The City of Bellingham and Western Washington University have collaborated on investigations of the water quality in Lake Whatcom since the early 1960s. Beginning in 1988, a monitoring program was initiated by the City and the Institute for Watershed Studies that was designed to provide long-term water quality data for the lake.
Although the primary objective of the Lake Whatcom Monitoring Project is to provide long-term data for the lake and its tributaries, addition research is conducted annually to evaluate the effectiveness of storm water treatment systems in the lake's watershed, and to model the hydrology of the lake. The monitoring project also serves as a foundation for a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate research projects.
Annual reports have been written each year since 1992. In addition, there are a number of special project reports that supplement the annual reports. Printed copies of all reports are archived in the IWS library, and recent reports are available from the City of Bellingham Public Works Department.
Online copies of the annual reports and special projects are available in pdf format from 1998 to the present (Online PDF Reports). The pdf reports are very large documents that duplicate most of the content of the printed reports. Large image files and data reports that are not produced by IWS (e.g., AmTest reports) are not included in the online pdf report
Electronic data are available for most of the parameters sampled by IWS (Online Data Files). Data provided by the City of Bellingham (e.g., coliforms, THMs) and other commercial laboratories (e.g., metals, TOC) are not posted in electronic format, but are included in the printed copies of the annual reports.