The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its June board meeting in the City Council chambers on Thursday, July 1, 2010. The meeting was attended by approximately 30 interested parties. The meeting was attended by representatives of the City of Lincoln City and Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians of Oregon who made a presentation and answer questions related to use of water from Devils Lake to irrigate the golf course.
Executive Session of the Board: The Board of Directors held an Executive Session preceding their regularly scheduled meeting. The purpose of the executive session was to consider the Manager Employment Agreement, the RARE program participant, the contracts for legal services, payroll services, and minute recording and the employment related performance of each of the personnel currently contracted for such services.
Tribal Use of City Water Rights: The City and the Siletz Tribe made a formal presentation on the agreement they had reached for the use of City water rights to irrigate the golf course. Representatives attempted to answers questions which were submitted in advance as well as those presented at the meeting. (see City and Siletz Tribe Answer Citizens Questions ) Follows is a brief background as provided by Devils Lake Water Improvement District.
Background: “The City of Lincoln City owns water rights on many streams in the area including Rock Creek, Devils Lake’s main tributary. This water right predates the city itself, stemming back to the days of Oceanlake when water was piped from up in the hills, under the lake, and into the village. Since the 1980’s the Rock Creek certificated right has sat mostly idle, but the City of Lincoln City and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon have reached an agreement, pending the State of Oregon’s approval, to pursue some utilization of that water right for irrigating Chinook Winds Golf Course. This would be in lieu of the current method of using chlorinated tap water which originates from Schooner Creek a few watersheds to the south. However instead of using the water at the current point of diversion, three plus miles upstream of the lake, this proposal would create a new access point in the watershed, effectively in Devils Lake itself. “
Generally the presentation indicated that the golf course uses an average of about twelve million gallons of water per year, and the largest use is between mid August to mid September. This is during the City’s highest demand and lowest supply. The golf course’s use represents nearly 2.5% of the total annual water demand, and about 5.5% of total demand during the peak season. Eliminating this demand would extend the water supply and plant capacity to about 350 additional customers. The lake water contains phosphorus, as well as nitrogen, both of which can be used by the golf course turf, which reduces the amount of fertilizer that needs to be applied, some of which would wash into the lake. In other words, nutrients would be removed, rather than added to the lake. The agreement will permit more water to flow into Schooner Creek which is a significant additional benefit. The parties consider the agreement equitable, and quite beneficial to both parties.
Comments made by the public indicated that there are several residents who have concerns about the proposal. Some felt that drawing water 2.5 miles from the point that Rock Creek enters the lake was unusual and effectively was simply drawing water from the lake. Many felt that the Siletz Tribe was getting a right that was not granted to them, that is being able to irrigate from the lake. Summer time lake level was a paramount concern and it was suggested that there should be some restrictions on the agreement should the lake level go below a pre-determined low water mark. Concerns were expressed related to the levels of nutrients that flow into the lake and that it would be elevated as more water would be used with an expanded course and cheaper water bill.
The Board of Directors of DLWID discussed the proposal at length reviewing the answers provided by the presenters. The pros and the cons were weighed and there was not a consensus of opinion on the topic. In the end the Board passed a resolution by a vote of 4-1 indicating unconditioned support for the proposal.
Board Officers: The Board discussed and nominated its officers for the coming year. The new slate is as follows:
- Chair – Brian Green
- Vice Chair – Vice Chair
- Randy Weldon – Secretary
Lake Level Evaporation Calculation : The Board discussed the DLWID water right which requires that in the months of August and September inflows into the lake equal the outflow. Given that the lake is impounded during that time, the height of the lake should be decreasing steadily with evaporation and based on historical data that might be a total of 5″ in the two months. Three options for addressing this were discussed; the direct measurement method where the District would routinely measure all inflows and outflows with a flow meter, the pan evaporation method where the District would set up a station near Devils Lake, and the comparative pan evaporation study where the District would use a long term dataset for average monthly water evaporated, multiply by 0.7 coefficient for applicability to Devils Lake. The Board discussed the various options and decided to contact the Watermaster to seek an exemption from the balancing requirement since there are no individual water rights to protect downstream on the D River.
Several other items were discussed including reports by the Lake Manager on topics such as DEQ 319, Native Vegetation, Septic Systems, and the expansion of District staff.
The District has completed and released the RFP for tasks to be contracted under the DEQ 319 Grant. DEQ has mentioned their interest in having Devils Lake included in the upcoming review on the Mid-Coast Watershed. If they are successful in lobbying for Devils Lakes inclusion, they would like to develop a nutrient model for the basin.
The Native Planting Guide is available for review and the District announced their intentions to begin distribution of the guide to area nurseries and landscapers and will place the document online for download we will provide a link as soon as it is available.
An update was provided on the Septic Tank Revitalization Program which indicated that the City’s estimate for a septic system draft is mid July. DLWID has developed a filing system for properties that abut the lake and properties that are on septic. The filing system is color coded and is searchable.
The Save our Shoreline Campaign was discussed and the Board indicated that they are confident in the way that this program is progressing. The three initial plantings cost the District $1,285. This cost equates to $15 a linear foot of shoreline or just over $1 per square foot. The Board discussed the future funding and scope of these projects including how the District wants to fund plantings and who is eligible? The board found that cost sharing with lakefront homeowners is a suitable incentive to promote shoreline plantings and it should continue into the fall up to $3,000. The District should investigate DSL permits that would allow planting to the waters edge.
The DLWID Communications Plan that was originally developed by the Communications Committee has been reviewed and updated by District staff. The updated plan was provided to the board for their review and input. The Board provided its feedback to be input into the plan for future adoption. Additionally modifications to the Cyanobacteria monitoring posting language was provided for Board review; the material was defered to the next meeting for final approvial.
An update related to DNA testing on Thompson Creek was provided indicated that the District has ordered some of the equipment and is still investigating testing supplies. The DEQ suggested looking at other tracers for human impact that the District might consider, specifically caffeine or birth control metabolites. It is anticipated that testing could begin within the next month.
District staff has created an Erosion Study RFP and presented it to the Board for review. After a few questions it was decided to release the RFP for bid.
The District Manager has been advocating for additional staff. At the meeting several options were discussed including full time and part time options as well as a possibility of job sharing with the City. The position was initially titled a Project Management Specialist and would include work on water quality testing, Save our Shoreline, Septic Tank Revitalization, grant writing and educational outreach. The Board discussed the options and decided to send out an RFP for a 10 month full-time position.