Lake Whatcom is a multi-purpose lake located in the southwestern portion of WhatcomLake Whatcom County. It is the drinking water source for over 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 as well as in Sudden Valley in sub-basin 3.

The Lake Whatcom Management Program (LWMP) is a joint effort between the City of Bellingham, Lake Whatcom Cooperative ManagementWhatcom 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 which set 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 and sets forth tasks to achieve water quality protection in the following 12 program areas:

  • Land Preservation
  • Stormwater Management
  • Urbanization and Land Development
  • Community Outreach
  • Data Management and Information
  • Spill Response and Hazardous Materials
  • Foresty/Fish/Wildlife
  • Transportation
  • Recreation
  • Utilities and Waste Management
  • Administration
  • Enforcement

Representatives from various departments within the City, County, and Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District are assigned to implement the tasks of the Management Program and to staff the Interjurisdictional Coordinating Team (ICT). The ICT meets twice a month to coordinate watershed management activities between the three entities.

Whatcom County Public Works-Stormwater is 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.

Program Contact:
Kirk Christensen, PE, CSM, Stormwater Manager
Melissa Gehrmann, PE, Senior Engineer
Whatcom County Public Works-Stormwater
(360) 715-7450
WaterResources@co.whatcom.wa.us