The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its May board meeting in their offices on Thursday, May 6th, 2010. I was not able to attend this meeting and this account was created through discussions with third parties.
Lower Lake Level
According to the May Manager’s Report “the Lake Contractor installed the most of dam (sic) on April 19, 2010, raising the lake to 9.1.” Continuing Mr. Robinson states that “through May we will strive to keep the lake at 9.3-9.5’ with pulsing beginning mid month through until (sic) the end of May”. During the meeting board member, Randy Weldon raised concerns of an unidentified lake resident who felt that their property valuation should be lowered for tax purposes due to the loss of their shoreline due to erosion. The district discussed whether they might be liable in this situation. This began a discussion related to the lake level resolution passed in the March board meeting. The discussion continued reiterating the presentation made by David Skirvin during the April board meeting related to 30 water depth measurements taken by himself and Randy Weldon along the Eastern shore of the lake in the mooring slips of docks in an attempt to understand the impact on homeowners of various lake levels.
In recent years during lake level discussions it has been suggested by homeowners that lowering the lake level may impact navigation to their property. Based on the presentation made at the April board meeting some members of the board felt that their research indicated that the concerns of unusable properties were unfounded. It was suggested that the lake level set by board resolution in April should be amended to lower the dam to 9’.0” which is 5.3” lower than last year. The board did not act on this suggestion, however they have decided to vote on the matter in the June board meeting.
Adjust 2010 Priorities
The board took some time to review the individual priorities selected in the April board meeting . In the original list, working toward obtaining a permit for limited re-stocking of grass carp was the number one priority. After discussion, it was decided that this might be too limiting and that the goal should be expanded including the pursuit of grass carp and a review of the Devils Lake Plan. The revised list of 2010-2011 District goals were assigned a priority as follows:
- Control invasive aquatic vegetation
- Finish Septic
- Implement communications plan
- Ecoli Thompson
- Sewer planning for lake
Erosion Study Authorized
Most of the recent discussion by proponents of lowering the lake level has been justified through the suggestion that the current dam height of 9.53” is causing summer time erosion. As a result of their discussion on lake level the board authorized a erosion study. Few details were provided by the board. We would suggest that an independent contractor with erosion expertise be selected who will design a study that will last at least 12 months to capture all lake levels both those created by the district’s impound activities and those controlled by natural processes. We would anticipate that this study would be done while the lake is managed to the current height of 9.53”, otherwise you could not determine if that lake level had an impact on erosion. That said the actual lake level decision will be made at the June board meeting and may not be in line with our suggestions.
There were several other interesting topics on the agenda for the meeting, which are described in detail in the April Managers Report.