Attend DLWID Board Meeting

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District announced Friday that the June 4th Board meeting will be held in its offices above Radio Shack at 6:00pm and released their agenda.  We are asking all lake front homeowners and interested parties to attend this important meeting.  In a letter dated May 27th nosolarbees.com has formally asked the Board to abandon the SolarBees® Project.  The Board needs to hear this request repeated by each and everyone attending the next board meeting.  The goal…put this issue to rest at Thursday night’s meeting.  To accomplish this we need you to make an extra effort and find your way to the meeting.  It will be crowded and that’s just fine, we’ll make sure a list is circulated and that each person in attendance gets a chance to address the board. 

Web

The June 4th meeting agenda contains three items that provide an avenue to speak toward the SolarBees® issue.

2009 – 2010 Budget
If you are financially inclined you may wish to discuss some of the issues concerning SolarBees® in the proposed budget.  Many of these issues have been described in our Report From The Budget Meeting.  You may also wish to discuss the trouble the District is having funding this project as recent outlined in the Managers Report published for this meeting.

The Devils Lake Plan – Native Vegetation
This promising program championed by DLWID Board Member Jack Strayer begins a process of cooperatively working with lake stakeholders to reintroduce native plants to the lake shore, nearby wetlands and eventually to the lake itself.  This program has the goal of restoring a natural balance to the lake without the use of solar powered machines.  Unfortunately,  all of DLWID’s financial resources are devoted to the SolarBees® proposal.  Therefore this promising project has been abandoned.  Please encourage the board to embrace this project and abandon SolarBees®.

The Devils Lake Plan – Whole Lake Circulation: SolarBees
This website has provided a great deal of information indicating the presence of twenty SolarBees® on the lake present a major impediment to navigation, safety, and public recreational use of the lake. Furthermore, this places an unnecessary financial burden on the Devil’s Lake Water Improvement District.  Pick your favorite point and make your position known to the board.  Ask the board to pass a resolution during this current meeting stating they no longer support the placement of SolarBees® on Devils Lake. 

3 Comments

Filed under DLWID, Meeting Announcements

3 responses to “Attend DLWID Board Meeting

  1. From: Joe Eilers [mailto:jeilers@solarbee.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 1:19 PM
    To: Jay Schofiel
    Cc: Paul Robertson
    Subject: Devils Lake comparison

    Hello Mr. Schofiel,

    Thank you for your call today regarding the proposed treatment of Devils Lake with SolarBees. You requested information regarding a larger lake being treated with SolarBees that might be more comparable to Devils Lake than Blue Lake, especially with regard to motorized recreation. I believe one of the best “comparables” regarding recreational use is Lake Palmdale in California. This is a 234 acre lake with considerable waterskiing activity and floatplane use. We have 7 units on Lake Palmdale, which would be similar spacing to what is proposed for Devils Lake. The water utility that purchased the units has presented the results of the treatment at two scientific meetings. There have been no apparent conflicts or contact between motorized recreational activities and the circulators.

    A second “comparable” is Canyon Lake, CA. This is a 500 acre lake where we treat one of the two arms of the lake with 7 units. The treated arm is narrow, with intense shoreline development and high recreational use. Again, the SolarBees greatly reduced problems associated with water quality and especially with blue green algae. Fishing has improved considerably in this arm, but not in the area of the lake that did not receive SolarBee treatment.

    You also inquired about SolarBees lack of peer-reviewed publications on the SolarBee website. This is an area we are addressing. We have two manuscripts being revised in response to review comments and they will be sent back to the editors this month. Once we have the summer 2009 data available for Blue Lake, I will be submitting that manuscript for publication. We have another manuscript describing some of the fundamental mechanisms of circulation that will be submitted shortly. We have recognized our lack of peer-reviewed publications as a deficiency and are making major efforts to respond to this criticism.

    Thank you for your interest in SolarBees.

    Best Regards,

    Joseph Eilers, CLM
    Prof. Hydrologist-WQ
    Pacific Northwest Manager
    Solar Bee, Inc.
    Bend, Oregon
    phone: 541-617-0071
    fax: 541-385-6959
    cell: 541-815-1455
    Toll free: 877-765-6337
    http://www.solarbee.com

  2. From: Kenneth W KAUFFMAN [mailto:kenneth.w.kauffman@state.or.us]
    Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 1:47 PM
    Cc: achapman@co.lincoln.or.us; Barbara L STIFEL; Curtis G CUDE; Daniel T CAIN; Deanna E CONNERS; Laura E Boswell; paul@dlwid.org
    Subject: Newport News Times reporter inquiry; Devils Lake and algal blooms

    I had a call today from Kate Roland, 503-472-7929, a reporter for the News Times newspaper in Newport. She has talked with me before about Devil’s Lake and algal blooms, and she has fairly extensive understanding of algal bloom hazards. She is doing another story, she said, in the next day or so.

    Today she told me there is a controversy building at Devil’s Lake involving a proposal to install 20 Solar Bee units on the lake to try to stop the growth of aquatic weeds and to discourage toxic algal blooms. The management district apparently is promoting the Solar Bee project. They applied for economic stimulus financing and rated high, but lost out in the final analysis, so they propose to go ahead with local tax financing. She said the cost of the project is said to be a million dollars.

    Apparently a lot of property owners on the lake are not supportive of the project–in fact there is a vocal opposition that has established a website at http://www.nosolarbee.com . They argue against the project from a variety of directions, she said.

    One of the most common comments she hears from opponents is that they do not believe the past and present algal monitoring program is legitimate. They question the test methods and findings; and they openly and flagrantly ignore BGA warnings including the “red alert” advisories issued by the local management district.

    Kate wonders if I believe the methods, techniques and findings of the local managers are accurate and that there really are hazards during the advisory periods.

    I said I believe the district personnel are using ELISA test products that are sensitive and accurate. When they measure a specific toxin and its concentration, I said, I believe the findings are accurate for the time and location of the sample. This is a well-tested and widely used testing technique. I suggested she talk to some aquatics biologists and with CyanoLabs in Florida about the testing technologies used in the field and in labs.

    I pointed out to her that most algal advisories done in Oregon are based on identification and specified concentrations of toxigenic cells, rather than on toxin assays. It is assumed that a dense bloom of toxigenic algae is very likely to produce toxin at some time (if not throughout) a given bloom. Toxin assays are not required to demonstrate the hazard. In that sense, I said, the Devil’s Lake advisories have more specific data supporting them than most other advisories.

    How then, does one respond to assertions such as “I ignore the warnings and have never been ill or harmed by algal toxins.”

    I said there are a couple of things that ought to be pointed out about bloom assessments:

    1. During a bloom of toxin-producing algae, there will be a wide array of different conditions in any given waterbody. There generally are areas that are less affected, or not affected at all by a given bloom. There often are areas that are apparently clear and free of bloom products.

    2. However, visual observations are not a dependably accurate way to avoid toxin, because toxin moves with water currents and with wind currents and can move from place to place fairly quickly. If there is a documented toxigenic bloom in a waterbody it should be assumed that any and all areas could be affected and dangerous. One can have high toxin levels in areas of relatively clear water.

    3. Exposure to toxins may or may not produce immediate symptoms of illness. Microcystins, the most commonly documented toxins at Devil’s Lake, are liver toxins, and exposures to even small amounts are injurious to the liver and the injury may be permanent and progressive. Chronic exposure to low doses can destroy the liver but it may take years of exposure for the damage to be recognized. Advisories aim at preventing exposure to even low doses.

    4. Most toxigenic species of algae are “facultative toxin producers” which means they may or may not produce toxin at any given moment or at any given location. Dense blooms may occur without much toxin production initially but end up being very toxigenic. Toxin levels often increase after the bloom visually begins to decline; because the toxins are held inside the algal cells and are released when the cells die and disintegrate. This is why our assessment policy says that advisories should remain in place for one week after measured toxin levels fall below the danger threshold; and two weeks after the concentration of toxigenic algal cells decline below the danger threshold.

    People claim that there are no documented cases of illness or hospitalization in the Lincoln City area that can be attributed to algal toxins, she said. I said there may be unreported cases and sub-clinical cases of illness or injury that were not reported. Vets and doctors are not required to report such cases, so there is no way anyone could verify that claim. Every summer we receive calls from citizens, vets and clinics reporting illnesses that could be linked to algal toxin exposure.

    Acute animal and human illnesses and deaths do occur in this country and worldwide; but we don’t want or expect to see them documented in every Oregon community. That is why we do advisories.

    People travel widely for recreation, so unless an illness is very acute; the local hospital or local doctors are not likely to hear about all illnesses or injuries.

    We talked briefly about Solar Bee technology and whether it has been demonstrated to be effective in stopping toxic algal blooms. I said I haven’t seen any published data, but there are success stories and failure stories that can be found on line. Biological systems are very complex and very difficult to influence in a predictable way. Most interventions result in a mix of “beneficial” and not so “beneficial” results. She said the success rate of the Solar Bee technology doesn’t seem to be a key part of the discussion or the source of the opposition.

    I said I am not surprised that there are some who are unconvinced that there is a significant toxin threat. We encounter some of that with all of our advisories. We try to make advisories clear and informative; and provide the technical background to those who ask for it; but there are always those who are not convinced.

    I said that is the nature of human beings. We tend to hear and believe what appeals to our own views and understandings. I think we need to do good work, solidly based and explain it as well as we can. That won’t necessarily convince everyone; but we hope it will be accepted by the majority of persons who are at risk.

    Kenneth W. Kauffman
    Environmental Health Specialist
    Environmental Toxicology Program
    Department of Human Services
    State Office Building, Suite 608
    800 NE Oregon Street
    Portland OR 97232
    Tele: 971-673-0435 ext.30435
    Fax: 971-673-0457
    kenneth.w.kauffman@state.or.us

  3. Pingback: Message From DLWID Chair « Devils Lake Navigator

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