What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is rain or snow that falls on our roads, parking lots and rooftops that is not absorbed into the ground. As the water travels over hard surfaces it picks up harmful bacteria from pet waste, oils, dirt and metals on its way to the nearest storm drain, creek, lake or bay. Contrary to popular belief, anything that makes its way into a storm drain (a.k.a. catch basin) goes straight to the nearest waterway (creek/bay) with little or no treatment. Hence, the importance of “only rain down the drain!”

Stormwater Problems

Surface water runoff is a normal part of the water cycle. Stormwater becomes a problem when it picks up pollutants, or causes flooding and erosion. Impervious surfaces that don’t allow the water to soak into the ground cause stormwater to runoff more quickly. This can lead to increased erosion and flooding. 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.

You Can Help Prevent Pollution and Flooding in Birch Bay!

Pollution prevention actions:

Flooding and erosion prevention actions:

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

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: 360-778-6230 (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.

Picking up pet waste and putting it in the trash is a simple thing pet owners can do to keep bacteria and other pathogens out of our streams and Birch Bay.  BBWARM and community volunteers make it easy by maintaining the pet waste stations around Birch Bay Drive. Learn more

Homeowners can make simple changes in their landscaping and gardening practices to help keep stormwater clean and slow down runoff. 

Learn more

Vehicle pollutants on roadways will drain directly into our lakes, rivers and bays. Find out how you can maintain your vehicle responsibly to help protect our local waterways.        

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Many homeowners associations and commercial properties are responsible for stormwater systems like stormwater ponds. Regularly inspecting and maintaining these systems keeps repair costs down and ensures they work properly to slow down and clean up stormwater. 

Learn more

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