Whatcom County Shellfish Districts - Enforcement and Education


Letters to Property Owners



The County regulates potential agricultural violations through the Critical Areas Ordinance's Conservation Program on Agricultural Lands (CPAL) program. Enforcement is challenging and not popular using CPAL. CPAL is a complaint based program, but very little resources by Whatcom County are used towards enforcement. Onsite regulations in Whatcom County allow for the enforcement of code related to On-Site Sewage System (OSS) problems. Operations & Maintenance (O&M) enforcement is focused in Drayton Harbor watershed and Lake Whatcom, although ordinance is countywide. In other areas, property owner receive notification of problem areas. Politically, it is not possible to enforce actions in other SPD's.

Education and Outreach

Programs (including community demonstrations and school programs)

Education and outreach is included in each activity of the SPD. Puget Sound Restoration Fund runs a community oyster farm in Drayton Harbor that aims to get local residents involved in clean water through local shellfish. Curriculum has been developed around Drayton Harbor water quality issues. Drayton Harbor also held a 6-month, community-based Volunteer Shoreline Monitoring Project that involved volunteers from the Community Oyster Farm Project. Volunteers monitored 10 stormwater outfalls around Drayton Harbor on a monthly basis. The City of Blaine partnered in this effort by analyzing the bacteria samples. BBWARM has an extensive Education and Outreach Program in the Birch Bay watershed that includes storm water management, pet waste management, and the Clean Terrell Creek Campaign.

Mailings and General Outreach (including O&M manuals, guides)

Whatcom County has experienced problems when dropping off door hangers because property owners are refusing to allow anyone onto their property.

Social Marketing and Behavior Change



A landowner survey was conducted for the priority drainage in the Drayton Harbor watershed. Questions focused on landowners' perceptions and values of the creek, actions they would like to learn more about, incentives that would encourage them to implement new practices, and mechanisms for communicating. There was a return rate of approximately 16%. Other surveys have been conducted in the watershed in the past.

Websites and Social Media

Drayton Harbor SPD's website includes brochures, information about the Community Oyster Farm, quarterly reports to Department of Health, and other information. The BBWARM Education and Outreach website in the Birch Bay watershed includes information on storm water management, pet waste management, and the Clean Terrell Creek Campaign

Events (including workshops, open houses, and dinners)

Whatcom County hosts open houses at Drayton Harbor marina and provides oysters from Drayton Harbor. When they tried to focus on a particular drainage area, they saw low turnout. They are now working on emphasizing local food in general and local crops (e.g., dairies).The SPD hosts an annual Drayton Harbor Shellfish District Open House to get information out to the community on the activities that are taking place to help improve water quality throughout the watershed.

More About Whatcom County Shellfish Protection Districts

Other Shellfish Protection Districts