BBWARM is the product of a community-initiated effort to protect and restore aquatic and water resources in Birch Bay. Beginning in 1999, residents and businesses around Birch Bay initiated a series of community-led planning efforts that identified problems with local flooding and water quality in the watershed. These initial efforts resulted in the Birch Bay Economic Development Action Plan (2000) and the Birch Bay Community Plan, which was adopted as a sub area plan of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan in 2004. The Birch Bay Community Plan recognizes the importance of stormwater management. It highlights local concern with the rapid rate of development in the watershed and the associated increase in stormwater runoff and water quality problems. Following the adoption of the Community Plan, a second collaborative planning effort between the community, Whatcom County, and a consultant took place between October 2005 and July 2006 to develop the Birch Bay Comprehensive Stormwater Plan. The Stormwater Plan recommends the creation of a stormwater management area with a funding strategy. The plan also recommends a wide variety of solutions to stormwater-related problems in the Birch Bay Watershed.
On March 27, 2007, the BBWARM District was established as a subzone of the Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District (FCZD) to manage stormwater in the Birch Bay Watershed and bring about recommendations made in the Stormwater Plan (authorized by RCW 86.15.025). Supervision of BBWARM is the responsibility of the Whatcom County FCZD Board of Supervisors (authorized by RCW 86.15.050). Whatcom County Council members, by virtue of their office, are the Whatcom County FCZD Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors appoints a five-member citizen advisory committee to guide the BBWARM stormwater program and make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.
Sea Shore Inn on Birch Bay Drive (postcard late 1950s)