The Birch Bay Watershed and Aquatic Resources Management (BBWARM) District  was created in response to community concerns about water quality, flooding, and loss of aquatic habitat in the Birch Bay Watershed. BBWARM’s stormwater program focuses on protecting water quality and reducing stormwater impacts. Explore our website to learn more about what BBWARM is doing and how you can get involved. 


Update: A public hearing is scheduled for June 18, 2024 at 6pm, to review proposed changes to the BBWARM District’s rate structure, service charge adjustments, and exemptions. The fee increase proposal follows a comprehensive rate study and funding analysis conducted by a financial consultant that took into account BBWARM’s financial obligations over the next ten years. Members of the public are welcome to join the meeting in person, online, or via phone. 

For additional information, read the full press release.

Learn more about how to testify at a County Council meeting.


The BBWARM District service charge has remained unchanged since its inception in 2009. The rates are based on the density of impervious surface area on a property, such as pavement, rooftops, driveways, and parking areas. The average single-family home in Birch Bay has 4,000 square feet of impervious surface and pays $75 annually. Due to the long list of stormwater improvement projects needed in Birch Bay and rising construction costs, it has become clear that a rate study, and likely a service charge increase, is warranted.

In August 2023, the BBWARM advisory committee and county staff hired FCS Group, a public sector financial consultant, to conduct a rate study and funding analysis. The results will help determine the total rate revenue required to meet BBWARM’s financial obligations, including capital, operating, and policy-driven commitments, and allow BBWARM to continue providing valuable services to the community. Comments and feedback from the community were solicited at public meetings in January, April, and May 2024. A final rate structure recommendation is anticipated to be presented to Whatcom County Council in June, at which point there will be a public hearing. If approved, the new rates will go into effect in 2025.


BBWARM Rate Study Policy Paper 1

January 17, 2024 Public Meeting Presentation

April 17, 2024 Public Meeting Presentation

May 8, 2024 Public Meeting Presentation

June 18, 2024 Whatcom County Council Meeting Packet


“Participating in the [Neighborhood Native Landscaping] program to install low-impact natural landscaping turned out to be one of smartest and easiest decisions we made.  We could not believe the wonderful outcome; seeing our yard as a thing of beauty and helping the environment at the same time.” – Pat & Bev Jerns

Pat and Bev have always felt a special connection to Birch Bay. After moving there in 1987, they feel especially responsible for protecting the beauty and health of the area they love. When they heard about the Neighborhood Native Landscaping Program (NNLP) in the local paper, they thought it would be an excellent fit for their property and the bay. Read more about their experience in their Conservation Story.

Are you interested in participating in NNLP? Visit the program website to learn more and complete the online interest form.

NNLP is a partnership between Whatcom County, Whatcom Conservation District, and Birch Bay Watershed and Aquatic Resources Management (BBWARM) District.


Have you ever seen a stormwater-related issue and didn’t know what to do about it? Whatcom County Public Works has a quick and easy way to report problems. This form is sent directly to Whatcom County staff who can help address the issues.  

The link to the form can be found at the top of the Public Works website

Use the “Flooding and Drainage Problems” category on this form to report signs of stormwater infrastructure issues such as: 

Use the “Water Quality - pollution and spills” category on this form to report pollution-related issues like: