News & Events

Lake Whatcom Bioswale Tour

posted May 29, 2013, 1:58 PM by Cathy Craver   [ updated May 29, 2013, 2:03 PM ]

Whatcom County Public Works is hosting a Self-Guided Bioswale Tour on Saturday, June 8, 9 AM – 12 PM, in the Silver Beach Creek Neighborhood of the Lake Whatcom watershed.  Rain or shine.  The tour can be attended by bike, foot, or car and is family-friendly.

The tour will include four stations with experts and educators on hand to provide in-depth information through fun, hands-on activities.  


·         ~What a bioswale is and how it works

·         ~Why bioswales are important for Lake Whatcom’s health

·         ~What a stream restoration project is

·         ~What you can do to help


Click here to download a tour map.  Stations are located off of Britton Road north of the Bellingham city limits.

·         Station 1: Lahti Drive Bioswale located on Britton Road just south of Lahti Drive.

·         Station 2: Restored stream channel on the West Tributary of Silver Beach Creek located on Hillsdale Road just off of Britton Road. 

·         Station 3: Brownsville Drive Bioswale located on Brownsville Drive near Brownsville Place.

·         Station 4: Silver Beach Creek Bioswale located at the end of Megan Lane off of Hannah Court. Special incentives and refreshments will be provided at Station Four. 

Event Flyer

 This tour is open to everyone and is being held to provide the community with information about what is being done by Whatcom County to improve water quality in Lake Whatcom and how they can help.  Contact Cathy Craver at Whatcom County Public Works Stormwater at 715-7450 with questions. 


Watershed-Friendly Project Expo

posted May 15, 2013, 9:36 AM by Cathy Craver

Watershed-Friendly Project Expo

Saturday, June 1, 2013  1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Bloedel Donovan Park, 2214 Electric Ave. Bellingham


Homeowners can browse through booths at this free, open-house style event. Meet expert landscapers and contractors, feel samples of watershed-friendly mulches, drain rock, sand, and permeable concrete, and see examples of rainwater tanks, pavers and native plants. Do-it-yourselfers can find experts to answer their questions, while those looking to hire a capable contractor can meet multiple professionals in one day. 

"Our goal is to help homeowners do projects that both meet their personal goals and protect water quality," said Eli Mackiewicz, coordinator of the Lake Whatcom Homeowner Incentive Program. "We want to provide homeowners with the support and resources they need to turn their ideas into on-the-ground realities."

"Around Lake Whatcom, we're trying to reduce the amount of phosphorus that runs off the landscape into the lake, " Mackiewicz said. "Lawns release as much phosphorus in one month as a forest does in one year. Many of the projects Lake Whatcom homeowners are choosing include reducing lawn and increasing native plants, and finding ways to manage runoff on their properties."

This free event is coordinated by the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County with cooperation from Sustainable Connections as part of the Homeowner Incentive Program (HIP). The HIP provides financial and technical assistance to Lake Whatcom Watershed residents who make voluntary improvements to their properties to protect and restore water quality in the lake.


Eli Mackiewicz, Stormwater Engineering Technician
Public Works Natural Resources 

Rain Garden Tour de Bellingham

posted May 15, 2013, 9:36 AM by Cathy Craver

Rain Garden Tour de Bellingham

Saturday, June 1, 2013  9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


The Rain Garden Tour de Bellingham will showcase a variety of local rain gardens, showing homeowners a new way to help prevent stormwater pollution in their yards. Participants will board a bus with local rain garden experts and begin a tour of rain gardens around Lake Whatcom and throughout Bellingham.


Rain gardens are shallow depressions filled with plants that allow stormwater to be captured and absorbed.  Rain gardens function like native forests to filter polluted runoff, and help reduce flooding. When planted with the right types of plants, rain gardens also attract birds, butterflies and bees. 


“A well designed rain garden absorbs the first half inch of rain during a rain event,” says Lee First, RE Sources’ Pollution Prevention Specialist. "That first flush of rain contains the most amount of pollution. Incorporating a rain garden into your landscape is one way you can reduce the amount of stormwater that flows from your property helping to keep contaminants out of our waterways."


While rain gardens are fantastic at removing many troublesome pollutants, improperly installed rain gardens can add to water quality problems when located in sensitive watersheds like Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish,” said Eli Mackiewicz, Stormwater Engineering Technician at the City of Bellingham. "The tour will focus on the special considerations that are taken when designing and installing rain gardens for nutrient-sensitive watersheds.”


Rain garden and stormwater experts from local organizations are collaborating to bring homeowners this comprehensive guided tour, including RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Connections, the City of Bellingham, and WSU Whatcom County Extension. The tour cost is $20 to cover the cost of transportation and lunch. Register at to reserve your space and find out where to meet the bus.


Lee First, Pollution Prevention Specialist
RE Sources for Sustainable Communities



Free Stormwater Facilities Maintenance Workshops

posted May 15, 2013, 9:35 AM by Cathy Craver   [ updated May 15, 2013, 11:27 AM ]

Free Stormwater Facilities Maintenance Workshop for Homeowners and Homeowner's Associations - Saturday, April 20th and Saturday, May 18th.


 Stormwater University will host 2 free maintenance workshops for owners of stormwater facilities.  Workshop topics will include how to maintain stormwater ponds, bioswales, rain gardens, catch basins, oil water separator, and similar stormwater facilities.  Owners of private stormwater systems are encouraged to take advantage of this free training event to learn what you can do yourself and when to hire a professional for assistance.  Proper maintenance of your stormwater system will save you money, protect water quality, minimize potential liability, and reduce flooding and erosion.  Each session will begin with a series of short presentations, followed by field visit to view various stormwater facility types.





Contact: Lee First,  (360) 733-8307

When: Saturday, April 20th - 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Where: Bellingham Technical College, 3028 Lindbergh Avenue, Bellingham - Building G, Rm 103B


When: Saturday, May 18th - 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Where: Skagit Valley Community College, 2405 E. College Way, Mount Vernon - Angst Hall, Room A125

Price: Workshops are free, but an RSVP is requested. Refreshments will be provided to everyone who pre-registers.

Funded by: Washington State Department of Ecology, and coordinated by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and the City of Bellingham.

Gardening Green: Sustainable Landscaping Class

posted May 15, 2013, 9:34 AM by Cathy Craver

GARDENING GREEN:  Sustainable Landscaping Class

8 class sessions: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-1pm, April 23 - May 16

Learn fun, simple, and practical gardening tips that will help you design a beautiful landscape while protecting the health of your family and the environment.  Classes will educate participants on soil analysis, native plants, planting design & plans, low impact maintenance, stormwater management, water conservation techniques for landscaping, and integrated pest management. Class format includes presentations, guest speakers, demonstrations, tours, hands-on activities, and discounts for plant purchases.

Pre-registration required.     Email: or call 671-3891.

Program sponsors WSU Extension and City of Bellingham - open to all!

New NPDES Phase II permits to be issued in June 2012

posted Feb 28, 2012, 9:18 AM by Ingrid Enschede   [ updated Feb 28, 2012, 9:18 AM ]

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is expected to reissue NPDES Phase II permits in June 2012.  The public comment period for the proposed new permit closed February 3rd.  Ecology will issue the final permit after it considers all public comments and makes final changes to the draft permit.  The initial round of Phase II permits was issued in January 2007 and modified in June 2009.  The updated permits will take effect August 1, 2013.  For more information visit the Ecology website.    

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