Natural Resources

  1. Whatcom County Seeks Input on Public Participation Process

    Whatcom County is inviting residents to share information about their experience participating in local decision-making. A short online survey has been posted to gather the feedback. Learn more...
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The Whatcom County Planning & Development Services (PDS) lobby continues to be closed to public walk-in traffic, however, we are open for appointments. (starting July 1st)  The most efficient way to assist our customers and the public continues to be via telephone, email and video conferencing options; and our application and permit intake processes will continue to be done digitally.
However, if you would like to schedule an appointment to meet with staff we have appointment times available for general permitting, building and land use inquiries. Please complete this appointment request form or call 360-778-5900 to make an appointment.  If you have already applied for a permit--do not use this appointment scheduling option--please contact the assigned planner directly to schedule a meeting. 
We are accepting all applications digitally. To submit an application or permit--email with your application materials. When your application is accepted you will get an e-mail with your permit number and applicable fees. Once your fees are paid your application we will processed for review by Natural Resource staff.

  • Pay for my permit--To pay for your permit or application you will receive an email from staff with the permit balance due.  Once you have received this information you can pay for your permit by the following options:
    • Credit or Debit Card. Call 360-778-5930 please leave a message for the cashier  to arrange payment.  Be sure to leave your name, phone number, permit/application number and site address on your message--the cashier will get back to you ASAP to process the payment.  (there is a 2.35% transaction fee on credit cards, $1.00 for debit cards.)
    • Mail a check payable to Whatcom County Planning to 5280 Northwest Drive, Bellingham WA 98226. (please include your permit number on the check)

Contact Us

One of the greatest assets of Whatcom County is its bounty of natural resources. The forests, lakes, rivers and streams, wetlands, marine shorelines, and wildlife prevalent throughout the county play a large role in making this one of the most desirable places to live in the country.
Environmental Permitting
The Environmental Permitting teams are tasked with reviewing land use and development permit applications for compliance with Whatcom County codes and development standards. 
  • Shoreline Technical Administrators review for compliance with the Shoreline Management Program (Whatcom County Code Title 23).
  • Critical Areas Technical Administrators review for compliance with the Critical Areas Ordinance (Whatcom County Code Title 16.16).
  • Watersheds Technical Administrators review within regulated watersheds for compliance with clearing, impervious surfaces, and tree canopy retention (Whatcom County Code Title 20).

Building Near a Wetland

Planning and Development Services has developed a series of three short videos explaining wetlands – what they are, why they are protected, and how to work through the permitting process if there are wetlands on your property. Follow a husband and wife team as they find out they have a wetland on their building site, how it might affect their plans, and how to protect the wetland while still meeting their goals.

Part 1: What?! Is that a Wetland on my Building Site? With the help of Mr. Frog we meet the Jones’, a husband and wife who want to build their dream home but find their building site inundated after a storm. We follow them as they work with PDS staff and Super Consultant to confirm that there’s a wetland on their property.

Part 2: Why are Wetlands So Important?  We continue following the Jones’ as they learn from Mr. Frog, PDS staff, and Super Consultant why wetlands and their buffers are important and thus protected, how they are delineated, and which rules apply.

Part 3: How Do I Properly Build Near a Wetland? Mr. Frog, PDS staff, and Super Consultant help the Jones’ understand the regulations and how they can properly build near a wetland while still achieving their goals.