LakeWhatcom Initiative Logo  Precious Water in a Glass, (c)1999 by Alice Clark

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--- Protect the Lake Whatcom Reservoir ---
It's the Drinking Water for 87,000 people  
It Is Not Being Preserved!     How Long -- Until We Pay Dearly?
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The Silver Beach neighborhood is one of the most critically affected sections of the Lake Whatcom Reservoir watershed, because of the urban development and the density and age of it. The color-shading of the map shows which lands drain into the lake -- and which drain away from it. The dark blue line is the divide - running from top-right to lower-left. Grey-shading is outside; green-shading is inside.)

Silver Beach Creek is the principal drainage; it (cyan-colored, at the right center) enters the lake at the northernmost point of the lake. There has been much recent land development and building -- and much of that has been poorly managed for drainage control, in spite of the City's "Silver-Beach Ordinance", a stab at getting people to do better by limiting the "impervious surface area" when new construction is done, and not having erodible bare soil in the rainy season.

The corner of Northshore Drive and Britton Road, also at the upper point of the Lake, is home to one "famous" (infamous?) and one mysterious stormwater treatment facility by the City of Bellingham in attempts to control the pollution harm done by stormwater runoff into the lake. The Park Place Drain is an open pond with a purposeful design, intended to clean bad stuff from the water that flows in, so only good water would flow out into the Lake. But even the most gracious review will say it has been a dismal failure; at least one set of pollutant samples showing that the discharge was worse than the inflow. It is also generally considered to be ugly - a pond tightly-encircled by a chain-link fence. In 2001, the City quietly installed an optimistic replacement - an underground tank on the shoulder of Northshore Drive with unseen internal characteristics -- which will hopefully do the magic of turning dirty water into clean. The jury is out - keep watching

There are hundreds more houselots in Silver Beach just waiting to be built on in this area -- the thin white lines give an idea -- even though much of the "subdivided" area is still really in forest.

The most recent major project is Birch Heights, just off Alabama at Birch Street. We will give credit to the developer, who appears from our observation to be doing a good job so far - in keeping water from running off the project. But only "now" (May 2007) have they done the fill of the huge hole that contains the treatment tank. Stay watchful, for increased likelihood of runoff from the new ground-surface at street-level.

Another factor is boats -- almost all the waterfront lots have a pier, so there are about a hundred places to do powerboat launching on the Lake. They use fossil-fuels, some burning them well and others poorly; the two-cycle engines dumping unburned fuel mixed with engine-oil out the exhaust. Into our drinking-water.

A few years ago, a proposal to create a new thru-traffic route by connecting Alabama to Barkley, was shelved when the neighbors expressed grave concern to City Hall. The mouse can roar.

What more, that you would not want in your tap-water, lurks near or in the Reservoir?

The Silver Beach neighborhood
silverbeach map

Birch Heights development Plat map:
Birch Heights Plat map

Not to Barkley
not-to-barkley map
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The Initiative Group -- Whatcom
360.738.3151 --
this is the Silver Beach page:

edited  2007.05.19    mgb