Cover Story

  May 2024

The Day Bellingham ‘Lost Its Innocence’

by Meghan Fenwick Longtime Bellingham residents remember it well: At 5:02 p.m. on June 10, 1999, the summer evening sky darkened. Across the city, residents stepped outside to witness the 30,000-foot-tall wall of smoke erupting from Whatcom Falls Park. On … Continue reading

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  May 2024

Lake Whatcom Update — Are We Making Progress?

by April Markiewicz In the Harry Potter world, all that is needed to summon fresh, clean water is a magical wand and incantating “aquamenti.” In our non-magical world, however, many of us just rely on turning on a water tap. … Continue reading

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  December 2023

Is Time Running Out?

by Eric Hirst   Streamflow Trends in the Nooksack River Basin The Nooksack watershed provides water for salmon, other fish and wildlife. Its waters also support about 45,000 acres of irrigated farmland and 235,000 people and their homes, businesses, and … Continue reading

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  December 2022

What Is Water Worth in Whatcom County?

by Eric Hirst The long-running drought in the southwest has dramatically lowered flows in the Colorado River, and, therefore, the levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation determined that demand for Colorado River water needs … Continue reading

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  May 2022

About Lake Whatcom

About Lake Whatcom  Lake Whatcom is the primary drinking water source for about 100,000 residents of Whatcom County (see map on page 6). The lake is comprised of three sub-basins from which water samples are collected in October through December, … Continue reading

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  September 2021

What’s Wrong With Washington State Water Law?

by Eric Hirst   State water law is a complicated mess, a piece-by-piece accumulation of disparate laws since 1917. Worse, these laws confound solutions to the problems we face today — climate change and population growth — in managing an … Continue reading

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  July 2021

High Levels of Biotoxin Found in Wiser Lake

Recent sampling at Wiser Lake detected microcystin, a toxin produced by algae, at levels that may be harmful to people and pets. Toxin levels are more than 20 times the maximum safe level established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. … Continue reading

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  March 2021

How Best to Resolve Nooksack River Water Issues

by Eric Hirst Background How can we best resolve long-standing water-resource issues in the Nooksack River Basin? These problems — primarily too little water in the river and streams during the summer — have been recognized for at least two … Continue reading

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  December 2020

Nooksack River Streamflows Are Getting Worse

by Eric Hirst My January 2020 paper published in Whatcom Watch, “Nooksack River: Too Little Water, and it’s Getting Worse,” examined summer flows in the Nooksack River, measured at Ferndale, from 1967 to 2019.(1) These data show considerable year-to-year volatility … Continue reading

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  July 2020

Five Solutions to Whatcom County Water Issues

by Eric Hirst At the February 2020 City Club meeting, Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu asked us to offer five solutions to the problems we think are most significant for the county. Here are my suggestions to deal with our … Continue reading

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