Whatcom County annual BEACH report

We monitored four beaches in Whatcom County during the 2023 season:

  • Birch Bay County 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.  

Four beaches in Whatcom County were monitored during the swim season in 2023. Birch Bay County Park and Port of Bellingham Marine Park were sampled every other week 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 2023.

Beach GM STV
Birch Bay County Park Beach 16 36
Larrabee State Park Beach 29 82
Little Squalicum Park Beach 57 244
Port of Bellingham Marine Park Beach 13 22