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October DLWID Board Meeting Report

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting was on Thursday October 11th at 6:00pm and was held in the City Hall Council Chambers located on the third floor of City Hall.

Informational Presentation: Randy Trox, Onsite Program Coordinator from the DEQ’s Eugene Office gave a presentation about how the DEQ’s onsite program (septics) has been working to update their rules and assure compliance with the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA). The State is responding to a Federal lawsuit won by the EPA contending that the State did not meet the requirements of CZARA. The draft rules will required a extensive septic tank inspection at the time of transfer including production of maintainence records, pumping, exposing of system components, inspection and evaluation.  The DEQ will provide certification of the system.  Failing systems will not prevent transfer of the property but repairs on the system will be required.

Public Comment: There were 5 interested parties in attendance. Most commentary centered on the current condition of the lake; both its low level and high algae content. Several expressed extreme frustration with the smell and inability to enter the water.  Some shared examples of how they were unable to moor their boat due to low lake levels. Evidence was presented suggesting that lower lake levels did indeed led to warmer lake temperatures and higher algae levels.  Pictures were presented to document areas where sea walls have been jeopardized due to lake levels below their foundations.  The board was asked to take action to ensure this would not occur in the 2013 season.

Septic Ordinance: There was an attempt to express that the ordinance that the District seeks to work with DEQ to ensure that the inspection criterion match making it possible use a DEQ inspection to meet the local requirement and visa-versa.

Save Our Shoreline: The District authorized $2,200 to replace some plants and weed the two SOS projects at the boat ramps.  The work will be performed by a local contractor.  A discussion occurred related to the progress on the SOS video to be used to promote the program which took a back seat to the Revival this month.

Vegetation Management: The District’s contractor Max Depths is still in the process of creating a application to allow the placement of additional grass carp when required.  The Board has yet to receive a document to review.   The project’s time line will need to be extended.

Aquatic Plant Survey: Second phase of the survey was completed between September 17-19. A full report of their findings is to be available in November.

Sewer: Brian Green reported that consideration by the City has been delayed until December.

Communications: The District has circulated a lake survey in advance of the October 13th planning conference.  They received 120 surveys prior to the meeting.

MidCoastTMDL: The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) continues the planning process for developing a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for 303(d) listed waterbodies in the Oregon Mid-Coast Basin. There was a meeting in August that provided worked though the categorization of various bacteria in mid-coast lake bodies.  More information about the Districts role can be found at http://www.dlwid.org/Projects.html#TMDL.

Summer Intern: Alyssa Clayton gave a report on how she has I have continued weeding and watering weekly at East Devils Lake State Park and Regatta Grounds. She has finished creating a digital archive of the Audits and the majority of the Budgets. The next step is putting them online, so that they can be easily accessible by the public. She has made a series of demonstration videos, meant to teach future interns how to carryvout the sampling and laboratory techniques for DNA analysis. She also worked at the Chinook Winds Casino Senior Fair.

Water Quality:  Water quality monitoring ended Labor Day.

Lake Level Monitoring:  The District has been conducting some lake level investigation for potential impacts to recreational users and properties. They have been collecting on boat docks, stating that they have visited over ¾ of the sites thus far. They also intend to include a photographic vegetation survey as well as compiling septic tank data and information that may be applicable. They will be documenting fish passage on the D-River. It is the expectation that a report will be given in the November meeting.

East Devils Lake Road: Lincoln County is in the process of drafting a report that details the background, issues, and most functional design alternative for East Devils Lake Road. The Salmon Drift Creek Watershed Council will share the report, upon completion, with the District.

Additional Board Comment: Brian Green commented that he felt the comments provided related to the lake condition were valuable.  He said that when the Board said they would collect information about the impact on the lake and he felt the comments and material represented just that.  He stated that the material should be taken into account.  Noel Walker noted that he deals with boaters and has heard nothing but negitive comments this past summer.  He also stated that this was not the time to make that decsion but he also appreciated the information.

The meeting adjourned at 08:20 pm.

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The Green Monster

Adored in Fenway, Not in Lincoln City

Since we have now made it to the end of the 2012 recreational season it’s time to make a few observations. The season began with two public hearings; the first in May and a second in June where record numbers of the public provided comment on summertime lake levels.  At the conclusion of these sessions the board voted to change the target summertime lake level from 9.6 to 9.0 which began on June 15th.  In the August board meeting the board established an ending summer lake level target of 8.8 to accommodate the terms of the Districts impoundment permit.  The current lake level is at the 8.8 target.  In a week the District will remove what remains of the impoundment structure.

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As a result of this decision we know by observation that the lake was much lower this year.  We know this lower level impacted people as we got many reports from lake uses on how this lower lake level negatively impacted their boating experience.  There was however a more significant, more noticeable contrast in the lake this year from previous years. What happened to our lake this year?

On July 26th the District delivered the first Harmful Algal Bloom Surveillance (HABS) report by email as the season’s historic Blue-Green Algae bloom began.  This bloom quickly grew into large patches of thick green goo floating around the lake.  Early morning visitors to the lake this summer saw significant levels of floating algae over the entire surface of the lake.  Significant suspended algae can be found in the water column at almost any location on the lake on any day this summer.  Universally residents around the lake communicated their observations that they had never seen water that was in worse shape than this year.

Despite the terrible condition of the water, the lake was never posted beyond a moderate risk.  That is because the board changed their methodology for posting where one sample taken at Sand Point on August 28th exceeded cell count standards but did not exceed microcyctin parameters.  I support these new guidelines because they are now based on microcyctin levels, there is no real reason to scare the public if there are no toxins in the water threatening their health.  This year even though the lake looked terrible, the microcystin levels never topped .9ppb when over 8ppb is the health Department threshold.  The mess did however impact most people’s enjoyment of the lake, who would be covered with green dots as they exit the water.  So while not toxic the algae was very bothersome.

Another observation this year is related to the temperature of the lake.  According to the District’s own measurements the lake saw a 3% increase in the temperature this summer over last summer when levels were higher.  This spring, many predicted that lake temperatures would rise with lower water levels.  It appears that that this did occur.  With different weather this difference in lake temperature could have been more dramatic as average air temperature for Lincoln City were 2% lower this year when compared to the previous year. Lincoln City experienced similar amounts of rainfall during the period of impoundment with 1.6” in 2011 and 1.8” in 2012.  This is illustrated in the charts below, click for a larger version.

Devils Lake Temperature

Lincoln City Temp

Lincoln City Precip

There was a presentation given to the Board of Directors at the September meeting which characterized this summers results somewhat differently than we have here.  Let just say that we see the situation from a different viewpoint.  So in conclusion we cannot say with absolute certainty that the lower lake levels authorized by the DLWID board resulted in the observed higher temperatures and higher levels of summer green algae.  It can be said that the board decision on lake level did nothing to improve water quality this summer.

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Low Water Impacts Many

How Much Lower Will It Go

At the July Board meeting Doug McGowan commented he has been on the lake for 20 years and replaced his dock in 2009.  He has had adequate water until last summer, which was the first time it was a challenge.  He warned that to take the lake down further would be disastrous.  The picture shows that at the target lake level of 8.8’ there is less than 6” of water at the transom of his boat.  The boat no longer floats and cannot be driven away from the dock.  Doug must wait for the lake to rise just to remove his boat from the lake.  There are multiple stories such as this on the lake this year.

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Attend The October DLWID Meeting

October 11, 2012 6:00pm

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District now holds its regularly scheduled Board meetings on the second Thursday of every month. The agenda for this month’s meeting on Thursday October 11th at 6:00pm, contains several important topics.  This month a representative from DEQ will make a presentation on changes in their rules related to septic systems which have been drafted to comply with the Coastal Zone Act Amendments.  The Water District makes several other important decisions regarding the lake every month and you are encouraged to attend.

If you cannot attend this month’s meeting; it will appear on Channel 4 for all Charter customers. You can check the Channel 4 Schedule for airing times. The best way to stay informed is for all lake front homeowners and interested parties to attend these important meetings.

There are several topics of importance to lake residents on this month’s agenda. Please check the links to the District’s documents to review the other topics on the agenda for this month’s meeting.

Agenda

Staff Reports

September 13, Minutes

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August DLWID Board Meeting Report

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting was on Thursday August 9th at 6:00pm and was held in the City Hall Council Chambers located on the third floor of City Hall.

Public Comment: There were 7 interested parties in attendance. There were some supportive comments and appreciation shared for the Devils Lake Revival. Additionally, gratitude was expressed for the actions take in response to comments made last month related to Thompson Creek and general lake monitoring. Other issues discussed included …

Septic Ordinance: There was nothing to report on this topic.

Save Our Shoreline: A verbal request was mad asing lakefront homeowners to participate in a Save Our Shoreline Project. Also announced was a class jointly produced with the Salmon Creek Drift Creek Watershed Council on Rain Gardens. class the District sponsored was given. The class is $20 and will be held October 25th at the Lincoln City Community Center; all are welcome. A discussion occurred related to the creation of a SOS video to be used to promote the program which took a back seat to the Revival this month.

Vegetation Management: The District has been creating a application to allow the placement of additional grass carp when required. This document is under internal review. The District recently conducted phase one of a Aquatic Plant Survey using the resources of Portland State University. The main purpose of this survey was to provide a starting point for future observation. According to the report there was a variety of species present. Some twenty-plus species were observed, mostly native plants. No Eurasian Water Milfoil, nor Brazilian Elodea; in all there were 100 points of collection. The Project Manager is working on updating a economic impact study that was used in the original grass carp application. Part of the grass carp application is a engineer stamped map describing all the inlets and outlets of the lake. To save money the District is trying to receive ODFW’s approval of making due with recent aerial photography, LiDar and topographical.

Sewer: Brian Green reported by letter that letters have been sent to property owners impacted by the proposed LID outlining the terms negotiated with the City. So far responses have been positive with a probable majority maintained.

Communications: A review of the Devils Lake Revival was provided; pictures are posted on the District Facebook page. There was also a discussion on the revision to Water Quality postings which now show the new Thompson Creek canal sight. The District has been involved in several educational opportunities that help proliferate information about the lake to the greater public.

MidCoastTMDL: The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) continues the planning process for developing a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for 303(d) listed waterbodies in the Oregon Mid-Coast Basin. There was a meeting in July that provided a summary of progress to date and there is no meeting scheduled for August. The work right now is being done in the working groups and is primarily related to how to determine the source and scale of nutrient loading in all mid-coast watersheds.

Summer Intern: Alyssa Clayton gave a report on how she has been sampling every week monitoring the pH, temperature, conductivity DO content, Secchi disc depth and turbidity in the lake as well as watching for cyanobacteria blooms and posting water quality updates. She has edited the Shoreline Planting Guide, and worked on kids activities for the Devils Lake Revival. A request was made to keep the Intern through the end of September for a total of 714 hours for the season which was approved.

Water Quality: The Lake Manager provide on the latest HAB harmful algal bloom which began to appear last week. The bloom is expected to last 4 to 6 weeks. It was stated that lowering temperatures usually cause our blooms to die out. Also the District has added a new site on the Thompson Creek canal. While the original site and Rock Creek are no longer shown on the postings the samples are still taken. There are plans to do some DNA and location testing later this year in a attempt to locate the source of high readings.

Lake Level Monitoring: The District will be conducting some lake level investigation for potential impacts to recreational users and properties. This will include a spot check of safe moorage for 30-50 randomly selected properties and all the public launches. They will be taking photos of vegetation and will compile septic tank data that may be applicable. They also intend to document the period of full fish passage verse that which is limited by the dam. A brief discussion occurred related what the ending lake height would be based on public comment. It was agreed that the target would be 8.7 feet.

Regatta Stage: The District is promoting participation in efforts to add a state to Regatta Park. The District will buy a brick and each board member present pledged to buy a brick. More information can be found by emailing [email protected]

Non Agenda Items: Board member Kip Ward asked all docks be surveyed for depth to provide support for antidotal comments made by homeowners. It was stated that having the information would be useful for future decisions. He also wanted the dam to be modified to have a larger opening for fish passage. The board directed staff to do both. A goal setting session was scheduled for October 13th. The Outstanding Service Award for a board member was awarded to Kip Ward.

Additional Public Comment: Final comments were provided related to asking for public comment on the design of the dock measurements to ensure they take into consideration the placement of boats and approach to docks. Additional comments were provided related to the design of the dam. They were encouraged to seek professional assistance in the design of any modifications as what seems logical such as “wider is better” is not necessarily true. Most fish passages are cut trapezoidal to increase water volume a levels lower. They were also encouraged to look into what was done for lamprey passage at Bonneville Dam as a great deal of research has recently performed on that subject.

The meeting adjourned at 07:45 pm.

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Attend The August DLWID Meeting

August 09, 2012 6:00pm

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District now holds its regularly scheduled Board meetings on the second Thursday of every month. The agenda for this month’s meeting on Thursday August 9th at 6:00pm, contains several important topics.  This month an update on the District’s efforts to obtain permission to stock grass carp in the future will be provided.  There will also be a discussion regarding the District’s efforts to monitor the impacts of this year’s lake level decision.  The Water District makes several other important decisions regarding the lake every month and you are encouraged to attend.

If you cannot attend this month’s meeting; it will appear on Channel 4 for all Charter customers. You can check the Channel 4 Schedule for airing times. The best way to stay informed is for all lake front homeowners and interested parties to attend these important meetings.

This month’s agenda is not yet published. Please check the the District’s Meeting Page as that is where links to documents related to this month’s meeting will eventually  Please check the links to the District’s documents to review the other topics on the agenda for this month’s meeting.

Agenda

Staff Reports

July 12, Minutes

July 12, Audio

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July DLWID Board Meeting Report

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting was on Thursday July 12th at 6:00pm and was held in the City Hall Council Chambers located on the third floor of City Hall.

Public Comment: There were 15 interested parties in attendance. Several comments were made as a follow up to the past two Board meetings in particular the lake level public hearings. There were several corrections to the minutes suggested. One person came forward to express support on the lake level decision in that he felt it was a reasonable process, and further stated that his three parcels were not negatively impacted. The District was asked if they had made any specific plans to study the impact of the new lake level on erosion, Coho salmon runs, lake temperatures, blue green algae, and septic water tables during the summer season. A request was made for the District to develop a specific plan to actively determine the source of high e.Coli levels on Thompson Creek. A comment was made that the District should not donate toward the repairs on East Devils Lake Drive, that is solely the County’s responsibility. He also said he had been in contact with Jet Ski Associations that would like to have a race on the lake. He volunteered to organize the event but wanted the Board to discuss the possibility of this type of event on the lake. Continue reading

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