Lake Whatcom Homeowner Incentive Program - It's HIP
The Homeowner Incentive Program (HIP) provides assistance to Lake Whatcom watershed residents 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.

HIP was piloted under a Washington State Department of Ecology grant from 2011 – 2015. In 2016, enrollment in HIP was on hold while City of Bellingham and Whatcom County staff worked to gather feedback from stakeholders on what worked well in the pilot program and what could be improved. This information was used to develop a new and improved HIP that launched in 2017. Interested homeowners and professionals can now visit the new HIP website at to learn more.  

Program changes in 2017 included:
  • An expanded program area that includes all developed properties draining to basins 1 and 2 (see map).
  • A new interactive website ( to provide customized information about incentives, project types, and options for taking action on your property. 
  • A pool of HIP-certified landscape designers and contractors that have demonstrated their knowledge about HIP projects, the HIP process, and how to best serve their clients through the program. 
  • New tools to simplify project design and streamline permitting.
  • A new partnership with the Whatcom Conservation District to provide dedicated staff support for HIP participants.
  • Other program changes will vary by property size and location.   
For More Information

Interested homeowner should visit the new website and enter their address to check their eligibility and learn more.  

Lake Whatcom Protection

The City and County are 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. For these efforts to be successful, residents must also change the way water runs through and off their properties. 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.

Current HIP Area Map
2015 HIP Pilot Final Report
Infiltration Project Examples
Infiltration Trench
Permeable Paving
Rain Garden