PATRICK ALEXANDER The News Guard
Tuesday, July 6, 2010 2:12 pm
Proposal would see greens irrigated with lake water
A proposal to use water from Devils Lake for irrigation at Chinook Winds Golf Resort has won the backing of lake planners, who say the deal will reduce the amount of synthetic fertilizer running into the lake.
At its July 2 meeting, The Devils Lake Water Improvement District (DLWID) Board of Directors voted by 4-1 to support the proposal after hearing Chinook Winds General Manager Sar Richards and City Manager David Hawker make the case for the deal.
The plan would see Lincoln City allow the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians to make partial use of a City-owned water right on Rock Creek – which flows into the south end of the lake – to withdraw nutrient-rich water from the north end. Continue reading
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its June board meeting in the City Council chambers on Thursday, July 1, 2010. The meeting was attended by approximately 30 interested parties. The meeting was attended by representatives of the City of Lincoln City and Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians of Oregon who made a presentation and answer questions related to use of water from Devils Lake to irrigate the golf course.
Executive Session of the Board: The Board of Directors held an Executive Session preceding their regularly scheduled meeting. The purpose of the executive session was to consider the Manager Employment Agreement, the RARE program participant, the contracts for legal services, payroll services, and minute recording and the employment related performance of each of the personnel currently contracted for such services.
Tribal Use of City Water Rights: The City and the Siletz Tribe made a formal presentation on the agreement they had reached for the use of City water rights to irrigate the golf course. Representatives attempted to answers questions which were submitted in advance as well as those presented at the meeting. (see City and Siletz Tribe Answer Citizens Questions ) Follows is a brief background as provided by Devils Lake Water Improvement District.
Background: “The City of Lincoln City owns water rights on many streams in the area including Rock Creek, Devils Lake’s main tributary. This water right predates the city itself, stemming back to the days of Oceanlake when water was piped from up in the hills, under the lake, and into the village. Since the 1980’s the Rock Creek certificated right has sat mostly idle, but the City of Lincoln City and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon have reached an agreement, pending the State of Oregon’s approval, to pursue some utilization of that water right for irrigating Chinook Winds Golf Course. This would be in lieu of the current method of using chlorinated tap water which originates from Schooner Creek a few watersheds to the south. However instead of using the water at the current point of diversion, three plus miles upstream of the lake, this proposal would create a new access point in the watershed, effectively in Devils Lake itself. “
Generally the presentation indicated that the golf course uses an average of about twelve million gallons of water per year, and the largest use is between mid August to mid September. This is during the City’s highest demand and lowest supply. The golf course’s use represents nearly 2.5% of the total annual water demand, and about 5.5% of total demand during the peak season. Eliminating this demand would extend the water supply and plant capacity to about 350 additional customers. The lake water contains phosphorus, as well as nitrogen, both of which can be used by the golf course turf, which reduces the amount of fertilizer that needs to be applied, some of which would wash into the lake. In other words, nutrients would be removed, rather than added to the lake. The agreement will permit more water to flow into Schooner Creek which is a significant additional benefit. The parties consider the agreement equitable, and quite beneficial to both parties. Continue reading
City Manager David Hawker and Sar Richards from the Siletz Tribe were present at the DLWID meeting for a special order of business designed to answer questions related to the proposed change in the City’s Rock Creek water right that would all the use of lake water for irrigation of the golf course. Mr. Hawker prepared a answer sheet in an attempt to address many of the issues. Follows are the questions that were submitted in advance and the answers provided at the meeting. If your are interested in the water permits held or applied for by each party we have located each and made them available for your review at the following links.
Questions from DLWID Staff:
The agreement is for 0.5 CFS = 0.99173157 acre-foot/day or approximately 30 AF a month. Is this correct?
- This would represent the maximum as it is based on use 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Actual use would be based on need watering need therefore less than this maximum. Continue reading
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its June board meeting in their offices on Thursday, June 3, 2010. The meeting was attended by approximately 30 interested parties. The board took no action to change lake levels.
2010-2011 Budget: The budget hearing occurred and only one person made a comment. The board was asked to reconsider its decision not to update the Devils Lake Plan. It was suggested that the plan be updated prior to the next budget cycle to establish a consistent set of priorities from year to year. The 2010-2011 Budget passed unanimously. There is a more detailed description of the budget in our report on the May Budget Committee meeting.
Lake Level: During the public comment period10 commented on lake level. Many points were made by the public on this topic. In the past 4 years only 2 homeowners have spoken in favor of lower lake levels. A petition was presented in 2009 where 21 signed to lower the lake from 10’ to 9’, many who signed that document have subsequently expressed their satisfaction with current lake levels, some were at the meeting and rescinded their signature. Residents have been willing to compromise with last year’s lake lowering and this year’s dam construction delay. Most commenter’s agreed that erosion happens but questioned if summertime lake level is the primary cause, the general consensus was that winter high water and winds have a much greater negative impact. A discussion occurred related to the district’s permit to store 1360 acre feet and the requirement in August and September for the lake inflow to match the outflow. The lake level should fall during the period due to evaporation and bank seepage. Many asked the district to abandon the proposal to further lower the lake, and look for a solution that would provide a long term; year round solution to the erosion problem.
It then turned to the board discussion on the topic David Skirvin presented in great detail an updated survey that he and Randy Weldon performed by measuring various docks on the lake.
Joe Barnes motioned to leave the lake level at 9’5.3” until a erosion study has been completed and after public comment. The motion failed from lack of second. The net result was by lack of new motion the lake level will remain at 9’.5.3”.
Siletz Tribe / Lincoln City Water Right: During the public comment period 5 commented on the Siletz Tribe Lincoln City water right. Generally, commenter’s were concern about what his might do to the lake and what benefit there might be for the lake. One person Paul Katen from from Salmon-Drift Creek Watershed Council spoke in favor of the Siletz deal indicating that residents need look at this with wide angle lens because when the water runs out on Schooner Creek the City will come to Rock Creek to expand capacity. The Board decided to invite the city and tribe to the next meeting to make a presentation on the matter. It was suggested that the meeting be constructed to permit public questioning of the participants.
The Erosion Study RFP: This topic came up several times in the end it appears the first draft of the document was deemed lacking. Areas of the project that should be expanded were discussed but the RFP was tabled until the next meeting. Continue reading
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its annual budget committee meeting in their offices on Monday, May 10th, 2010.
The meeting lasted 5 hours and was attended by DLWID staff, four board members, three budget committee members, and two observers. The order of business was a presentation by the District Manager of the proposed 2010-2011 budget, followed by public comment and discussion by the budget committee. Budget modifications were adopted by formal resolution of the budget committee.
For a complete description of the presentation made by the Lake Manger see the narrative in the 2010-2011 Proposed Budget. The discussion that follows is presented by budget section and attempts to capture the discussions of the public, and budget committee. Also described are the proposed actions of the committee. The next step in the budget process is to publish the modified budget by May 19th followed by a budget hearing and adoption on June 3rd. Continue reading
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its May board meeting in their offices on Thursday, May 6th, 2010. I was not able to attend this meeting and this account was created through discussions with third parties.
Lower Lake Level
According to the May Manager’s Report “the Lake Contractor installed the most of dam (sic) on April 19, 2010, raising the lake to 9.1.” Continuing Mr. Robinson states that “through May we will strive to keep the lake at 9.3-9.5’ with pulsing beginning mid month through until (sic) the end of May”. During the meeting board member, Randy Weldon raised concerns of an unidentified lake resident who felt that their property valuation should be lowered for tax purposes due to the loss of their shoreline due to erosion. The district discussed whether they might be liable in this situation. This began a discussion related to the lake level resolution passed in the March board meeting. The discussion continued reiterating the presentation made by David Skirvin during the April board meeting related to 30 water depth measurements taken by himself and Randy Weldon along the Eastern shore of the lake in the mooring slips of docks in an attempt to understand the impact on homeowners of various lake levels.
In recent years during lake level discussions it has been suggested by homeowners that lowering the lake level may impact navigation to their property. Based on the presentation made at the April board meeting some members of the board felt that their research indicated that the concerns of unusable properties were unfounded. It was suggested that the lake level set by board resolution in April should be amended to lower the dam to 9’.0” which is 5.3” lower than last year. The board did not act on this suggestion, however they have decided to vote on the matter in the June board meeting.
Adjust 2010 Priorities
The board took some time to review the individual priorities selected in the April board meeting . In the original list, working toward obtaining a permit for limited re-stocking of grass carp was the number one priority. After discussion, it was decided that this might be too limiting and that the goal should be expanded including the pursuit of grass carp and a review of the Devils Lake Plan. The revised list of 2010-2011 District goals were assigned a priority as follows:
- Control invasive aquatic vegetation
- Finish Septic
- Implement communications plan
- Ecoli Thompson
- Sewer planning for lake
Erosion Study Authorized
Most of the recent discussion by proponents of lowering the lake level has been justified through the suggestion that the current dam height of 9.53” is causing summer time erosion. As a result of their discussion on lake level the board authorized a erosion study. Few details were provided by the board. We would suggest that an independent contractor with erosion expertise be selected who will design a study that will last at least 12 months to capture all lake levels both those created by the district’s impound activities and those controlled by natural processes. We would anticipate that this study would be done while the lake is managed to the current height of 9.53”, otherwise you could not determine if that lake level had an impact on erosion. That said the actual lake level decision will be made at the June board meeting and may not be in line with our suggestions.
There were several other interesting topics on the agenda for the meeting, which are described in detail in the April Managers Report.
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its April board meeting in their offices on Thursday, April 1, 2010. The meeting was attended by approximately 14 interested parties.
Whole Lake Circulation – The Lake Manager has asked the Board to provide direction as to how they would like to proceed or not proceed regarding the placement of SolarBees on Devils Lake. After a breif discussion the Board decided to modify the direction previously provided by the resolution made in June 2009. The Board has instructed the Lake Manager by resolution to defer any further actions toward pursuing SolarBees.
Septic Tanks – The board was updated on the status of the program and the results of the most recent meeting with City officials. At the March 8, City Council meeting, Council voted 4-2 to direct staff to draft a septic system ordinance based on the eight outlined points approved by both Council and DLWID board. It was stated that it may be a month or more before the City Attorney begins drafting the ordinance. Once there is an estimate as to the availability of a draft ordinance the District will select a date to have a meeting for public input on the program.
Save Our Shoreline – Seth Lenaerts described the progress that has been made on this project. He stated that he intends to complete three shoreline restoration demonstration projects, two on St John’s Loop and one on Lake Cove Drive, at 9am, Saturday, April 3. The project will also require the help of volunteers. The event will be held from 9am to 1pm. If you are interested in volunteering meet Seth at the Neotsu post office at 9am this Saturday.
There were several other interesting topics on the agenda for the meeting. Here’s what transpired. Continue reading
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its March board meeting in their offices on Thursday, March 4, 2010. The meeting was attended by approximately 30 interested parties.
Septic Tanks – The board was updated on the status of the program and the results of the most recent meeting with City officials. Following their discussion the board passed a resolution reiterating its support of the creation of a septic program, and requested public involvement in the process. (see related article)
Lake Level – The board heard comments and discussed staff’s suggestion that the dam installation be delayed until June 1st to better accommodate fish migration. After much discussion, the board passed a resolution to install the dam on the customary date of April 15th but leave the center 8’ section open until June 1st. The center section will be replaced if lack of rainfall prevents the lake from rising to at least a 9’3” height. Normal operational height of the lake will remain at 9’6” as it was all last summer.
The February DLWID meeting occurred Monday February 8, 2010. It was a 4 1/2 hour marathon. About 20 people attended the meeting.
Lincoln County Sanitarian and his entire crew (2 people) attended the meeting and gave a very informative presentation. He did indicate that there was a limited impact we could have on the quality of the lake water. He did not think we would find many failing systems. He further said that even the best systems are going to spill nutrients into the lake because of the water table, rainfall and proximity to the lake. He said the rainfall alone places many nutrients in the lake. Continue reading
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its First board meeting of the New Year in their offices on Thursday, January 7, 2010. The meeting was attended by 35 interested parties. I will attempt to cover the entire meeting in this report, if your major interest is the septic revitalization program, select the link below labeled “more” and look for the septic revitalization heading. Otherwise read on…
After minor corrections to the minutes and additions to the financial report the first action taken by the board was the appointment of Joe Barnes to fill the open board seat. I would like to thank Mr. Mark Christie and Mr. Douglas Pirie for their willingness to serve. Due to the large crowd the agenda was adjusted moving the public comment following the scheduled presentation on the septic revitalization program.
The District Manager, Paul Robertson reported that he is pursuing different methods to frame enforcement actions against property owners that have modified their property in a way that would warrant a land-use complaint. The District has been meeting with the Department of State Lands staff structuring an argument that Essential Salmon Habitat endangerment could justify an enforcement action. Other aspects of enforcement involve the Flood Plain Permits required by Lincoln County for activities in flood-prone areas which could establish the jurisdiction required to take an enforcement action. Continue reading