Week one of weed harvesting on Devils Lake has come to a close an we removed an astounding 12 tons of weeds from the lake. We got five pretty good days of harvesting in this week but midday on Friday the ECO Harvester suffered a major breakdown. One of the large steel rollers for the main belt drive failed. You can see from the image something's very wrong. Unfortunately the repair couldn’t be done in Lincoln City so the machine is headed back to its home port in Coos Bay.
Overall the harvesting cut a tremendous amount of material out of the lake, as measured in tons! Western Shoreline Restoration will be back on August 15th for two more weeks of harvesting on Devil's Lake. Overall we learned a tremendous amount of information about what to expect in a harvesting project. More than anything we learned just how dense the Elodea is in some areas especially the West end of the lake. We are learning about what to expect in terms of daily progress. We’re learning about what's required in terms of staging drop boxes and excavators. We learned that no matter how much we take out the lake just keeps on giving.
Ready, Set, Go!
It's time for us to ask for your help again. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission published its agenda for the August 5th meeting yesterday. Unfortunately neither grass carp or Devil's Lake are listed as an agenda item. This setback will prevent the Commission from taking any action on the topic during this meeting. DLWID is, however, invited to provide verbal comments in the public portion of the meeting. Josh Brainerd DLWID Manager will be making comments on behalf of the lake. Others will not be allowed to speak on this non-agenda item.
This is where you come in. We are allowed to write to the ODF&W Commission about any topic we want. In order to make an impression as well as show our support of our manager we have a specific letter writing request. This important request asks the Commission to please acknowledge this catastrophe by directing ODF&W staff to work with DLWID to modify DLWID’s pending exception application to set stocking levels appropriate to current situation and to bring this matter before the Commission at its September 15, 2022 meeting.
We have created a template for the Commission and we would request everybody forward it to the ODFW Commission, ODFW Director, and the Governor. All letters must arrive at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, so the due date for this request is August 2, 2022. Does it really do any good for each of them to receive a couple hundred of the same letter? Indeed it does.
Thank you in advance for your participation.
Here's what to do by Aug 2, 2022
- Download the letter from this link. (WORD) (PDF)
- Optionally edit the letter to include your name and address.
- Send the letter as an attachment by email, feel free to add a few photos if you wish. You can add a more personal message in the body of the email
- Send the email to [email protected], [email protected]
- Let the Governor know by mailing a copy (address at bottom of letter) or completing the online form at this link.
- Let us know you did it by completing a brief questionnaire
Time is short, soon the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet in Salem and grass carp hang in the balance. Our grassroots team is preparing a letter to the Commission for all of you to tell them they need to approve DLWID’s 2013 application for an exception allowing the reintroduction of sterile grass carp into Devils Lake. Your voice counts!
Get ready, because we'll be asking you to send the prepared letter on very short notice. Final wording will be dependent on the yet to be published agenda. Watch the space.
We will send you notice as soon as it's time for you to act.
Thank you in advance for your participation.
My apologies for the many updates but these are important times for Devil's Lake. So here's the latest. The Devil's Lake Water Improvement District (DLWID) has been invited to appear at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODF&W) Commission meeting in Salem on August 5th. We don't know if our topic is on their agenda but we do know they have invited DLWID to be at the meeting. It is important for DLWID to be listed on the agenda as it is a requirement for the Commission to take action. DLWID has requested approval of their 2013 application for an exception as permitted by their administrative rules allowing the restocking of sterile grass carp in Devils Lake.
In the meantime the Devil's Lake Neighborhood Association (DLNA) has forwarded a letter to DLWID. In the letter DLNA supports DLWID’s three-part approach to addressing the Elodea problem including herbicide application, weed removal (by hand and/or harvester), and sterilized grass carp. We requested DLWID petition the Director of ODF&W to place approval of the 2013 exception application on the August 5, 2022 agenda. You can read the entire letter at this link.
The letter mentions our committee, specifically the DLNA Weeds Workgroup which is composed of six individuals from our community; Mitchell Moore, Laura Lesher, Susan Elworth, Bryan O'Doherty, Dan Harmond, Bill Hagmaier and Tina French representing the DLWID Board. This workgroup has been very active in analyzing the problem, reviewing the proposed solution, and creating the messaging that you all have been using to communicate to decision makers about this crisis. The committee has been working on many other aspects of the issue but we will save that for another article.
Yesterday, the DLNA sent a letter to the ODF&W Commissioners, the ODF&W Director Curt Melcher and Governor Kate Brown describing the Devils Lake Elodea problem. Like the letter to DLWID we requested immediate action by the ODF&W Commission creating an exception allowing the restocking of sterile grass carp in Devils Lake. The letter is a concise description of the DLNA’s position on the matter. So let the letter speak for itself.
DLNA Letter to ODF&W CommissionRead more
Our harvesting trial will begin next week and for all of you who signed up before the deadline here is the latest information as we now know it. Follow this link to the harvester map, our contractor will use to navigate the lake.
This project became far more popular than first anticipated. We originally had the harvester scheduled for one week because that's what was available. In the past week 180 homes signed up for this service so we've negotiated and expanded the timeline for the harvester to be on the lake. The return date for the second harvester visit has been a bit of a moving target.
Here are the most recent dates
July 25-29 Original Visit
August 15-19 Second Visit
August 22-?? Potential Extended Visit
This project is a trial and it is our first attempt at harvesting on the lake. It is our primary goal to learn a lot during this process. The results of this neighborhood funded project will play a key role in the long term management plan to restore the lake.
The harvester will begin on the west end of the lake where the Elodea is most concentrated. The harvester will work its way East as the project continues. The harvester is slow moving so we will be working areas rather than individuals. The goal is to minimize wasted time and maximize material removed from the lake.
I also would like to set some expectations for what will occur along your lakefront. The harvester will make several passes in the water way beyond your docks. This is intended to provide a channel of sorts allowing your boats to find clear water. The Elodea is severe in some locations and our ability to accomplish this goal is still to be determined. The harvester will then try to consume as many weeds as it can around your property. This harvester pulls weeds and often gets the root, it will leave bits behind but the mass will be gone. The harvester is 10’ wide and 27’ long so while maneuverable it cannot get into certain areas, including under docs or boats. Water depth is also a factor preventing operation all the way to the bank or shoreline. I am told that given the above you may wish to do some minor raking for a super clean look. It should be manageable both in the effort and amount of remaining material to remove.
The Devils Lake Neighborhood Association has made arrangements for a ECO Harvester located in Coos Bay to be transported to our lake on July 25th. The operator of this weed harvester has agreed to run his harvester for seven days. Lakefront homeowners can sign-up to have the harvester clear out the area in front of their homes. In return we would ask for a minimum $300 donation. Keep in mind at portion of your donation will be used to clear some of the most congested common areas of our lake. If you wish you can make a larger donation to help support this effort. This is a limited trial and it's short duration is a result of the availability of the harvesting equipment. This is not an attempt to clear the lake of weeds, it is a short duration trial to collect data on it operation.
Our contractor will be on the lake July 25-31 2022. We will attempt to clear some common areas and as many of the homeowners areas at time allows.
To put your property on the list to be harvester click the button below and complete the sign-up form. Once you after completing the form you are free to make your donation. Don't delay we close the list on July 20th.
The ECO Harvester coming to the lake later this month is the result of some serious hustling by certain members the DLNA. (Toot, Toot) We are super stoked and want to ensure you know what we are trying to accomplish.
There are three options that are realistic for the treatment of weeds in Devil's Lake. One is herbicides, the second is harvesting and third is restocking the lake with grass carp. The DLNA and the DLWID agree that grass carp is the best solution for lake in the long term. Both are working very hard to win approval for grass carp.
However, Carp entering this lake may initially be overwhelmed by the volume of weed. That's why a carefully designed plan to restock the lake would likely include some use of herbicides to knock the Elodea down, then perhaps using a harvester to cut, pull and remove large volumes of weed, and let the carp eat the rest. The hope is with this mix we can restore the balance in the lake where harvesting and herbicides are no longer required.
So, this harvester clearing the lake of some of the weeds gives us an opportunity to quantify the cost, time and capabilities of harvesting on the lake. This is not a cure. This information will be combined with what we learn from the four applications of Floritrol in the lake this year. All this information will be invaluable as we create a long-term plan to put us back to being a lake with just the right balance. Tragically, that is not the lake we have today. Together we can set it straight.
We have added a grassroots advocacy page to our website found at www.dlakeoregon.com/take_action. Visit this page to find descriptions of our positions, sample letters to send to decision makers and contact information for each. We ask all concerned members of the neighborhood to write a letter or two and send them out to let decision makers know how you feel about this problem. At this time we're trying to make it known that we have a big problem here and that we feel restocking grass carp is the solution. We'll have more specific requests for grassroots support as we move through the process. Check this page often for the latest request. For now visit the page, pick a letter and send it out. Should you write your own letter and think it turned out well, share it with us and we'll make it into a template for others to use.
Thank you in advance for your participation.
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District is returning to public meetings. During the pandemic the board meetings were open to the public via a Zoom connection. This coming Thursday the public will once again be able to participate in person. Given the estimated 150 attendees at the DLNA Weed Discussion last Tuesday, this news will be well received. Please note that this meeting will not be held at City Hall but will instead be in the Taft High School Auditorium. The meeting will also be available on Zoom but the District warns the quality of this link may be poor, it's simply a laptop in a large room. There will be time for public comment in the beginning for in-person meeting attendees only. Here are the details of the meeting.