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Protect the Lake Whatcom Drinking Water Reservoir

The Watershed Is Not Being Preserved!     The Consequences in Health and Cost!
speak to us: info@lakewhatcom.org
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The Lake Whatcom Reservoir Dam:
The Lake Whatcom Reservoir Dam, looking downstream from the left bank. The smooth water in the foreground is the surface of the Reservoir, acting as a mirror and showing a reflection of the superstructure.

Within the wire cage on the structure are the motors and controls which open and shut the gates, to regulate the flow of water and therefore, the level (depth) of water in the Reservoir. The location of the dam is shown on the map - the bottom image on this page.



It is a reservoir:
The Lake Whatcom Reservoir Dam, looking upstream from the left bank. The spillways and three of the control gates are visible in this view - each of these has a pivot arm (which looks like a fan), and a corrugated gate panel. The fourth gate is hidden behind the brush on the right, but visible in the photo next below.



The spillway in operation:
The small spillway, for fine control of the level of water in the Reservoir, is visible at the right of this image. During rainy periods the larger pivot gates, one of them seen here at the left, will be opened to allow a greater flow out of the Reservoir and into Whatcom Creek, in the foreground.

Location of the dam, in relation to the direction of flow of water through the Reservoir.

View of the Dam from above:
The Dam which impounds water and stabilizes the Reservoir level is clearly seen in this aerial orthofoto. North is up and the water flow is down.



Broader View from above:
In this view, the protective log-boom which crosses the stream north of the dam (about the fourth house) may be seen. It captures floating debris to keep it away from the works of the dam and spillway. To the upper right across Electric Ave., the grassy strip and foot-path is part of Bloedel-Donovan Park.

Whatcom Creek flows south (down) away from the Dam, under the footbridge and out the bottom of the picture.

If you have Earth.Google installed, click here for a KMZ file that will take you directly to the location.



The Workings of the gates:
This annotated view explains the external components of the pivot-gates of the dam. The gate rotates around the pivot, to allow water to flow underneath it and downstream into the creek. The water level behind the dam was raised about four feet above the level of the prior natural lake, whose level varied significantly between rainy and dry seasons, and from year to year.





The City of Bellingham has a page explaining more about the operation of the Dam, in relation to other factors.

click for the City's page

Protect Lake Whatcom: This website is maintained by a concerned citizen, developed for a Citizens' Initiative brought forth in 1999, with the purpose of directing the City to implement Goal #2 of their own 21 Goals for the management and preservation of the Reservoir. Copyright 1999-2008 ©LakeWhatcom.org.
Update: April 13, 2008
Our bottom-line principles are: Protect the water supply in perpetuity -- maintain ecological viability of the lake for natural species -- distribute the financial burden fairly among those benefitting -- take immediate action if prudent -- take definitive action -- avoid actions which cut off future options.
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