Photo by K. Moran, 2014

Lake Whatcom is a vital resource, providing drinking water, recreation and wildlife habitat to our community. The City of Bellingham, Whatcom County, and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District formed the Lake Whatcom Management Program in 1998 to coordinate programs and projects that restore, protect and preserve Lake Whatcom and its surrounding watershed. 

Photo by T. Ward, 2015

Our Progress

Learn more about program goals and actions. Track our progress.

Photo by G. Mednick, 2019

Get Involved

Learn more about actions you can take to help prevent pollution and protect Lake Whatcom.

Photo by City of Bellingham, 2018

What's New

Learn more about Lake Whatcom Management Program news, meetings, and events.

Reduce Your Phosphorus Use

Excess phosphorus can enter waterways, where it causes algal blooms that lead to depleted oxygen in the water. You can limit the amount by learning environmental-friendly gardening techniques and by using phosphorus-free fertilizers when necessary. The WSU Extension Gardening Green Course is a great place to learn.


Fertilizer products list three numbers from left to right for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).  For a phosphorus-free fertilizer, make sure the middle number is zero. Local laws prohibit using fertilizer containing phosphorus in the Lake Whatcom watershed and State law prohibits the sale and application of lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus.

Posted: May 20, 2024

AIS Boat Inspections Now Open

It’s that time of the year again! April 27th marks the start of the 2024 summer boating season for the Whatcom Boat Inspection Program. Aquatic Invasive Species Program staff will be conducting watercraft inspections and decontaminations at four sites in the Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish Watershed. Our season schedule is as follows:

Posted: April 27, 2024

2023 Lake Whatcom Survey Results Available

In 2023, the City of Bellingham contracted ReconMR to conduct the 2023 Lake Whatcom Survey. This survey builds on the 2018 baseline survey and will continue to be conducted every five years to evaluate the effectiveness of outreach efforts and to inform future work plan priorities. Those living within the watershed, as well as visitors and recreationists, play a crucial role in ensuring water quality and the long-term success of the Lake Whatcom Management Program (LWMP).  Read the results of the 2023 Lake Whatcom Survey here. 

Posted 4/4/2024

2023 Whatcom Boat Inspections Report Now Available

The 2023 Whatcom Boat Inspections Annual Report is now available! Read the details of our inspections carried out over the past year along with an overview of our program's activities in 2023 and updates on developments that will influence our work in 2024 and beyond. The report's information is also available through an interactive Story Map. This annual report is an important resource for stakeholders and the community, providing key insights into our ongoing efforts to preserve our lakes from aquatic invasive species. As always, remember to Clean Drain and Dry your boat and other water vessels!

Posted 4/1/2024

Special City Council Meeting: Annual Lake Whatcom Joint Councils and Commissioners Meeting

Mar 27 (Wednesday) , 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

This is the annual joint legislative meeting of the Lake Whatcom Management Program and will include the Bellingham City Council, the Whatcom County Council, and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District Board of Commissioners. At the meeting staff will review Lake Whatcom Program activities completed in 2023 and underway in 2024 to reduce phosphorus and other threats to Lake Whatcom. Participants will also be briefed on the results of the Lake Whatcom Monitoring Project Report from the Institute for Watershed Studies at Western Washington University.

Council members will participate in this meeting in-person in City Council Chambers, 210 Lottie Street, Bellingham, or remotely through the Zoom platform. Members of the public may come to the meeting in person or watch remotely at this link. Council meetings are streamed live via the City’s website at and on the City’s YouTube channel. Meetings are broadcast in high definition on BTV on Comcast channel 321, and in standard definition on Comcast channel 10. Detailed information can be found five days prior to the meeting at

Read the full press release and access the agenda at Lake Whatcom Management Program - 2024 JCC Meeting Resources