Asks support for lake protections

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 7, 2013 

We have known for two decades that Lake Whatcom water quality is getting worse. In 1998 the Washington Department of Ecology officially declared the lake polluted with excess bacteria and insufficient dissolved oxygen because of phosphorous runoff.

Since then, the City of Bellingham has acted to slow the decline in water quality, in particular buying almost 1,500 acres of land in the watershed to prevent further development. The county has been largely indifferent to the issue.

Ecology issued a draft report on phosphorous and bacteria in the lake and asked for public comment by May 28. To date, few people have responded, and the local media have generally ignored this important report.

The report requires the city and county to clean the lake - eventually. My grandkids will likely be dead by the time Ecology expects the lake to be fully restored in 100 years. Ecology asks the city and county "to develop plans" during the next five years, but requires no actions until those plans are complete (in 2018) to actually slow the runoff of phosphorous and other pollutants.

If you care about Lake Whatcom, please email Steve.Hood@ecy.wa.gov by May 28 and tell him your preferences about cleaning the lake. In particular, ask that Ecology require the city and county to adopt additional and stronger measures now to protect the source of our drinking water and this important part of our ecology.

Eric Hirst

Bellingham

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