Bellevue: Clean, Green and Proud of it
Bellevue – rightfully – prides itself on being an unusually clean city, from the streets to the streams. Numerous streams, lakes, and wetlands in the area are termed critical areas and are protected from development. They comprise a natural part of Bellevue’s drainage system. The city has more than 60 miles of streams populated by chinook, coho, sockeye, steelhead, cutthroat trout, waterfowl, and other wildlife. Phantom Lake, Lake Bellevue, and Larsen Lake also provide habitat for fish and wildlife in Bellevue. The city has more than 800 acres of wetlands within its borders. These wetlands slow down stormwater runoff, preventing flooding and erosion.
In order to keep these waters free of pollution, Bellevue enforces penalties for doing so. Bellevue manages stormwater runoff in a variety of ways, following Best Management Practices (BMPs). The city also operates under a federally required permit called the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit. Issues by the Department of Ecology, the NPDES permit is intended to keep pollution from running into the city’s waterways when it rains. When it rains, the water picks up pollutants like fertilizer, oil, heavy metals, and solvents and then runs into the streams and lakes. This pollution harms and kills fish and wildlife and makes the water less safe for human use.