News & Events

Get $10 Off Your 2023 Annual AIS Boating Permit

During the pandemic, the City of Bellingham offered financial relief for the Whatcom Boat Inspection program by automatically applying a $10 discount to the price of annual Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) boating permits required to launch on Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish. With the end of the Washington State COVID-19 emergency orders, annual permit costs are reverting to the pre-pandemic price structure. But the AIS boating permit discount is still available. Visit whatcomboatinspections.com, and take the AIS Awareness Course. Complete the test to earn your "AIS Awareness Course Certificate" and a $10 online discount code for your 2023 permit purchase. Thank you for being a responsible steward of our local lakes and preventing the spread of invasive species! We look forward to seeing you on the water in 2023.

Posted January 19th, 2023

Lake Whatcom Policy Group Meeting December 7, 2022

The Lake Whatcom Policy Group will hold a hybrid in-person and virtual meeting on Wednesday, December 7 at 3:00 p.m. This is a public meeting. To attend, location information and link to join online are provided on the meeting agenda.

Posted November 29, 2022

Manage your leaves to protect our water

Leaves and other yard debris can pollute our water and cause flooding when managed incorrectly. Instead of piling debris where it may leach excess nutrients or block drainage, try one of the following options:

  • Use FoodPlus!

  • Bring them to a local disposal service

  • If composting at home, use a covered and contained compost system

If you can do so safely, please clear storm drains of leaves and debris or report blocked drains:

  • Whatcom County: (360) 778-6400

  • City of Bellingham: (360) 778-7979 or report online at cob.org/SeeClickFix


Posted: November 22, 2022

October Lake Whatcom Lowdown Now Available

Check out the October issue of the Lake Whatcom Lowdown, our quarterly e-newsletter with watershed updates and stewardship opportunities. This latest issue provides information on the watershed work window closing, Marigold Drive Stormwater Improvements Project, We Scoop photo contest winners, storm drain marking in the Parkstone neighborhood, septic maintenance rebates, and new properties purchased to preserve forest in the watershed. Click here to subscribe! Links to past issues are available on our Resources Page.

Posted November 7, 2022


Lake Whatcom Watershed Work Window Closing

The work window for ground disturbing activities closes September 30 in the Lake Whatcom watershed. Ground disturbing activities include clearing vegetation, adding topsoil or fill, and other activities that move or expose soil. Special regulations apply to prevent erosion during the rainy season from October 1 to May 31. Dirty water flowing into Lake Whatcom adds phosphorus, harming water quality and aquatic life. Learn more:

Thank you for taking care to prevent erosion during the rainy season.

Posted September 23, 2022

Attend a Water Week event September 10-18

Celebrate our local water resources during Whatcom Water Week, September 10-18, 2022. Water Week offers family-friendly events throughout the county with opportunities to have fun, learn, and make a difference. Visit https://www.whatcomwin.org/water-week-events for a complete calendar of events.

There are events of all kinds throughout the county. In the Lake Whatcom watershed, the Self-Guided Lake Whatcom tour is back on the Rufus Creek Trail in the Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve. Check it out anytime during Water Week. Visit Lake Whatcom Park on Tuesday, September 13 from 3-6 p.m. and look for the Whatcom County Public Works Stormwater Division booth to learn about simple ways you can prevent water pollution.

posted September 1, 2022

Curious about Lake Whatcom water quality?

Why does Lake Whatcom have a water quality problem? What can we do about it? Watch this new short video produced by the City of Bellingham to find out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_Ik4f7dvMU

posted August 29, 2022

New boat? Schedule an inspection.

We’re witnessing a surge in lake residents who have recently purchased a new or used boat. Many of the used watercraft are coming from mussel infested waters. Our inspection staff have already decontaminated 22 boats this season, more than the past two seasons combined!

If you recently purchased a boat, call 360-778-7975 to schedule your Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) inspection (and possible decontamination) in advance and avoid delays at the launch. Thank you for helping protect our local waters from aquatic invasive species!

Posted August 24, 2022

Marigold Drive Stormwater Improvements Project

Whatcom County is improving the stormwater system on Marigold Drive in Sudden Valley. This new treatment system is designed to improve water quality from neighborhood run-off entering Lake Louise.

Construction is scheduled for mid-July through the end of September. However, weather and other factors could affect the project schedule and hours. Approximate working hours are 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekdays. Marigold Drive will be limited to single-lane traffic control, and both lanes will reopen on nights, weekends, and holidays.

For more info and updates visit the project web page.

Posted August 18, 2022

July edition of Lake Whatcom Lowdown now available

Check out the July 2022 issue of the Lake Whatcom Lowdown, our quarterly e-newsletter with watershed updates and stewardship opportunities. This latest issue provides information on Lake Whatcom water quality problems, water conservation opportunities, new stormwater improvement projects, what to do if you buy a new boat, recent events, protected lands in the watershed, and a new city moratoreum on multi-family development in the Silver Beach neighborhood. Click here to subscribe! Links to past issues are available on our Resources Page.

Posted: August 12, 2022

Save our Water. Save Your Money.

Rebates are available to help Lake Whatcom watershed residents reduce their water use by installing high efficiency toilets, clothes washers, or irritation controllers.


Looking for more ways to reduce your water bill and help keep more water in Lake Whatcom this summer? Follow the voluntary watering schedule. Let your lawn get a tan! Visit https://www.whatcomwateralliance.org/lawns-and-landscaping for more tips.


Posted July 11, 2022

Be Safe and Watch Your Wake

It's summer finally! Be safe when you’re out on the lakes. Boating speed rules and no wake zones on Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish keep swimmers and boaters safe and protect the shoreline from erosion. Less erosion is better for water quality and protects shoreline vegetation and property. Review speed and safety rules for Lake Whatcom on our On the Lake Safe Boating page.

Posted: July 1, 2022

Check Your Motor. Protect Lake Whatcom.

Check your motor before you head out onto the lake this season: cleaner, low emission motors are required on Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish to protect water quality. Look for the label on your motor and make sure it has at least one star. Visit our On the Lake page to learn more.


Posted July 1, 2022

Watershed Work Window Opens June 1

Are you planning a home improvement project in the Lake Whatcom watershed? Keep in mind that certain projects that disturb or expose soil can only be completed during the “watershed work window” from June 1 to September 30 each year. Limiting projects that move and disturb soil—such as construction and landscaping changes—to dry season months reduces the chance of rainwater washing soil particles containing phosphorus into the lake. Special requirements vary by project type, size, and scope. Before starting any home improvement project, be sure to contact your local permitting center to learn about specific requirements for your project.

For watershed residents living within city limits: City of Bellingham Permit Center (360) 778-8300

For watershed residents living outside of city limits: Whatcom County Planning and Development Services Permit Center (360) 778-5900

Posted May 31, 2022

Lake Whatcom Policy Group Meeting June 1, 2022

The Lake Whatcom Policy Group will hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday, June 1 at 3:00 p.m. This is a public meeting. To attend, use the link and instructions provided on the meeting agenda.

Posted May 25, 2022

Keep Lake Whatcom in Mind When You Mow this Spring

Gather your grass clippings! Your unmanaged grass clippings may add nutrients like phosphorus to our waterways and Lake Whatcom. Nutrients feed algae blooms, which can harm water quality and wildlife. You can help manage your clippings by using FoodPlus!, bringing them to a local disposal service, or composting at home using a contained system. Go to whatcomcounty.us/yardwaste to learn more.

Posted: May 20, 2022

Learn what the Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility accomplished in 2021

The 2021 Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility (LWSU) Annual Report is now available. This utility provides additional funding for Whatcom County stormwater management programs and activities in the Lake Whatcom watershed. Read the report to learn what the LWSU accomplished in 2021 and how utility funds were spent.

For more information visit: https://whatcomcounty.us/2830/Lake-Whatcom-Stormwater-Utility.

Posted: May 11, 2022

April edition of Lake Whatcom Lowdown now available

Check out the April 2022 issue of the Lake Whatcom Lowdown, our quarterly e-newsletter with watershed updates and stewardship opportunities. This latest issue provides information best lawn care practices, Aquatic Invasive Species inspection station information, the Find Fido scavenger hunt, watershed work window requirements, and the new POST water treatment system developed by the City of Bellingham. Click here to subscribe! Links to past issues are available on our Resources Page.

Posted: April 29, 2022

Are you ready for a new boating season?

Help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS)! Remember to purchase your 2022 AIS permit online before heading to the boat launch. You will receive your permit after your vessel passes inspection. Inspection stations at Bloedel Donovan Park and Lake Samish open on Saturday, April 23. Other Lake Whatcom inspection stations will open soon. For inspection station details and 2021 inspection and monitoring results, please visit whatcomboatinspections.com/.

Posted: April 18, 2022

Volunteer Work Party in the Watershed

Help protect Lake Whatcom at a community work party at Euclid Park on April 16 at 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Volunteers will remove English Ivy in this hidden park along Lake Whatcom in the Geneva neighborhood. Removal of invasive species helps native plants thrive, which allows them to better soak up and filter polluted runoff before it reaches Lake Whatcom. Learn more and register at www.volunteerbellingham.org/need.

Posted: April 12, 2022

Look for the Zero

Thinking about fertilizing your lawn this spring? Remember to look for the zero! Local laws prohibit using fertilizer containing phosphorus in the Lake Whatcom watershed. Fertilizer products list three numbers from left to right for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Make sure the middle number is zero. For more information, Phosphorus: Too Much of a Good Thing.

Posted: April 8, 2022

Monitoring results show success of AIS program

The Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program continued to safeguard Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish from invasive species. Monitoring and early detection of AIS is an important strategy of lake protection. Learn more about our monitoring efforts in the 2021 AIS Annual Report.

Posted April 1, 2022

AIS inspection results for 2021 are now available!

The Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program had a successful year protecting Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish from invasive species. Despite high boat traffic and record-breaking heat, crews were able to inspect over 14,400 boats, preventing the spread of invasive species to our local lakes. Learn more in the 2021 AIS Annual Report.

Posted April 1, 2022

"Chanterelle Trail Overlook" By Hannah Montroy

Lake Whatcom Joint Councils and Commission Meeting March 23 at 6:30 p.m.

Curious about Lake Whatcom water quality and protection efforts? The public is invited to learn more about the Lake Whatcom Management Program at an online meeting of the Bellingham City Council, Whatcom County Council, and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District Board of Commissioners. Topics discussed will include water quality monitoring and cleanup efforts, 2021 program accomplishments, and a preview of work planned for 2022.


The meeting agenda, which includes instructions for how to join the online meeting, and additional resources can be found here.


Posted March 11, 2022

Invasive Species Awareness Week

Invasive Species Awareness Week takes place February 28 through March 4. Members of the public are encouraged to learn more about the challenges and solutions associated with invasive fish, bugs, plants and other wildlife that threaten our state’s natural resources. Free online info sessions are offered by the Washington Invasive Species Council throughout the week. Topics include Pacific European Green Crab, Giant Hornet, and the Aquatic Invasive Species Program efforts to protect our local lakes. Register for the info sessions to learn more about how you can be part of the solution.

Posted February 28, 2022

Lake Whatcom Policy Group Meeting February 16, 2022

The Lake Whatcom Policy Group will hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday, February 16 at 3:00 p.m. This meeting is a public meeting. To attend, use the link and instructions provided on the meeting agenda.

Posted February 10, 2022

AIS Permits Available for 2022 Boating Season

AIS boat permits are available for the 2022 season. Even during winter months, Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) permits and inspections are required. Schedule your inspection by calling (360) 778-7975 at least 24 hours prior to launch. Learn more about the AIS program at www.whatcomboatinspections.com.

Posted February 10, 2022

Keep current with Lake Whatcom

Check out the January 2022 issue of the Lake Whatcom Lowdown, our quarterly e-newsletter with watershed updates and stewardship opportunities. This latest issue provides information on native landscaping, the Watershed Watcher program, how to dispose of household toxic chemicals, lost docks, and financial assistance to maintain your septic system. Click here to subscribe! Links to past issues are available on our Resources Page.


Posted: January 31, 2022