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Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee Records, 1953-1969

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Gilshannon, B.J. Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee
Title
Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee Records
Dates
1953-1969 (inclusive)
1964-1967 (bulk)
Quantity
2 linear feet
Collection Number
XOE_CPNWS0177lwimprovementcomm (collection)
Summary
The Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee Records are comprised of the records of B.J. Gilshannon, the executive committee's chairman, and pertain primarily to water quality and sewer issues around Lake Whatcom, Washington State from the mid- to late-1960s.
Repository
Western Washington University, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Goltz-Murray Archives Building
808 25th St.
Bellingham, WA
98225
Telephone: 360-650-7534
cpnws@wwu.edu
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Languages
English.
Sponsor
Funding for preparing this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Funding for encoding the finding aid was awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Find Related CollectionsReturn to Top

  • Titles within the Collection :
  • An Engineering Report on Lake Whatcom Utility and Pollution Control Investigation
  • Lake Whatcom Planning & Engineering Study

Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee was founded in 1964 in Whatcom County, Washington. It was founded as a fact-finding committee by residents of Lake Whatcom in response to a request from the Whatcom County Health Department and Whatcom County Planning Department that they form a sewer district. Reluctant property owners chose to establish a representative organization, the Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee, in order to investigate sewer district formation and operation. Membership lists are not included in the collection but participants seemed to have been primarily residents of Lake Whatcom.

The mission of the committee was to investigate how best to secure a clean and pure water supply from Lake Whatcom while protecting the financial interests of area residents. Committee members sought to determine how to obtain government help to meet this goal, and also sought community help in maintaining and preserving Lake Whatcom and its surrounding ecological resources.

The records of the Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee deal in large part with the environmental and ecological implications of Lake Whatcom development, especially as regards water quality. This citizen group, led by their Chairman of the Executive Committee, Dr. B.J. Gilshannon, initiated and sponsored water quality and limnological testing of Lake Whatcom water in an effort to establish water quality standards. In addition to water quality concerns, the committee also put forth an effort to inform politicians and government – from city through federal levels – on the importance of the complex Lake Whatcom issue.

A significant achievement of the committee was their work in reactivating the Whatcom Regional Planning Council. In an effort to gain help from other community organizations, the Improvement Committee called for the reinstatement of the Regional Planning Council to help them explore effective ways to resolve the water quality issue at Lake Whatcom. The Improvement Committee hoped to sponsor water quality and sewer surveys of the lake and the Whatcom Regional Planning Council was sought by the Improvement Committee as a partner in seeking funding and planning support for proposed surveys.

The Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee was active at least through the late 1960s. At that time the Lake Whatcom Sewer District 10 had been formed but the committee continued to struggle in their efforts to secure water quality testing and regulations for Lake Whatcom and the watershed of which it is part. The Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee Records cease when their collector, Dr. B.J. Gilshannon, moved away from the Lake Whatcom area.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The records of the Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee span the years from 1953 to 1969. The records were compiled by the head of the Lake Whatcom Executive Committee, Dr. B.J. Gilshannon, who was a resident on Lake Whatcom. The committee began when the Whatcom County Health Department and Whatcom County Planning Departments proposed that a sewer district be formed for Lake Whatcom area residents. Residents responded by forming the Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee. Committee Records end when their compiler, Dr. B.J. Gilshannon, sold his home and moved from the Lake Whatcom area.

Correspondence contains incoming and outgoing correspondence from the Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee dating from 1953 through 1969, the bulk of which is dated between 1964 and 1967. Correspondence includes letters that are primarily business-related between the committee and Whatcom County Commissioners; local, state, and federal politicians; the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; consulting engineers; lawyers; and others.

Statements and Resolutions include statements of position, a statement that was presented to the Washington State Pollution Control Commission, and statements regarding the work of the committee. Resolutions include those produced for submission to the Whatcom County Board of Commissioners and the Bellingham City Council. Also included in this series is a news release from the Department of the Interior regarding a Puget Sound Pulp and Paper Mill Pollution Report released by the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration.

The Projects and Activities documents include a number of grant proposals produced in an attempt to secure funding for water quality testing projects and Lake Whatcom sewer programs. A number of petitions, mostly undated, can be found. Some are in draft form and others include signatures. Meetings and Conference materials contain primarily meeting minutes from both the Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee as well as meetings of other organizations attended by committee members. Finally, contracts include drafts of contract drawn up for water quality and limnological testing project undertaken in cooperation with Western Washington State College or contracting engineers.

Publications and Writings include primarily drafts of reports and papers produced by the committee for presentation to other organizations such as the Washington State Pollution Control Commission. A number of publications from outside sources are also contained in this series. These include the Lake Whatcom Planning and Engineering Study: Preliminary Plan, 1967; “Soil, Water, and Suburbia”, “Wastes in Relation to Agriculture and Forestry”, “An Engineering Report on Lake Whatcom Utility and Pollution Control Investigation”, 1968; and a copy of the Federal Water Pollution Act.

Included in the Whatcom County Regional Planning Council materials are correspondence between the Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee and that organization, as well as minutes from some Regional Planning Council meetings. Of interest in this series are the Whatcom Regional Planning Council Interim Planning Program of 1966-1967, “A Planning Proposal for the Whatcom County Regional Planning Council – Preliminary”, and the Whatcom Regional Planning Council Planning Program for 1967.

There are included in this collection a great number of newspaper clippings dating between 1964 and 1969. These clippings pertain primarily to the Lake Whatcom issue as well as to pollution and water quality issues in general.

Reference Materials contain a variety of articles and pamphlets on issues related to Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee concerns. There is also a small collection of maps of the Lake Whatcom area as well as a copy of an undated Bellingham City Ordinance relating to the issuance of construction permits.

The final item contained in the collection is a scrapbook compiled by the Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee that includes additional newspaper clippings, statements, and copies of correspondence.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee Records, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series I:  Correspondence, 1953-1969Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box-Folder
1/1
Correspondence
1953-1967 January 5
1/2
Correspondence
1967 January 6-1969 January 28
1/3
Correspondence
1969 January 30-1969 April 30

Series II:  Statements and Resolutions, 1957-1969 Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box-Folder
1/4
Statements - Internal
1957 Summer-1967 September 6
1/5
Statements - External
1965 September 7-1967 February 9
1/6
News Release
1967 April 25
1/7
Resolutions
1953 September 24-1969 May 15

Series III:  Projects and Activities, 1957-1969Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box-Folder
1/8
Projects and Grant Proposals
1957 Summer - 1969 April 2
1/9
Petitions
most undated; 1967
1/10
Meetings and Conferences
1962 January 16 & 17 - 1967 May 20
1/11
Contracts
1966 April - 1969 (many undated)

Series IV:  Publications and Writings, 1957-1968Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box-Folder
2/1
Reports
1957-1966 (many undated)
2/2
B.J. Gilshannon drafts and writings
1964-1968
2/3
Lake Whatcom Planning and Engineering Study: Preliminary Plan
1967 October
2/4
"Soil, Water, and Suburbia"
1968 March
2/5
"Wastes in Relation to Agriculture and Forestry"
1968 March
2/6
"An Engineering Report on Lake Whatcom Utility and Pollution Control Investigation"
1968
2/7
Federal Water Pollution Act
undated

Series V:  Whatcom County Regional Planning Council, 1964-1969Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box-Folder
2/8
Whatcom County Regional Planning Council Correspondence
1964 November 5 - 1969 April 11
2/9
Whatcom County Regional Planning Council Meeting Minutes
1966 June 15 - 1967 November 30 (fragmented)
2/10
Whatcom County Regional Planning Council Publications and Statements
1966 July 7 - 1968 November 12
2/11
Whatcom County Regional Planning Council Interim Planning Program
1966 July 7 - 1967 November 18
3/1
"A Planning Proposal for the Whatcom Regional Planning Council - Preliminary"
undated
3/2
"Whatcom County Regional Planning Council Planning Program for 1967"
1967

Series VI:  Newspaper Clippings, 1964-1969Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box-Folder
3/3
Newspaper Clippings
1964
3/4
Newspaper Clippings
1965
3/5
Newspaper Clippings
1966
3/6
Newspaper Clippings
1967
3/7
Newspaper Clippings
1967 (cont.)
3/8
Newspaper Clippings
1968
3/9
Newspaper Clippings
1968 (cont.)
4/1
Newspaper Clippings
1969
4/2
Newspaper Clippings
undated

Series VII:  Reference Materials, 1964-1969 (mostly undated)Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box-Folder
4/3
Articles and Pamphlets
1963-1968
4/4
General Reference
1964-1969
4/5
Maps
mostly undated
4/6
Whatcom County Ordinance
undated

Series VIII:  Scrapbook, undatedReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box-Folder
4/7
Lake Whatcom Improvement Committee Book #1
undated