Properties with large areas of open lawn can unintentionally cause spikes in nutrient runoff during large storm events, even if you don’t use fertilizer. Lawns built over the type of soil surrounding Lake Whatcom simply can’t recycle phosphorus fast enough to hold those nutrients in place.  Installing a water quality improvement can mitigate these impacts, while still retaining a yard you can enjoy.

To get started, learn more about the projects you qualify for by downloading the resources below then follow the instructions to sign up for HIP.

Questions about HIP? Watch a ten minute video about Lake Whatcom water quality, HIP project options, and an overview of the HIP process.




Native Landscaping

Using "right plant, right place" principles, we help you create beautiful, picturesque landscapes that can be low-maintenance and capture phosphorus in runoff to help protect water quality.

Infiltration Trenches

Beneath a winding gravel footpath or landscape feature, a property with well-draining soil can create natural filter for runoff that's hidden from view and improves site drainage.

Upland Filters

If the soil on your site is poor, you can protect water quality by filtering runoff through special sand and rock mixes. Underneath, pipes collect the clean water and carry it safely downstream.


Dispersion projects utilize new or existing landscapes, along with drainage upgrades to carry and spread out the runoff to capitalize on the natural filtering plants, mulch, and healthy soil provide.

Lake Whatcom Rain Garden

Weather hidden within landscaping, or placed front-and-center for increased curb appeal, rain gardens create an interesting look that attracts wildlife and improves site drainage


Even with limited space, you can protect water quality by filtering runoff through a small but highly effective filter. The filter is specifically designed to remove pollutants that harm Lake Whatcom.

HIP-Certified Professionals

Your property qualifies for a reimbursement for professional services. If you choose to work with HIP-Certified Professionals, all of your expenses could be reimbursable.

Curious about native landscaping with HIP?

In this video HIP staff take a tour of a native plant garden to showcase a variety of projects available for reimbursement through HIP.

Next Step:

Sign up for HIP

Sign up today and HIP staff will reach out to share information about the program and how to schedule a site visit. The first site visit not only functions to inform you about the details of the HIP but – more importantly – it helps us understand your unique vision of the future use and appearance of your property.  Starting with and building on your feedback, we will recommend various types of HIP-eligible projects that are expected to work well on your specific lot. Projects we suggest will be hand-selected to ensure that they will be feasible to construct, maximize your available budget, and enhance your property’s distinct character and use–all based on the preferences and vision you share with HIP staff during the site visit.



Sunny Shoreline Landscape Plan

Keeping you connected to the uses along your shoreline, this layout adds privacy from boaters and neighbors.

Shoreline Connection Landscape Plan

Keeping you connected to the uses along your shoreline, this layout adds privacy from boaters and neighbors.

Shoreline Buffer Landscape Plan

Tired of the geese making a mess along your shoreline? This layout creates a barrier that doesn't detract from your water view.

Shady Creekside Landscape Plan

Along streams, use this layout to beautify your property while reducing erosion and flooding

Part Sun Privacy Landscape Plan

Creating a border of native landscaping using this layout grows a beautiful and natural barrier while keeping your views intact.

Backyard Sanctuary Landscape Plan

Use this layout to turn an open lawn area into a private place where you can relax, entertain guests, and attract birds and butterflies.

Sunny Hillside Landscape Plan

Mowing lawns on steep slopes can be a big headache. This layout helps you envision ways to plant your hillside while maintaining that spectacular view.

Deep Shade Landscape Plan

Some native plants thrive in shady areas, where weeds and moss would otherwise grow. Use this layout if you live under tall trees or for the shady side of your lot.