Lake Resident Shares Observations
Jack Strayer former Board member of the Devils Lake Water Improvement District went to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) organizational meeting in Newport on 3/20/2012 and was good enough to provide us with a brief report.
According to Jack, the meeting was only mildly informative to the uninitiated. Jack reports that he did met some of the key players and got a sense for what they are up to. Follows is a brief explanation the important issues that will concern lake residents.
The State DEQ’s goal is to identify the local stakeholder and get them to do the TMDL work. The previous [est 2003] stakeholders and some others were invited to form a Local Stakeholders Advisory Committee (LSAC) which will be informed by the Technical Work Groups (TWG). In other words, the TWG’s will be formed to collect data and report back to the LSAC. The LSAC will prepare TMDL recommendations for DEQ.
The work will focus on temperature, sedimentation and bacteria. The focus will be on the sources such as septics, forestry, agriculture, industry, roads and others.
The people that want to be on the LSAC should expect [and are encouraged] to attend at least 12 work meetings between now and December. In addition the TWG will have other meetings to work on their assignments.
Jack asked David Waltz from DEQ, during the open meeting why there seemed to be lots of activity dealing with the basin problems but no team to specifically address many issues that only face lakes. He said that many of the lake issues like nutrients, forestry, and agriculture are really basin problems and indicated that the TMDL answers will address these issues. He said further that the mid-coast lakes will be addressed in detail after basin issues are addressed.
Jack asked if the current process, that they spent nearly 8 hrs describing, will not result in TMDL solutions for lakes. David Waltz agreed that it would not address lakes specifically. When asked who is in charge of making the final decision on the TMDL – the LSAC, the TWG or DEQ. David Waltz said that DEQ would make the final TMDL determinations and that there were 2 or 3 levels of review within DEQ.
When asked how often will the public be allowed to review and comment on the findings and the process? DEQ indicated that all documents will be made public on the web, all meetings are open to the public, comments are encouraged at all times, and there will be more formal hearings and time for public comments throughout the process.
Jack indicated that he spoke to Paul Robertson at the meeting who is a member of the LSAC. Based on Jack’s comments he was approached by I a member of the South Siuslaw Watershed Council – who was also concerned about the issues facing lakes (his basin includes Siltcoos, Whohink, Tahkenitch and others). He is also on the LSAC and will keep Jack informed about the proceedings.
We really appreciate Jack attending the meeting on our behalf and supplying a report. Keep an eye on the Devils Lake Navigator as we try to keep you informed on the process. The DLWID as a participant will also provide information on their website, and we’ll find links to the documents that Jack mentioned when they become available.