Whatcom County annual BEACH report

We monitored five beaches in Whatcom County during the 2021 season:

  • Birch Bay County Park
  • Blaine Marine Drive Park
  • Larrabee State Park
  • Little Squalicum State Park
  • Port of Bellingham Marine Park

Larrabee State Park Beach in Whatcom County.

Keeping beaches safe

The Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication & Health (BEACH) Program ensures that marine water is safe to swim and play in and informs the public if water doesn't meet swimming standards. Sampling takes place from Memorial Day to Labor Day. During this time, you can check out current water quality conditions on the swimming map.  

Five beaches in Whatcom County were monitored during the swim season in 2021. Birch Bay County Park and Port of Bellingham Marine Park were sampled every other week. Blaine Marine Drive Park was sampled twice during the season, due to funding constraints. Sampling was conducted by the Whatcom County Health Department. Larrabee State Park and Little Squalicum Park were sampled weekly by Surfrider volunteers. 

See details on each beach below.


Data summary: Bacteria results compared to standards

The chart below summarizes the bacteria levels at Whatcom County beaches in relation to the EPA swimming standard or saltwater swimming criteria. Beaches are considered unsafe for swimming when the geometric mean of enterococcus/100 mL of water is greater than or equal to 30 and the statistical threshold value of enterococcus/100 mL is greater than or equal to 110. We issue a public swimming advisory when enterococcus levels exceed 104 per 100 mL of water.

Table: Calculated geometric mean and statistical threshold value at Whatcom County beaches (in enterococcus per 100 mL) for 2021.

Beach

GM

STV

Birch Bay County Park Beach

10

13

Blaine Marine Drive Park

12

20

Larrabee State Park Beach

16

44

Little Squalicum Park Beach

99

1114

Port of Bellingham Marine Park Beach

26

171