City and Siletz Tribe Answer Citizens Questions

City Manager David Hawker and Sar Richards from the Siletz Tribe were present at the DLWID meeting for a special order of business designed to answer questions related to the proposed change in the City’s Rock Creek water right that would all the use of lake water for irrigation of the golf course.  Mr. Hawker prepared a answer sheet in an attempt to address many of the issues.  Follows are the questions that were submitted in advance and the answers provided at the meeting. If your are interested in the water permits held or applied for by each party we have located each and made them available for your review at the following links.

Questions from DLWID Staff:

The agreement is for 0.5 CFS = 0.99173157 acre-foot/day or approximately 30 AF a month.  Is this correct?

  • This would represent the maximum as it is based on use 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Actual use would be based on need watering need therefore less than this maximum.

How will the flow be measured?

  • The contract requires that a meter be installed at the Point of Diversion.

At what frequency will it be reported to the state?

  • Usage will be reported monthly and summarized on an annual basis.

Previously as I understand, the Siletz Tribe was pursuing a total of 75 AF of water for the season.  Is there a need for more water than this, and if so why?

  • No, the original request will be adequate.

Will the Siletz POD be limited to 0.5 CFS or will the City be able to access its full water right at that location?

  • The new Point of Diversion will be for tribal use only, the balance of the City water right will remain usable at the original Point of Diversion on Rock Creek.

What other water rights are held by the Siletz Tribe or The City of Lincoln City in our watershed?  I understand there are existing rights for the stream flowing through the golf course, and that new well water rights were obtained.

  • The tribe has ground water permits which they plan to develop.  They have the right to use water stored in ponds and have the right to use water from a seasonal stream which is un-usable after July.

Will these water rights be used if the Siletz POD is approved and if so to what extent?

  • The will be used to the full extent possible which will minimize the used of water from the new Point of Diversion.

Is there any consideration of returning any such rights to the state?

  • If this is approved the tribes pending application for water from Neotsu Creek will be withdrawn.

Is either party pursuing any other water rights?

  • The City is not pursuing any right tributary to Devils Lake.  They have some application or process in a holding pattern on Side Creek.

If so will these applications be terminated?

  • Not Applicable

What is the current amount of fertilizer used each year on the golf course?

  • It varies dependant on local conditions such as rainfall, sunshine etc.  The tribe could provide the board an average use at a future date.

Will irrigating with lake water reduce that load, and if so to what extent?

  • Yes it will be reduced.  Consultants state it will go down drastically.  Follow up question was if Cyanobacteria were toxic to grass.  Paul Robertson answered that it was an impediment to growth.

What is the pesticide and fungicide usage at the golf course?

  • No answer was provided.

Will irrigating with the lake water reduce that use, and if so to what extent?

  • No answer was provided.

Questions/Comments from Jack Strayer DLWID Vice Chair:

Why should we give the tribe something that the lake owners can’t have – irrigation water from the lake.

  • The water is not the lake homeowners or users to give.  It is a senior water right that the City already has.

The lake is NOT to be used for water storage. [The water goes into the lake from Rock Creek in the winter during high flows and the tribe draws it out of the lake in August, when Rock Creek is nearly dry and the lake struggles to maintain its levels].

  • Indicated that this was a statement, no question to answer.

Who would measure and police the pumping?[Once the pump is drawing lake water at 500 gallons per minute – who tells them to shut it off — and the pump will be in the lake forever.]

  • The City and the Water Resources Department will regulate the design of the Point of Diversion which will restrict the usage to .5 cfs.  The City’s historical data on Rock Creek indicates that it never flows below 3 cfs at the original Point of Diversion.

The lake, the lake users and the DLWID gets no benefit of any kind for this transaction.

  • Indicated that this was a statement, no question to answer.

The golf course is a major polluter supplying most of the nutrients in the lake and should  suspend its use of fertilizer – not be asking for lake water.

  • Indicated that this was a statement, no question to answer.

Questions submitted by Mitchell Moore

Since under the historical right the water would normally be diverted prior to entering the lake; would the watermaster allow the tribal use to be subtracted from the inflows during the two months of required balance?  This would only apply if we use the direct measurement method.

  • Yes, a recent check with the Watermaster indicates that it would be acceptable to subtract the usage from the inflow measurements.

Has ODFW been consulted to determine if this will impact their regulation of the lake?

  • No, ODFW has not been contacted as of the meeting.  ODFW has indicated that they will review the application once submitted.

Will the City, tribe and district support new water rights requests by lake front residents for the same irrigation use?

  • The City would not support new water rights applications on Devils Lake.  The tribe did not comment.

What is the specific design for the new diversion structure?

  • It is unknown at this time because it is currently being engineered.

Will the new diversion structure restrict access to any area of the lake? (i.e. boom, fence, signage)

  • It is intended that it will not restrict access to any portion of the lake.

Could the tribe provide an overview of their plans for expansion of the golf course?

  • No response was given.

Will the City and tribe consent to cease use of the water drawn from the lake should the lake reach a pre-determined low water mark?

  • No the City would not support any restriction to the use of their water right.

If so what is the best vehicle to codify this restriction?  Within the point of diversion proceeding or by contractual agreement between City and tribe?

  • Not Applicable

Will the City and tribe consent to a 5 year review to access the impact on the lake and the recreational use of the lake?

  • The City would not have a problem with a review in 5 years but would not support and change in the agreement or water right as a result of the review.

Questions Submitted by Jerry Bottemiller

At what point or location in Rock Creek are the cities water rights? Is it in the creek or in the lake?

  • The location is in Rock Creek approximately 15,000 feet from the lake, it was pointed out on a wall map.

Can anyone actually say where the mouth of the creek is and the lake begins? Is this information mapped, recorded and charted? If so, can this be provided?

  • Stated that Yes you can located it and which was indicated on a wall map.

If the water rights are in the creek and it is away from the lake, are there other tributaries that will feed the creek down stream from the cities water rights reducing the impact of the loss of flow from the pumps?

  • There are two tributaries downstream of the current Point of Diversion.  Since the water will be pulled out of the lake it will have no impact on stream levels because no water will be pulled directly from the creek.

In Jack’s question 2 he mentions the conditions in the summer time when Rock Creek is almost dry? If the water rights are in Rock Creek why then would a pump be placed in the lake? Shouldn’t this pump be place in the creek since the water rights are in the creek?

  • It is not being proposed to reuse the current Point of Diversion because of the cost of constructing a pipe to the location.  It is more environmentally friendly to pull from the lake rather than the creek.

If Rock Creek is at the south end of Devils Lake how does the Siletz Tribe propose getting the water to the golf course?

  • By constructing a new Point of Diversion near the marina.

If the city owns water rights to Rock Creek, how then can “lake” water be used at the north end of the lake?

  • No answer provided

Would pumps installed at the north end of the lake then use other tributaries water sources feeding the lake?

  • No answer provided

Can the ponds be returned to their original functioning state or purpose?

  • The holding pond currently function as designed they could be dredged but one is near a wetland and the gain from this work would be minimal.

Can they be enlarged or additional ones added?

  • They can be expanded and the tribe will likely add more reservoir storage as the course is expanded.

If they were “re-commissioned” so-to-speak, could they not be filled using lake water during the winter months when the lake is high and water is abundant?

  • There are plans to fill the reservoir storage with lake water in the winter months to be used during the dryer season.

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Filed under DLWID, Meeting Reports

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