March DLWID Board Meeting Report

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its March board meeting in their offices on Thursday, March 4, 2010.  The meeting was attended by approximately 30 interested parties.

Hot Topics

Septic Tanks – The board was updated on the status of the program and the results of the most recent meeting with City officials.  Following their discussion the board passed a resolution reiterating its support of the creation of a septic program, and requested public involvement in the process. (see related article)

Lake Level – The board heard comments and discussed staff’s suggestion that the dam installation be delayed until June 1st to better accommodate fish migration.  After much discussion, the board passed a resolution to install the dam on the customary date of April 15th but leave the center 8’ section open until June 1st.  The center section will be replaced if lack of rainfall prevents the lake from rising to at least a 9’3” height. Normal operational height of the lake will remain at 9’6” as it was all last summer.

There were several other interesting topics on the agenda for the meeting.  The night included an exciting presentation and lively discussion.  Here’s what transpired.

Dr. Toni Pennington from TetraTech attended the meeting by conference phone and narrated a PowerPoint presentation about the development of a Native Planting Guide for Devils Lake. The guide is nearly complete and will be available for free download through the DLWID website as well as having a limited number of printed copies for distribution. The guide will provide planning and planting instructions as well as a native species guide for developing restoration projects both in the lake and on the shoreline.

The DLWID auditor, Signe Grimstad presented the 2009 audit of the districts financials.  The district received an “unqualified opinion” which grants the highest assurance that the district’s accounting fairly states its financial condition.

An update was provided on the districts efforts to get timely information out to local residents.  The district has begun to distribute regular emails on a variety of subjects.  To date they have 120 email addresses, you can sign up at www.dlwid.org. The district and NoSolarBees have agreed to merge email lists in order to maximize the flow of information to lake residents.  NoSolarBees has further agreed to make it possible to sign up for the DLWID email service on www.nosolarbees.com.

An update related to the Save our Shorelines campaign was provided. It was stated that the goal of this project is to encourage homeowners to plant native vegetation in place of having turf grass and rock walls on their shoreline.  Native shoreline vegetation offers homeowners many benefits, including low maintenance, reduced shoreline erosion, and a beautiful natural landscape.  Restoration projects also benefit the lake by decreasing sediments and other pollutants that enter the lake, including nutrients that promote cyanobacteria.

To kick off this campaign DLWID is seeking 3-5 landowners who meet the following criteria:  Own shoreline property on Devils Lake and have at least 300 square feet available for restoration (e.g. 10×30 feet); sign an agreement to maintain the newly landscaped area; and provide some financial assistance, approximately 25% of the total project, not to exceed $200.

There has been some expression of interest in this pilot project.  It is anticipated that participants will be available Saturday April 2nd to take part in the restoration project.

It was reported that earlier in the year, Hatfield Marine Science Center decided to give their low power radio to Sea Grant. The radio presents a message within a short distance and DLWID has recorded a message with information related to invasive species and Devils Lake. The box is mounted at Regatta Grounds and is now transmitting on 1610AM, it can be heard on the western end of the Lake.

The board took some time to share individual priorities from the goals that were indentified at their February 4th workshop. Goals mentioned in no particular order included; finish septic program, save our shoreline, Thompson Creek Ecoli, investigate renewal of grass carp permit, implement communications plan, sanitary sewers, erosion study, and water levels in canals.  The district’s final list of goals will be selected in a future meeting.

The district selected the 2010 Lake Steward at the meeting.  We’ll keep is a secret and let the district make their own announcement.  Congratulations _____________!

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