Large Crowd at Hearing on Lake Level

Many Interested Parties Attend This First Meeting

It’s hard to believe that this issue was debated during board meetings in 2009, and again in board meetings in 2010.  In 2011 the debate morphed into the erosion study with resulted in low lake levels beyond the 4th of July.  Tonight by my count 61 people came to the meeting to share their opinions with the board.

The meeting began with the lake manager walking through a presentation in favor of lowering the lake and/or never installing the dam.  He cited the request of un-named residents, the results of the erosions study, threatened Coho runs and overall lake health as reasons.  The presentation was 84 slides long and can be found at the previous link.  The manager presentation lasted ss hours and was followed by a board question and answer period.  The first member of the public was able to begin at 6:50pm.  A total of 25 came to the podium and spoke.

The board was presented a petition that was signed by 200 citizens interesting in the lake.  The petition requests them to leave the current policy in place with the lake held at 9.53 feet.  Several comments from those petitioners were read into the record.

They were given some advice as local elected officials; that they wield considerable power over a number of important community matters. With this power comes the expectation that they will hold themselves to the highest ethical standards. This means exercising their power in the public’s interests, as opposed to personal self-interest or other narrow, private interests.

One of the speakers discussed a letter sent to the board describing concerns that the board (and lake manager) seem to have created an environment in the meetings in which any meaningful dialogue between attendees and the board are made almost nonexistent. An environment where it is as if they have not heard a single word directed to you. This person has not received a response, to the letter.

The board was provided a detailed record from minutes of District board meetings that illustrate that there has been a long history of advocacy by David Skirvin and Randy Weldon for lowering the lake to 9.0 feet.  Their advocacy has delay placement of the dam for three years, cost the district $28,000 and untold man-hours on an erosion study and packed the room with concerned citizens in several board meetings over a four year period.

On individual talked about a survey of docks performed by David Skirvin and Randy Weldon in an attempt to illustrate claims of shallow water around docks were unfounded, while supporting lowering the lake to 9 feet. It was stated that the survey was flawed as it took measurements at the end of docks instead of mid-point where the prop would be located.

A Coastal Engineer who designs shoreline protection structures explained wave theory. He described specifics on how wave energy is transferred as it approaches the shore.  He told us that the Lake Manager has presented material on the relationship between lake bathymetry and its influence on erosive wave energy that is simply incorrect or misleading.

A canal front homeowner explained the situation at his property confused how this board can make such an arbitrary decision that would result in lower property values.  He made it clear that should this occur he would expect the district to compensate him for the loss.

A former board member brought the experience of 30 years on the lake and 5 years on the DLWID board.  He asked them to consider if they can look a concerned citizen in the eye, shake his or her hand, and describe the board policy as being necessary and fitting into the greater good. He also recalled many details discussed at previous lake board meetings indicating lowering the lake would provide no benefit while creating many negative impacts on the lake environment.

A homeowner with a chemistry background brought us a discussion of how more water some 330 million gallons by District estimate would service to dilute nutrients in the lake. She described a program in Seattle which infuses water into Green Lake to dilute phosphorus levels that has had some success.

A shoreline resident examined the historical images released in the erosion study and noticed the shoreline did not seem to change over a 30 year period.  He presented images; one from 1977 that represents a period 20 years before the dam was placed into operation and 2007 the latest image available. When overlaid they showed a shoreline virtually unchanged.

We heard the lake managers theory of reversed hydrology rebuffed as that section of the erosion study referenced purpose was to illustrate the difference in variability of the lake level between winter where levels are highly variable and summer where less variant.  We were told that there is no mention of reverse hydrology in the study, no reference to an adverse affect.

It was suggested that the presentations, FAQ’s, rhetoric and therefore decisions of the DLWID are the result of extracting information from the erosion study with a focus on only the summer months.  Implied in this approach is that the District has chosen to ignore the seven months of the year when the erosive power of wind driven waves is greatest and mother nature is completely in charge.

We learned that the District had dismissed a highly respected study on boat wakes preferring to apply a multiplier of 2.5 to wave height measured in the study.  By adjusting the table values in the study this created the astonishing figure of a nearly 4 foot wave behind a boat, nearly 5 time greater than the original study.  Despite the purely made up nature of these figures the District has taken to using the largest figures in its presentations instead of those supported by the science.

One homeowner stated that he has lost as much as 8 feet of land since he has purchased his home.  He had to put shielding in to protect his property.  He simply encouraged the board to make a reasoned careful decsion.

Another person from Pacific States Marine Fischeries that encourage  lakeside homeowners to show the same level of concern they have for their property toward the fish that live in the lake.  It was expressed that the fish would be much better off without the  dam.  Another person echoed these comments and suggested that that the best option would be to tak out the dam.

Another resident discussed added a historical perspective of 50 years of living on the lake.  After sharing entertaining attendees with stories of many years on the lake.  He encouraged the board to keep the lake high.

A 2nd street canal resident shared his experience on the canal.  He has neverl seen as much millfoil this earily.  He says we are losing the canal.  Lowering the lake would destroy the canal.

The group that attended the meeting by all appearances was very organized an it was apparent that they had be working together.  In the past the District has been warned that that messing with the lake level would be highly unpopular.  I believe that may have been proven a correct statement.  What the entire group appeared to be in agreement on is what the District should do about it.  They all requested that District install dam on the D-River as soon as possible and maintain a lake level of 9.53 feet according to its existing policy.

Kip Ward made a comment at the end of the meeting to state he is not the enemy.  He says he reads all the pages that are part of these decsions.  He hopes we can all keep that in mind when we go through this process.

The public heard ended at 8:30pm.

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Filed under DLWID, Lake Level, Meeting Reports

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