DLNA Comment at DLWID Meeting

During the October 2nd DLWID Board meeting the Devils Lake Neighborhood Association was represented by Mitchell Moore and Mark Christie. The goal of our testimony was to let the District know that there are several areas where the neighbors and the District agree. We feel that relations could improve if we could find a project or two that we could work together.The following are the comments made by each DLNA representative.

Comments of Mitchell Moore.

In February we introduced you to the Devils Lake Neighborhood Association. There are several members of the DLNA here tonight. I am happy to report that since that time the Association has held several well attended public meetings in the Driftwood Library as well as at Faith Baptist Church. The great news is we are growing at a rapid rate and have received membership declarations from hundreds of residents in the neighborhood. In our meetings a consistent theme is the expression by our membership of genuine concern for the lake and a willingness to help.

I have been before you on several occasions this year to discuss how residents of the neighborhood are supportive of the majority of the projects contained in the Devils Lake Plan. While we have offered our help on several occasions we have never been contacted by the District or this Board of Directors. I am here again tonight to offer the assistance of the Neighborhood Association.

The SOS program is an example of our offer to help the District achieve their goals
During last months meeting the board engaged in quite a discussion about the SOS program even considering raising the potential award to $1,500 to encourage participation. We have a list of several homeowners who wish to make shoreline improvements to their property. Our research indicates that there are a variety of issues that have prevented the initiation of these projects.
We would propose a the district consider a few modifications to SOS that that might be more acceptable to a broader base of lakefront owners. We would suggest that Ava schedule a lakeside meeting with a few of these interested parties to learn firsthand about some of the obstacles or roadblocks for the program. The DLNA will be happy to organize these meetings.

The rhetoric and relationships between the district and the community has been strained for the past several years. We created the DLNA in the hopes it could relieve some of the pressure that exists.Recently the DLNA appeared before the City Council to help define the process of creating neighborhood associations in Lincoln City. In that meeting the DLWID Chair spoke against the members of the Devils Lake Neighborhood Association, were not entirely sure why. Our response is come before you again and stress that we want to create a cooperative environment that is beneficial for the neighborhood and the lake.

Tonight we have offered a new path, one that directly engages the public in the mission of the District. We are recommending that the DLWID board and the DLNA board come together in a workshop to engage in a two way dialogue about ways we can move forward as a team, and not adversaries. You may contact me directly to schedule this important meeting.

Thank You for your time, we look forward to a productive meeting.

Comments of Mark Christie

My message tonight is similar to that you heard from Mitch, we want you to know that there are many areas that we are willing to help. Here are a few more examples.

In the past 18 months the district has focused a lot of attention toward the potential of extending sewer service around the lake. The members of DLNA are generally supportive of exploring the idea of expanding sewers around the lake. In fact I have yet to hear anyone speak out against such a project. We must all recognize that this is a complex issue that involves detailed engineering, private right-of-ways, extensive underground construction, taxation and eventual annexation. In the spirit of improving the chances of a positive outcome we feel a DLNA representative should be at the table as this idea moves forward. Within our membership we have individuals that have decades of experience in right-of-way acquisition, utility construction and operation, and residential and commercial development that are willing to lend their expertise.

Six years ago the district established septic inspections at the number one priority for the lake. Unfortunately to date there have been zero inspections performed as a result of this program. Indeed as of today, this program has been put aside in deference to the potential of sewers. This is a program that has been universally supported in the neighborhood. It has languished because the district has made “perfect” the enemy of good! with standards and expectations that are difficult to obtain. The DLNA has developed a voluntary septic inspection program designed on the DEQ Septic Smart program as well as the DEQ inspection guidelines
The Lincoln County Onsite Waste Management Division has agreed to participated in the record keeping portion of this voluntary program. Our program has been introduced to the real estate community throughout Lincoln County. We have requested their cooperation particularly encouraging pre-listing testing of existing septics on and around the lake. We would propose the voluntary septic inspection process be adopted by the DLWID for homes outside the City and with the UGB to begin in January of 2015. The District should continue to work with the City of Lincoln City to establish a inspection program within the City based on the same DEQ inspection guidelines.

The neighborhood is thrilled that the board responded to input supplied at a public workshop on lake level and began investigating aeration for the lake. I can declare that the DLNA is 100% supportive of the RFP for aeration based on receipt of a minimum of 3 qualified bidders. We would suggest that each bidder be invited to a public Board workshop and interview process for possible adoption. Indeed to help expedite this interesting project the DLNA engaged a lake contractor this summer to collect data related to the material at the bottom of the lake from a series of core samples. These samples have been chemically analyzed and our data could be shared with the final candidates to help them better forecast the results of their proposed solution. As with sewering we must recognize that this is also a complex issue that involves detailed engineering, and very likely private right-of-ways.
We have shown that we are committed to moving this process forward would like to offer a DLNA representative to participate in the project and act as a conduit to property owners, whose land will very likely be required for siting of air compressors, power lines and air houses around the lake.

As you can see there are many areas where we can work together. This could best be initiated by the workshop previously requested, one where the DLWID board and the DLNA board discuss ways we can move forward as a team for the good of the lake and the neighborhood that surrounds it.

Thank You for your time.


Filed under Meeting Reports

3 responses to “DLNA Comment at DLWID Meeting

  1. richard danielson

    Devils Lake
    The Devil is in the details
    My history
    55 year resident of Lincoln City
    Moved to D Lake in 1959
    Grew up on the lakes waters taking swimming lessons at 8 years of age
    Swam, fished and boated until the lake became unhealthy shortly after the dam was built and the grass carp were introduced.
    The lake has always had a healthy growth of plant life. As a youngster we would make money clearing the bottom for homeowners who had docks. Many boat owners would cut the upper weed growth using their props as cutters. This worked well and allowed boating and other activities to exist.
    Algae was always present but there was never blue-green blooms which are not actual algae but toxic organisms that have chlorophyll therefore photosynthesis.
    Fish were abundant. Sea-run cut-throat, steelhead and salmon migrated into the lake.
    Other fish included stickleback, perch, bass, crappie, catfish, trout.
    Fresh water clams, bullfrogs and crawdads were plentiful.
    A very healthy migratory water-fowl population existed including swans, ducks of various breeds, egrets, etc.
    The lake shore became more developed over time with septic systems installed for each and every home built.
    Weed growth increased as the development continued.
    Some of the lake became unnavigable due to the weeds.
    A plan to solve the weed problem was discussed widely.
    Several options were put forth including manual harvesting and poisoning. Planting of grass carp including a dam designed to keep the grass carp from entering D-River and escaping the lake was the option chosen.
    The lake turned into a barren pond.
    The grass carp grew to adult size which equals that of a large salmon. They are long lived, 40 years in a good environment like the lake here..
    Thousands were planted into the lake in multiple stockings.
    The plants disappeared along with most of the inhabitants of the lake.
    Grass carp will eat anything that moves when their preferred meal has been exhausted. I have caught full size grass carp using worms as bait.
    Without plant cover the offspring of our wild fish had no nurseries to grow and hide from predators.
    The fish population dropped quickly.
    For a few years around the first of the year Christmas trees weighted with concrete blocks were sunk throughout the lake to replace the natural weed cover which the grass carp had devoured. This method of lake enhancement failed.
    Grass carp eat a lot daily. Grass carp pass a lot of waste daily.
    With the sunlight able to reach all of the lake, algae blooms became the new problem.
    Anyone who ever had a fish aquarium knows balance is key to a healthy environment.
    The introduction of grass carp was a mistake. The building of the dam was also a mistake as it raised the lake from it’s natural depth. The raised lake water encroached into the riparian zones which had been catching pollutants since time began.
    The lake was restocked with thousands more grass carp.
    The dam created shallows from the bridge east.
    The area of this shallow ankle deep water at one time was 5’ average with 20’ where the swimming hole used to be.
    The river under the bridge was 3’ deep in the middle all year long.
    The lake now is probably a lost cause if common sense is pushed aside for desires of wealthy lakeside property owners.
    BTW, I have always been a vocal opponent of what transpired.
    What would I do to attempt to right all the wrongs the lake has endured?
    Number one priority would be the removal of the entire dam and dredge the river lake junction to no less than a 2’ depth for a minimum of 40’ width.
    Removal of the shallow sandbar area to a depth of a minimum of 5’.
    A bounty on dead grass carp. Maybe a grass carp derby to help finance the bounty.
    The reintroduction of water flora after all grass carp are dead and buried.
    Mandate all septic systems in the watershed to be inspected yearly and repaired in a timely way.
    Annexation of the east side of the lake including all of the property within the lake’s watershed.
    Get bonding to sewer the entire perimeter of the lake.
    All the testing in the world will not solve the problems the introduction of grass carp has caused.
    It’s the right thing to do so just do it!

  2. richard danielson

    Op-Ed from the News Guard

    Devils Lake Water Improvement District (DLWID) says, quoting from their Know Your Lake advertisement in The News Guard, “… our best option for reducing excess nitrogen and phosphorus already in the lake is to supply oxygen to the sediment and the water column through aeration.”

    Twentyseven years ago the DLWID made a “they think they got it” decision that created the cesspool condition the lake is in. The entire ecosystem has been decimated by damming a natural waterway for profit and the planting of over 32,000 Chinese grass carp.

    Water quality has declined in Devils Lake since the damming and carp plantings. E.coli and toxic blue green algae have taken control of how the lake can be used by the public. This district has a history of complete failure of their own stated goals. One of those goals is to improve the quality of the water for the purpose of a healthy and safe environment for the publics” use.

    This district accomplishes goals with the fervor of a eunuch in a red-light district. Aeration is very expensive on a lake the size of Devils Lake. Stirring up the bottom muck of nutrients that algae require to thrive, will only compound the pollution problem they say they are trying to solve. DLWID needs to hear from you if any of this seems important. Read The News Guard section Know Your Lake for the advertisement from DLWID.

    Richard Danielson

    Lincoln City
    Friends Of Devils Lake is on FaceBook.

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