This fall, Whatcom County is updating the rules that protect saltwater and freshwater shorelines throughout the county. These habitats are essential for endangered salmon and orcas‘ survival. Can you help us protect Whatcom’s waters by adding your name to this petition urging Whatcom County Council to make the Shoreline Management Program more protective? There, you'll also see the list of improvements to the Shoreline Management Program we're asking Whatcom County to address.

Our valuable shorelines — relied upon by oysters, clams, herring, salmon, even orcas — are in urgent need of protection, and we have a chance right now to update the Shoreline Management Program that governs Whatcom's shores. 

Here's how you can help:

  1. Email Whatcom County Council in support of "no-net-loss" before September 12th. 

  2. Add your name to the sign-on letter asking Whatcom County Council to safeguard our shores.

  3. Sign up for our Clean Water and Clean Energy newsletters, and we'll keep you informed about actions to take throughout the months-long process of protecting Whatcom's shorelines.
Whatcom County needs to hear from everyone that this program must address the impacts of climate change and sea level rise, and protect Lake Whatcom and the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve. Now is the time for us to speak up for shoreline protection and restoration.

Read Shannon Wright's opinion editorial on the subject to learn more: Save Whatcom County money and plan for sea level rise now. 

Why are stronger shoreline protections so important? 

Shorelines (including streams, rivers, lakes, marine shorelines, and adjacent wetlands and uplands) sustain a bounty of aquatic life, filter toxic substances from rain runoff, provide critical habitats, prevent erosion, and moderate impacts from flooding. Contaminants from stormwater runoff, invasive aquatic plants, and toxic algae blooms threaten drinking water and are damaging critical freshwater shorelines and fish habitat. And the threat of more overwater structures like docks, piers, wharfs, floats and ramps would affect eelgrass and kelp beds that provide shelter for forage fish and juvenile salmon — impacting habitat needed to support the food chain that orcas depend on. The SMP dictates what's allowed to happen within 200 feet of any type of shoreline — that's a huge portion of Whatcom County, and why your voice is so important to hold county officials accountable for keeping shorelines safe into the future.

This is Whatcom County's only chance in the next eight years — during which the effects of climate change will only become more real — to safeguard our shorelines, homes, businesses and our waterfront from rising sea levels, fiercer storms, and haphazard development near these important places. Read more about the Shoreline Management Program update on Whatcom County's webpage.