KGW News Channel 8 and 140 concerned residents attended the DLWID meeting last night to ask the board to fully impound the lake this summer and develop a short term plan to combat Harmful Algal Blooms. KGW’s story summarized what happened at the meeting quite well. Thank you to all who attended.
by Katherine Cook, KGW Staff
Posted on April 11, 2014 at 8:42 AM
Updated today at 8:42 AM
The lake, typically popular with boaters and swimmers, had been avoided by longtime users. Some of the worst areas of the water were blue-green and sludgy from swirls of algae.
Two years ago, the Devils Lake Water Improvement District voted to lower the lake level by 6 inches to help prevent erosion. Joe Barnes lives on Devils Lake and said since then, the lake hasn’t been able to flush out algae.
Barnes is president of the Devils Lake Home Owners Association, which was fighting to raise the lake levels back to 9.53 feet.
“When they decided to lower the lake level, we had 500 signatures and I think 86 people spoke and said, ‘Don’t lower the lake, (the algae problem) is going to happen,'” Barnes recalled. “And guess what, this is what happened.”
“This is a tragedy to see water quality like this,” said lake manager Paul Robertson.
Robertson and the DLWID listened to dozens of public comments at a public meeting Thursday night. Nearly every community member who spoke asked the board to raise the lake levels back to 9.53 feet. They also asked for support to dredge D River, to help the lake flush out the algae.
Several community members walked out of the meeting when board members wouldn’t agree that the lowered lake level may have caused the increasing algae.
“(The algae) is based on nutrients (in the lake),” said Robertson.