September Board Meeting Report

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its September board meeting in their offices on Thursday, September 3, 2009.  The meeting was attended by 10 – 12 interested parties.  The first order of business was the appointment of Randy Weldon to fill the open board seat. 

During the public comment portion of the meeting many comments suggested that he language used in the cyano-watch program is scaring people from using the lake.  It was suggested that the postings were being interpreted that contact with the lake water  or even boating will cause immediate harm.  The discussion continued with a proposal that the posting should include the specific health effects for a particular sized individual.  It was pointed out that specific information is difficult to obtain.  In the end the district committed to reviewing the language to see if it can be made more effective.

Lake Manager, Paul Robertson reported on many matters during the evening.  The lake level was reported to continue to remain at 9.25′ which has prompted an inquiry from the State about why evaporation was not lowering the lake level over the summer.  A new assessment of lake flow may occur this fall.  Hannah Nicholls, DLWID intern, reported that her summer is nearing its end and she continues to assist with water quality testing, stream flow measurements and creating an electronic archive of news articles for the District. 

During the discussion on the Devils Lake Plan it was reported that a contract has been received from Tetra-Tek describing the details of the native re-vegetation project.  The components of the project include;

  1. Native Plan Listing and Planting Instructions
  2. Commercial Sources of Plant Material
  3. Mesocosm Nursery Tanks
  4. Enclosure Construction
  5. Plant Guide Development

Staff reported on the results of their investigation into safety issues related to SolarBees® as suggested by the resolution passed in the June board meeting.  The investigation consisted of asking SolarBees® if there were any safety issues, for which they responded a snowmobiler ran into a SolarBees® on a frozen lake.  This prompted a comment by the public that he was concerned that the board didn’t get the message sent by the public.  While safety issues are a concern they are not the major concern, the public just feels that SolarBees® are not necessary given the issues that exist on the lake. 

The newly formed Communications Committee reported a successful first meeting and indicated that its second meeting will occur the following night in which a discussion of the draft Communications Plan would occur.  An update was provided on the RARE intern program with the announcement that an individual has been selected; the program should run about 12 months.  A water quality report was given with the latest test taken the day of the meeting included toxicology tests, identifying one site that exceeded the ORS standard of 8ppb of Microcystin.  You can find a link to the latest water quality test in the side bar on  

The next DLWID board meeting is scheduled for October 1, 2009 at 6:00 pm.

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Attend the September DLWID Board Meeting

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting will be held in its offices above Radio Shack Thursday September 3rd at 6:00pm. The best way stay informed is for all lake front homeowners and interested parties to attend these important meetings.

There are several interesting items on the agenda including a discussion about the draft request for proposal authorized at the August meeting. The purpose of the RFP is to locate a contractor to develop a lake nutrient source assessment and total lake nutrient budget for Devils Lake.  Time permitting an informative presentation will be made covering 25 years of lake management on Devils Lake.  This presentation has been developed for the upcoming Oregon Lakes Association meeting to be held in Lincoln City September 11th and 12th. Follow this link to download the Meeting Agenda and Manager’s Report.  Highlights include



  • Lake Level
  • The Devils Lake Plan
    • DEQ 319 Grant
    • Native Vegetation
    • Whole Lake Circulation
  • DLWID Internship, Hannah Nicholls
  • RARE program
  • Financial Oversight Committee Report
  • Communications Committee Report
  • Safety Report
  • Water Quality Update
  • Nutrient Budget RFP
  • New Education Committee
  • Chinook Winds Golf — water right applications

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Something’s in the Air: Water Odor the Focus

Berthoud Recorder
By Shari Phiel

Berthoud’s water quality has once again come to the forefront of concerns for local residents. For the past few weeks, Town staff have fielded about 30 calls a day from Berthoud citizens concerned about a noxious odor and taste in their water.

At the Tuesday, Aug. 25 Board of Trustees meeting at Town Hall, numerous residents voiced their concerns to their elected officials about the problem. Like many, Berthoud citizen Billie Norris said she disliked “paying for something I’m not getting.”

Gary Suiter, the interim Town administrator, said staff are working to resolve the issue. Suiter noted the Town has recently contracted with CDM Engineering to “perform an evaluation” of the Berthoud water treatment system and provide feedback and recommendations for any changes that can be put in place.

The interim administrator also noted that Berthoud’s Public Works Department has completed about 30 water tests from various residences and all have tested safe to drink. He also contacted the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to confirm the test results.

But what is causing the bad odor and taste? The problem seems to stem from algae growth at local reservoirs. An Aug. 14 analysis of waterborne particulates found Anabaena, an algae known for its fetid smell, present in Berthoud water. Carter Lake area resident Mick Shupe noted the smell is particularly bad in that area. He suggested the Town look at introducing “Grass Carp,” which are algae eaters, to the lake.

“This is a universal problem,” said Suiter, noting that according to the public health department, many other communities have faced similar problems. One recommendation from public health was to use copper sulfate during water treatment. However, the idea of adding even more chemicals to Berthoud’s water did not find favor with residents attending the meeting.

Trustee Michael Patrick noted algae particulates had been a problem in Berthoud in past years but the addition of SolarBees four years ago seemed to have addressed the problem.

Per the SolarBee Web site, these devices use “patented near laminar radial flow technology that provides high-flow, long-distance circulation in water reservoirs.” Unfortunately, no system is fool proof and environmental changes can generate algae blooms beyond the SolarBees abilities to control.

Esther Vincent with the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District’s Colorado-Big Thompson nutrient project said Wednesday she was surprised to hear residents had concerns about algae blooms at Carter Lake. Vincent toured Carter Lake on Wednesday, Aug. 26 but found no algae blooms present.

She proposed the problem may not be coming from Carter Lake but from the holding pond where Berthoud water is stored. Vincent explained water is fed via pipe from Carter Lake into a shallow retention pond, which is the same pond where the SolarBees were installed. Algae blooms are a more prevalent issue in shallow water than at deeper lakes.

For Berthoud residents with concerns about their water, Suiter suggested the contact the Town’s public works staff and request water samples if necessary.

Residents with water discoloration, which sometimes occurs when the water system and hydrants are flushed, can pick up Rover Rust Remover, a sodium bisulphite powder, at Town Hall.

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Two states battle Lake Tahoe infestation

California and Nevada mount a counterattack against invasive nonnative clams.

Associated Press
August 21, 2009

California and Nevada agreed Thursday to jointly mount a counterattack against invasive species that pose an increasing threat to Lake Tahoe’s azure waters.

California Secretary of Natural Resources Mike Chrisman and Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons signed the agreement during an environmental summit that annually brings together scientists, politicians, federal land managers and conservationists to get updates on the condition of the lake and new potential sources of harm to its famed clarity.

“Those of us in the political arena come from many different political points of view, but we come together when we talk about Lake Tahoe,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

“That little line that goes down the middle of the lake between our two states is not a line that divides us. It is a line that joins us,” said Gibbons, a Republican.

Although catastrophic wildfires, air pollution and erosion continue to pose threats to the lake, new research shows a major infestation of nonnative Asian clams could cause even more trouble.

The dime-sized clams are believed to be linked to a major algae bloom last summer, and experts said they could help other invaders, quagga and zebra mussels, successfully establish themselves at the lake.

Densities of clam beds have increased dramatically since their discovery in 2002.
Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times


For additional information on Asian clams:

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Wisconsin Gets Serious in Reducing Phosphorus in Lakes

Polluted runoff is Wisconsin’s number one water quality problem, degrading or threatening an estimated 90% of inland lakes. Extra phosphorus can wash into our lakes and streams from lawns, farm fields, stormwater and construction sites, roads and other hard surfaces, causing algae blooms, water quality decline, and negative impacts on recreational lake use and lakeshore property values. Phosphorus is the main nutrient that drives eutrophication in most lakes.

The Wisconsin Association of Lakes supports increased funding to implement polluted runoff programs and other policy initiatives that will reduce polluted runoff from agricultural and urban sources.  The Association has had several recent successes making substantial change to Wisconsin Law.

The “Clean Lakes bill” (AB 3) passed in the 2009-2010 legislative session which creates a statewide law regulating phosphorus in lawn fertilizer and will prohibit the display, sale, and use of lawn fertilizer containing phosphorus. On May 27th, 2009, a bill (AB-281) was introduced that would reduce one of the most common causes of pollution: phosphorus in household products.  Several other changes attempting to reduce phosphorus in Wisconsin lakes have recently happened, read more about the Wisconsin Lake Association polluted runoff polices by following the link.  (Read More)

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DLWID Communications Committee Meets

This was the committee’s first official meeting.  The meeting began promptly at 7:00pm and adjourned at 9:00pm.In attendance: Jack Strayer, Raylene Erickson, Mitchell Moore, Kerry Richards, and Donna Elsasser.

The group participated in a discussion of what we should accomplish.  Some of the initial ideas included the use of for email campaigns, the creation of a newsletter, several informational pieces from NALMS, the Oregon Department of Health and other States we’re distributed and discussed.

The group felt it needs to decide who DLWID is communicating with and what needs to be communicated. Perhaps the creation of a plan defining various aspect of DLWID communication would be the best used of the committees resources.

The committee should examine the relationship between PADL and DLWID and other groups. We should review the website, its purpose and its effectiveness. An organization called one/northwest designs environmental websites.

The group created a Purpose Statement for the committee.  “The purpose of the committee is to help develop a plan for the district to effectively communicate to homeowners, lake users and other organizations associated with Devils Lake.  Continue to work with the district to communicate the Districts goals to help lake stakeholders improve the lake.”

The discussion continued related to the creation of a Communications Plan for use by DLWID.  Some of the key elements of such a plan would include a description of communications objective, a description of the media available to the district, and the identification of the audience.  The plan would continue to identify specific media for use with each objective and identify specific campaigns and timelines for each objective.

The meeting minutes (DLWID Communications Committee 08072009) are available for download.  The committee feels it is important to receive input from the community and it was suggested that the nosolarbees site may be one way to accomplish that goal.  We have created a Communications Committee page so you may leave your comments and suggestions.  Please visit the page to help improve communication between citizens and the water district.

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August Board Meeting Report

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its August board meeting in their offices on Thursday, August 6th.  The meeting was attended by 15 – 20 interested parties.  The first order of business was the swearing in of re-elected Board President, Brian Green.  Two candidates were interviewed for consideration to fill the open board seat. 

Lake Manager, Paul Robertson reported on many matters during the evening.  The lake level was reported to have reached equilibrium at 9.25′ since the installation of a plastic lining across the dam.  Hannah Nicholls reported that her summer is in full swing assisting with water quality testing, stream flow measurements and the creation of a new display for the District.  Pictures of the new Rain Garden constructed at Taft High School were shown in an informative slideshow.  It was announced that the Oregon Lakes Association will have its annual meeting in Lincoln City this year and Devils Lake will be prominently discussed.

During the discussion on the Devils Lake Plan it was reported by board member Jack Strayer that progress is being made working out details of the native re-vegetation project with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Brian Green directed staff to begin investigating safety issues related to SolarBees® as suggested by the resolution passed in the June board meeting.  This prompted several comments by the public that attended the meeting.  When asked if the SolarBees® Project was indeed dead, Brian Green responded by stating that it was his opinion that the board only committed to study the matter further.  He was asked if the District had the funds to proceed with SolarBees®, Mr. Green responded that some think that there are not sufficient funds but that he did not feel that was necessarily the case.  Mr. Green did not state but seemed to imply that if after investigating the safety record of SolarBees®, if no documented injuries were identified that the board would have meet their commitment and could potentially reactivate their pursuit of a SolarBees® solution for the lake.  This prompted strong protest from those who attended the meeting.

A water quality report was given; DLWID initialed a red health advisory on July 31st based on the presence of visional scum at site 5 “east thumb”.  The latest test taken the day of the meeting included toxicology tests, identifying four sites that exceeded the ORS standard of 8ppb of Microcystin.  Interestingly, the water clarity has been restored as the current bloom has subsided.  The current elevated Microcystin level seemed to be consistent with statements made by DLWID that the toxin is usually released as the algae dies.  Mr. Robinson suggested in the meeting that he felt there may be an new type of algae other than  Gloeotrichia, that is microscopic and potentially very powerful in its toxicity.  Hopefully, if there is a new species in the lake it will be identified in future test.  Better still, lets hope that the Microcystin level will have subsided by the next test and the District can lower their advisory.  You can find a link to the latest water quality test in the side bar on

The next DLWID board meeting is scheduled for September 3, 2009 at 6:00 pm.


Filed under DLWID, Meeting Reports