Spread The Word Not The Weed
Please remember to use caution when harvesting Elodea around your docks and your shoreline. Please make every effort to capture your clippings and place them on land or your doce to dry so you can haul them away. (See our video on the subject) It may seem pointless when wading through the weeds, but this is how Elodea propagates. Even the smallest piece can grow into another plant. Yes, boat traffic and wind can break the plants off, but one good harvest can create a large raft of clippings that float in the middle of the lake which can stop a boat or jet ski in its tracks. These rafts of weeds tend to drift to the lee shoreline where they rest and somebody else will have to pick them up. The images above represent one day's flow during the 4th of July weekend on Sandpoint. Should you pull your boat out of Devils Lake to take to another body of water please inspect both boat and trailer carefully for any bits of this terrible weed. We do not want Devils Lake to be responsible for spreading this plague throughout the state of Oregon.
Let's work together and spread the word not the weed!
We have a problem!
It was just one month ago that we posted an article on Elodea; the invasive plant that has invaded Devils Lake. At that time I had personally only experienced the weed as it grew along my shoreline. I was shocked, as this plant had consumed 70% of the bottom of the lake near my shoreline. Since that time I put my boat in and took a tour of the lake. Oh my!
For those of you who have not been on the lake this year, here is a summary from those initial observations. What I found was that the elodea extends much further into the lake than just along the shoreline. The Western portion of the lake from Regatta Park to the D River seems to be the highest concentration with plants just below the surface over the majority of that portion of the lake. I recommend not boating here, and if you're a jet ski operator, really don’t go there. The Brown Bear State Park boat ramp is so clogged with weeds it is nearly impossible to launch without fouling your prop. As you move East from that point you will find elodea growing along both shorelines up through Sandpoint and North to the marina. The small bay to the South of Sandpoint as well at the far end of the marina leg are similar to the East end, a real mess. The center of the lake from Sandpoint where the depth is 18 ft seems clear of elodea however it's so deep it may simply not be visible. The same is true of the upper bay of the lake. These clear areas however do contain large floating rafts of the weeds that must be avoided. Continuing along the shoreline on the East Devils Lake side you will find plants some forty feet from shore. The shoreline from Lake Point through Neotsu however, is some of the clearest in the lake. There is no denying; the extent of the growth is simply overwhelming.
And that's just the elodea. As the summer continues we know that the Vallisneria (eelgrass) will begin to grow. As of this week stands of eelgrass have reached about two feet. This plant, unlike elodea, dies off during the winter, so it had some catching up to do. By September the eelgrass will begin to flower which brings spiral extensions to the surface which become a navigational hazard.
This is all very bad news however as a community we stand a chance to put some measures in place that can improve the situation. Devil's lake Neighborhood Association is committed to helping in this community effort. Your involvement in this effort is the power behind the neighborhood association, so we need you more than ever. To that end we've added a few new pages to our website. You'll find a grassroots page where we will post sample letters and emails as well as contact information for key decision makers that should be contacted. We also have created a gallery page where we ask homeowners to help by sharing their images of your exposure to the weeds and of your efforts to combat this problem. A picture is worth a thousand words, so please share so we may educate these decision makers. More on how to do that in another article.
Please join in and help us with this effort by clicking the volunteer button to the right. If you have a special talent that can be put to use, (i.e. graphics or web designer, YouTube creator, good writer, good speaker, attorney, nice smile) please make us aware of it. In most years we only ask for donations for our annual fireworks display. Those funds are earmarked for that purpose and cannot be used generally. Unfortunately, because of that the balance of general funds is quite small. Consider making a donation to the general fund so we may widen our opportunities to address this issue.
As we move through the summer, I would ask you all to be patient with everybody in the community. This is frustrating and we often want to find someone to blame. In this case, I assure you everyone is on the same page and we are all invested in saving Devils Lake. Let’s blame Mother Nature and get ramped up for this effort, define our solutions and show our support.
DLNA Lake Weed Discussion
It's our first public meeting in over two years! The Devils Lake Neighborhood Association is hosting this open discussion related to the explosive growth of weeds (Elodea and Vallisneria) in Devils Lake this season. We hope to begin shaping a strategy to help raise awareness with the owners of the lake, the State of Oregon. We also want to solicit ideas on how to best use our one and only resource at DLNA, that's you our friendly neighborhood residents.
801 SE Hwy 101 #201
Lincoln City, OR 97367
Google map and directions
New Elodea Removal Video
They say everything that needs fixing has a YouTube video to help you. We created this short video to provide some guidance about harvesting Elodea around your property. This step by step overview should help in the successful hand harvesting of Elodea from a lake body. Care should be taken to ensure no loose fragments escape the work area. Just click the image above to play, feel free to share this link with others.
Holiday Weekend Reminder 2022
We're excited, it's a triple whammy weekend that kick's off the month of July. We begin with our seventh annual fireworks extravaganza on July 3rd, next up is the boat parade on July 4th, and we finish with the first ever lake weed discussion at the Driftwood Library on July 5th. Three for the price of one so don't miss out. And yes we are still collection money for the 2022 fireworks, we have made it half way. Thanks to all who have offered up their support. If you haven't donated follow this link to join in and ensure we can continue this great tradition.
Fireworks Show : July 03, 2022 at 09:30 PM
Boat Parade : July 04, 2022 at 04:00 PM
Weed Public Discussion : July 05, 2022 at 10:30am - 11:30pm
Aquatic Plants - Elodea
It’s been a couple of years since we published Aquatic Plants 101 where we introduced you to Vallisneria americana, an aquatic plant that is native to coastal lakes. At that time, Vallisneria was just becoming noticeable around Devils Lake. This time of year, if you glance into the lake you most likely would not see any Vallisneria as its growing season has just begun; this plant is more of an issue in the late summer. This time of year, you would likely see a thick carpet of another plant species Elodea which is considered a noxious weed in Oregon coastal lakes. Elodea is one of the few pond plants that can remain green all winter long.
According to Wikipedia, Elodea is a genus of 6 species of aquatic plants often called the water weeds. Elodea is native to the Americas and is also widely used as aquarium vegetation. An older name for this species is Anacharis.
Elodea, sometimes called American or Canadian water weed or pond weed, is widely known as the generic water weed. The American water weed lives entirely underwater with the exception of small white flowers which bloom at the surface and are attached to the plant by delicate stalks. It produces winter buds from the stem tips that overwinter on the lake bottom. It also often overwinters as an evergreen plant in mild climates. In the Autumn, leafy stalks will detach from the parent plant, float away, root, and start new plants. This is the American water weed's most important method of spreading, while seed production plays a relatively minor role.
This species has a wide ecological tolerance and grows relatively fast. Elodea can form dense mats which can interfere with recreational activities and navigation . In addition to this, the dense mats outcompete native plant species and therefore decrease the biodiversity in an area. It also accentuates the accumulation of finer organic silts which enhances its growth further as nutrients are released.
In Devils Lake, silty sediments and water rich in nutrients favor the growth of American water weed. These plants will grow in a wide range of conditions, from very shallow to deep water, and in many sediment types. It can even continue to grow uprooted, as floating fragments.
Elodea is one of the most common aquatic plants in North America. In moderation the presence of Elodea in Devils Lake can also yield some benefits. It provides good habitat for many aquatic invertebrates and cover for young fish and amphibians. Waterfowl, especially ducks, as well as beaver, and otters eat this plant.
Help Us Reach Our Goal
We are now in June and as many of you know we have a terrific day planned for you on July 3rd with a fantastic fireworks display followed on the 4th with our annual boat parade. We have a long way to go to reach our fundraising goal. Another $14,000 and we will have the show completely paid for, your help will be greatly appreciated. If you were thinking of donating this would be a great time to help us get over the finish line. Just click this link to contribute.
Oregon DEQ 2022 Surface Water Report
Oregon’s 2022 Integrated Report on Surface Water Quality and List of Water Quality Limited Waters has been submitted to EPA for final approval. You can find the submittal on DEQ’s website: https://www.oregon.gov/deq/wq/Pages/proposedIR.aspx
The top four impairments statewide continue to be temperature, dissolved oxygen, impairment of the biological community (biocriteria) and E. coli. Impairments specific to Devils Lake include Dissolved Oxygen, pH, E.coli, Fecal Coliform, Chlorophyll-a and Harmful Algal Blooms. Updated samples on Devils Lake included in this assessment were limited to Dissolved Oxygen, pH and E. coli.
DEQ submitted its 2022 Integrated Report to EPA on May 23, 2022. The report is now considered “state final” and is awaiting EPA approval. The 2018/2020 Integrated Report remains in effect until EPA approval of the report.
There are four tools to assist with review of the draft 2022 Integrated Report:
- An interactive story map that provides an overview of the water quality assessment process and how to provide comments on the draft report.
- An interactive web map application that displays the Integrated Report by overall status of an assessment unit. For assistance, see the web map instructions.
- An on-line searchable database that provides parameter specific categorical assessment conclusions for all assessment units that have been assessed.
- All GIS data is available through ArcGIS online web services
What Can I Do?
This time of year Elodea is the most prominent species of weed in Devils Lake. Elodea is a particularly injurious aquatic perennial. In North America, it has compromised water quality, and in some waterways has grown so abundantly that boat traffic is hindered, dissolved oxygen is reduced, and native fisheries are severely impacted. Elodea is also insidious, in that only a plant fragment is needed to infest a water body because it reproduces asexually. So, what can you do to help solve this problem and how do you make sure your efforts do not make the problem worse?
DLWID Lake Treatments
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District (DLWID) began last season to actively attack the problem by treating areas of the shoreline where Parrot Feather, an extremely invasive plant, was growing. Their efforts had significantly reduced the spread of the plant. This year the District will attempt to tackle some of the plants that grow in the water column such as Vallisneria (Tape Grass) and Elodea (American Water Weed).
From currently available options, DLWID has determined that a systemic approach to herbicide application is the preferred method to prevent further spread of Elodea and Vallisneria in Devils Lake. Contact herbicides do not kill the root system of these perennial plants. Neither the District’s permit nor its budget will support lake wide herbicide application so for the time being these efforts should help curb growth but likely will not eradicate these weeds. Application areas this year will be focused where weeds grow in navigable parts of the lake and will not include areas around private docks.
Homeowners can take matters into their own hands and try to discourage weed growth in limited areas around their shoreline such as around boat moorings, and swim areas. Unfortunately, physical or mechanical control methods are ineffective for eradicating Elodea as this plant reproduces readily from small fragments. Any physical disturbance of the plant easily breaks the stems into pieces that are capable of reproducing in new locations. Any attempt at mechanical harvesting of Elodea should include a method of capturing the debris, such as nets, or floating vegetation control booms to prevent any fragments from escaping the work area. One simple approach is to attempt harvesting only when prevailing winds will carry clippings to your direct shoreline. All clippings should be removed from the lake and left on shore for a period of time to de-water. Only after the weeds have substantially dried, should the NLSS yard debris bin be used to dispose of the unwanted material.
Despite its limitations, mechanical harvesting, cutting and dredging have become widespread techniques to control outbreaks of Elodea. The most widely used instruments for mechanical aquatic weed management are weed-cutting boats, weed rakes usable from shore, or bucket-like shallow dredges. There are many aquatic rakes that might work for your situation such as the OWS Lake Rake, Jenlis Razer Rake and the Muck Razer Roller.
Unfortunately, Elodea appears to be quite resistant to cutting and plant survival is usually not impaired in the long term. On the contrary, cutting produces and spreads plant fragments with a high potential for regeneration and the residual plant tends to form more lateral branches in response to cutting. Furthermore, light availability increases in cut regions, which promotes faster re-growth. Biomass production can, however, be significantly reduced when harvests are performed at the time of the beginning of regeneration of Elodea plants after winter and can be further reduced to almost zero by a second harvest before the beginning of the fragmentation of Elodea plants in spring. Alternatively, the use of biodegradable jute matting or benthic barriers for covering Elodea has been investigated, but up to now only with effects on growth for one vegetation period; after this, the mattings are often damaged and ineffective.Read more
District Funds New Vegetation Management Plan
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District (DLWID) recently was informed that they are to receive $310,000 from the State of Oregon. The Oregon State Legislature recently approved this new funding.
These new funds will be used to help fund the DLWID second year of active vegetation management as well as ongoing algae monitoring services. Tina French, DLWID board president, recently commented to the News Guard that .“Lake vegetation management is our number one priority, especially considering our recent reduction in algae from the new aeration system. This new funding will help us accomplish our vegetation management plan. On behalf of the Board, thank you Representative David Gomberg for making this happen.”
This funding will support the District’s vegetation management plan for the 2022 recreational season. The plan will expand on the efforts made during the 2021 season which focused mainly on shoreline invasive species such as parrot feather. This year the District will initiate new lake protocols designed to better manage plant growth in the open water column. This effort will include extensive monitoring of vegetation by District staff via boat and by use of a professionally piloted drone allowing for detailed mapping of vegetation.
The primary focus of this effort will be in areas of high plant growth beyond the reach of most private docks. The complexities surrounding private docks limit the District’s ability to control surrounding vegetation. At this time, the homeowner may attempt some control methods directly off shore from their property. We will be publishing an article on those methods which could be used and those which should be avoided, in an upcoming issue.