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Watershed-friendly Lawns and Gardens

Flower by Kathleen Pate

Lake Whatcom

The City of Bellingham has adopted specific guidelines for materials and practices in the Lake Whatcom Watershed. The City conducted testing of various landscaping products from multiple vendors to learn about phosphorus and fecal coliform bacteria content. In addition, the City has sought the advice of professionals in the landscape field regarding best available soil amendments. Based on this information, the City recommends the use of hog fuel mulch for the Lake Whatcom Watershed. This material provides for helpful soil microbes within a base material that is lower in soluble reactive phosphorus. Information about test results on this and other suitable materials is available from the City of Bellingham by calling the stormwater hotline at 360-778-7979.

Avoid Fertilizers and Pesticides

Avoid use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in favor of natural solutions. Many chemicals associated with these products persist in our soils and water.

Phosphorus-containing fertilizers and products are prohibited within the Lake Whatcom watershed. See the Lake Whatcom Guidelines and Practices for more information. If you live outside the Lake Whatcom watershed and fertilizing is necessary, use organic fertilizers made from biodegradable materials. Use a mulch mower, if possible, to provide nutrients for your lawn and retain more water.


Mow periodically. Higher grass absorbs more water, reducing runoff. Sweep lawn trimmings away from the street and sidewalk. Lawn trimmings left on pavement can wash into storm drains, clogging the stormwater system and adding excess nutrients to our waterways.

Reduce Erosion

Place wood chips or mulch over soil to reduce erosion. Use a barrier such as bricks or wood to contain soil in the garden.

Conserve Water

More Information

M 9/9/2015

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