EDUCATION & OUTREACH
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is runoff from rain or snow melt that is not absorbed into the ground. As water travels to over our yards, roads and sidewalks it picks up pollutants along the way. Stormwater may look clean, but it can often contain motor oil, gasoline, dog poo, garbage, fertilizer, pesticides and other contaminants. Contrary to popular belief, stormwater does not get diverted to a waste treatment facility, and instead is emptied directly into our lakes, rivers and bays. Managing our stormwater and drainage is key to preserving the health of our local waterways, and protecting public and private property from erosion and flooding.
Surface water runoff is a normal part of the water cycle. Stormwater becomes a problem when it picks up pollutants traveling over surfaces like roads, parking lots, and yards. Impervious surfaces that don’t allow the water to soak into the ground cause stormwater to runoff more quickly, increasing erosion and flooding.
What You Can Do
- Pick up pet waste
- Don't litter
- Dispose of any oils, chemicals or paints properly. Click here for information on safe disposal.
- Practice sustainable landscaping around your home and business
- Maintain vehicles to ensure there are no leaks & use commercial car wash
- If you have livestock, use a farm plan
- If you have an on-site septic system, be sure to maintain it frequently
Every resident and visitor in the Birch Bay Watershed has the power to help solve stormwater problems and protect water quality through their individual choices and actions. BBWARM's education and outreach program is designed to increase public knowledge of stormwater problems and solutions and to promote citizen actions that keep pollution out of the water and reduce drainage problems. Click on the links below for more helpful tips and information on ways you can help keep pollution out of the water and reduce local drainage problems.
Report a Water Pollution Problem
If you witness a spill, chemicals being washed into a stormwater drain, or a contaminated stream, contact Whatcom County Public Works: 360-778-6210 (Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). If it is after work hours, and NOT an emergency, please leave a voicemail. If this is an emergency, call 911 immediately . For more information on reporting water pollution, click here.
Protecting water quality ensures Birch Bay remains safe for recreation and shellfish harvesting. Good water quality also supports a healthy aquatic ecosystem. BBWARM supports Whatcom County's comprehensive water quality monitoring program for the Birch Bay Watershed. Learn more about water quality.
The Terrell Creek Landowner Stewardship Program works to keep Terrell Creek clean. The Chums of Terrell Creek are partnering with the Whatcom Conservation District and BBWARM to bring this program to the upper Terrell Creek watershed. Click here to visit the Chums of Terrell Creek website and learn more.
Are you a horse owner interested in protecting horse health and the environment? This program from the Whatcom Conservation District recognizes horse owners in Whatcom County who have taken actions to improve pastures, reduce mud, manage manure and provide wildlife habitat on their property. Learn more