A Meeting About Protecting Lake Whatcom

by Categories: WaterIssue:

by April Markiewicz and Laura Weiss

Interested in protecting, preserving, and restoring Lake Whatcom, our community’s primary source of drinking water? Please join us at the downtown Community Food Co-op Connections Building (405 E. Holly St.) classroom on Wednesday, September 4, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

People for Lake Whatcom (PFLW) was first formed in June 2002 by residents in our community concerned about the accelerated decline of water quality of Lake Whatcom, the drinking water source for all of Bellingham and half of Whatcom County. Its primary mission is to be an advocate for the protection, preservation, and cleanup of the lake and its watershed through public education and working with local and state agencies.

Over the years, PFLW members worked closely with city and county elected officials, as well as with the Washington State Department of Ecology on Lake Whatcom issues that helped to get dedicated funding for stormwater treatment facilities, homeowner incentive programs, and reduced residential development in the watershed.

For the last several years PFLW has been less active; however, we continue to hear from newcomers to our community who are appalled to see the extensive urban development around the lake, motorboats, jet skis, and planes on the lake, and logging being permitted in the watershed. These practices are putting the safety of our drinking water at risk.

When informed that Lake Whatcom is on a 50-year plan to get cleaned up, the common response is: “That’s too late! We have to take action now!”

As the City of Bellingham’s website says: “The health of this tremendously important resource is declining, and at a pace that is faster than expected.”

PFLW is, therefore, answering the call to action and is hosting a meeting at the downtown Community Food Co-op Connections Building (405 E. Holly St.) classroom on Wednesday, September 4, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

We will have a brief presentation on the current status of the lake, then an open discussion on how we can implement solutions that will protect our drinking water for generations to come.

We hope you will join us! Please RSVP to PFLW20@gmail.com.

PFLW is a state of Washington nonprofit corporation and an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

April Markiewicz is a toxicologist and the associate director at the Institute of Environmental Toxicology at Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, as awell as president of the People for Lake Whatcom Coalition.

Over the last 35 years, Laura Weiss has worked to better protect our environment through policy, advocacy and sustainable business. She has worked for nonprofit organizations, government and the private sector — including as a program director for the Oregon Environmental Council focused on reducing the risks associated with toxic chemicals, as a regulatory toxicologist for the Washington Department of Ecology, and as the founder of GO Box, a reusable take-out container service in Portland, Oregon. Laura earned her MBA in Sustainable Business from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. She also holds a Master of Public Health from UC Berkeley. She has lived in Bellingham for just over a year, and enjoys all the usual outdoor activities that this part of the world offers.