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July 17 ("Dirty Water" by Blackeyed Susans)
"Turbid water flows into Lake Whatcom from Mirror Creek, the outlet into Lake Whatcom from the City of Bellingham’s diversion from the Nooksack River.... Does this sediment contain phosphorous? Sediment is claimed to be the cause of introducing phosphorous into the lake and degrading water quality."
Aug 1 ("Clear Water" by Toshinori Kondo)
"A view of the same area right at the mouth of Anderson Creek as it flows into Lake Whatcom. The Bellingham-operated diversion has now been shut off. Look at how the clarity has changed. The area around the entrance as well as the water flowing from Anderson Creek appear far different from the turbid cloudy flow that streamed into the lake while Bellingham flowed the diversion water."
This official diagram helps a person visualize how this system works:
(a) Are the agencies doing the pumping and flushing performing the measurements and tests that their permits require?
(b) How does this flushing and turbid water affect the "lake science" data? If the lake data doesn't note this, are land use and stormwater management conclusions correct?
(c) Are watershed and lakefront property owners bearing the brunt of the burden for water quality in the lake? Do these practices impact the lake as much or more than customary land use does?
Those are pretty good questions.
It would be unjust for the general population to have to "restore," "mitigate," "enhance," and suffer crippling moratoriums for harm not actually related to their own actions (to make up for the actions of others). There's a critical principle about damage that requires a direct connection (link or tie) to be proven between action, damage and remedy. A remedy must be proportionate to be fair. In the case of Lake Whatcom, is all the damage done by homeowners ("development")?
Just yesterday the Washington Department of Ecology announced new state LID (low impact development) regulations that will require people to install rain gardens, severely limit impervious surfaces, obtain off-site mitigation, and a long list of other actions, even though a recent cost-benefit study prepared for the City of Bellingham revealed that many "best management practices" (BMP's) for handling stormwater to reduce phosphorous appear to be so outrageously expensive that they probably shouldn't be recommended. WE understand those BMP's are still being enthusiastically pushed by outfits like ReSources and their "Baykeeper" people.
Customary land use, including the advanced forestry practices that have been in place on DNR land in the watershed since the "Landscape Plan" was adopted, may have substantially less impact on the condition of Lake Whatcom's water than what we've been led to believe.
WE look forward to learning more about what's going on, and if the "remedies" being imposed in the Lake Whatcom watershed are proportionate. Stay tuned. Readers - feel free to comment.