Category Archives: DLWID

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Lake warning draws fire from residents

PATRICK ALEXANDER
The News Guard
July 8, 2009

 

An alert about potentially toxic cyanobacteria on Devils Lake in the run up to the Fourth of July prompted criticism from some lakefront property owners at the’ July 2 Devils Lake Water Improvement District meeting.

Lake Manager Paul Robertson posted yellow alert signs July 1 after noticing an increase in green slime on the lake surface particularly at Regatta Grounds and East Devils Lake State Park.

Similar cyanobacteria blooms last summer and fall produced levels of liver toxin that exceeded state and World Health Organization limits for recreational water use.

Robertson said the yellow alert signs, which warn lake users to stay clear of scummy water, were posted as a precaution in accordance with the district’s cyano-watch program.

Robertson also gave radio interviews in which he warned that water skiers could be at heightened risk of exposure to any toxins produced by the bloom if they breath in vapor when skiing through scummy water.

Lake resident Bud Depweg said Robertson is scaring people away from the lake, “I think that’s wrong,” he said, both businesswise, which doesn’t mean anything, but because so far, in my 34 years [as a lakefront property owner,] I have yet to see anyone get sick because of skiing through this green slime that’s all over the lake.”

Lake resident Larry Brown said Robertson should not be allowed to speak on behalf of the district’s board of directors without authorization.

 Board Vice-chair Jack Strayer said Robertson has discretion to speak to the media when he feels it is appropriate.

 Robertson said informing the public about potential risks is a key part of the cyano-watch program.

 “What’s the point in developing a program if you’re not going to tell people about it?” he said.

 The district is scheduled to run toxicity tests on the bloom Thursday, July 9.

Brown also called for the district to change its water sampling methods, saying samples should be taken at set times and at set locations in the middle of the lake, with the collection and analysis done by outside companies.

Speaking before the meeting, Robertson defended the district’s current policy of “incident-based” sampling, which involves testing water quality whenever a bloom occurs.

He said cyanobacteria scum tends to accumulate around the edges of the lake, where children and dogs, who would be more vulnerable to any toxins, are most likely to be at play.

“You really put yourself at risk of  underestimating what the levels might be if you only rely on the mid-lake stuff,” he said.

After the meeting, Robertson said the district is working on the logistics of taking mid-lake samples in addition to shoreline samples.

Determining the severity of the lake’s  cyanobacteria problem will help decide whether the district will pursue a whole lake circulation project, such as the installation of 20 SolarBee water agitators on the lake surface, in an attempt to deny the bacteria the calm water they need to bloom.

A recent surge of opposition to the SolarBee idea convinced the board to shelve any further action until questions about the cyanobacteria risk and whether the modules have any history of causing boating accidents.

Lake resident Mitchell Moore urged the board to go a step further and  pronounce the SolarBee concept dead and take advantage of the public’s newfound interest in the district to move forward on other projects that have widespread support.

Brown said the board and Robinson should focus on arranging events such as water skiing displays, fishing derbies and kayak races to build camaraderie among lakefront property owners.

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Filed under Algae Bloom, DLWID, Solarbees, Water Quality

DLWID July Board Meeting Report

The DLWID held its July meeting this evening which was attended by about 20 residents.  Public comment continued on the SolarBees® issue addressing safety concerns, aesthetics and need.  This discussion was capped with a reminder to the board of  John Morris’ comments that “there is no amount of additional information that would justify putting 20 devices on a recreational lake.”  The board was encouraged to put SolarBees® in the past and concentrate activities that are supported by the public.  This message was well received.  Other topics that received public comment included the potential of adding grass carp to the lake, which included a description of the original permit, changes in law and the status of the DLWID rejected permit request.  Comments were also made on the districts initial plans for a septic tank renovation plan.

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Attend the July DLWID Board Meeting

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting will be held in its offices above Radio Shack Thursday July 2nd at 6:00pm. We are asking all lake front homeowners and interested parties to attend this important meeting.

In it’s last meeting the DLWID Board deferred the SolarBees Project.  However, in a recent News Guard article Brian Green DLWID Chair said,  “everyone should keep an open mind about all the concerns that have been raised and allow firm data to drive the conversation. A lot of this has the feel of people having a pre-ordained conclusion that they don’t want SolarBees on the lake and coming up with arguments against them,” he said, adding: “I would urge everyone to draw back, take a deep breath and let’s just do some more investigation.”

In last months meeting, John Morris stated that “there is no amount of additional information that would justify putting 20 devices on a recreational lake.” He would like to object to the Board considering the liability and has a difficult time understanding why the Board would even consider it.

Obviously, these two viewpoints are not aligned!  Please come to this important meeting to help us re-enforce the message sent to the DLWID board at the June meeting.

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Filed under DLWID, Meeting Announcements

DLWID To Homeowners – We’re Not Done Yet!

If you attended the June 4th Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board Meeting you may have thought that we were done with SolarBees® on Devils Lake.  The actual decision read;

 “defer further actions toward pursuing SolarBees until we have more information regarding the nature, extent and effects of cyanobacteria and learn more about the safety experience with SolarBees on other recreational lakes.”

The above language does not represent a final decision by the DLWID Board but rather it appears to be just a deferral of the ultimate decision.  This position is clearly stated by DLWID Board President, Brian Green in the most recent article “Lake Abuzz Over Bees” that ran in the News Guard June 17, 2009. 

According to that article Green said “the recent surge in interest in the SolarBee proposal has convinced the board that it should hold a specially advertised public meeting prior to any decision to go ahead with the project.”

The article continues, Green said “everyone should keep an open mind about all the concerns that have been raised and allow firm data to drive the conversation. A lot of this has the feel of people having a pre-ordained conclusion that they don’t want SolarBees on the lake and coming up with arguments against them,” he said, adding: “I would urge everyone to draw back, take a deep breath and let’s just do some more investigation.”

While the District is moving ahead on some very positive steps such as, improved communication, and native re-vegetation there still seems to be a prevailing line of thinking that lake users can still be convinced that SolarBees® are the right solution for Devils Lake.

 I would encourage each of you to check nosolarbees.com for updates and to keep current on the issues.  Encourage your neighbors to do the same.

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Filed under DLWID, Solarbees

Lake Abuzz Over Bees

DLWID takes concerns over solar devices under review
PATRICK ALEXANDER
The News Guard
June 17, 2009

A plea from lakefront property owners has led the Devils Lake Water Improvement District to re-examine the case for installing solar-powered water agitators aimed at tackling toxic cyanobacteria blooms.

A recent campaign spearheaded by lake resident Mitchell Moore has questioned whether the lake’s cyanobacteria problem is serious enough to warrant the district spending more than $1 million in savings, grants and loans on 20 SolarBee modules. Continue reading

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Safety on Devils Lake: Reflections of a Healthcare Professional

Cyanobacteria and other phytoplankton blooms have apparently increased as predicted since introduction of grass carp into Devils Lake. But it is not clear is that these blooms pose serious health risks to lake users.  American mythology is full of stories about illness and death from “bad water.” Medical literature repeats warnings about exposure to cyanobacteria toxin.  However, in current literature there is a paucity of reports of human illness caused by exposure to these toxins in aquatic recreational venues. This is not because most recreational lakes are free of blue-green algae.  More than 15 Oregon aquatic venues, including heavily used Detroit Lake and Clackamas River, posted cyanobacteria advisories in the last couple of years.
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Filed under Cyano Information, DLWID, Solarbees, Water Quality

Legal Stinger Could Stop SolarBees

Kate Rowland
From the Newport News-Times
June 10, 2009

Vigorous objection to the planned purchase of 20 Solar-Bees led the Devils Lake Water Improvement District (DLWID) Board to set aside the $1 million project for the time being, but residents who simply asked for more input in the process may have legal grounds to demand more than just an opportunity to comment.

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Filed under DLWID, Solarbees

Devils Lake SolarBee Plan on Hold

Kate Rowland
From the Newport News-Times
June 10, 2009


Water district creates communications committee of volunteers.

After three hours of energetic testimony in opposition to SolarBees from nearly 50 community members in attendance at the Devils Lake Water Improvement District (DLWID) board meeting Thursday , the board voted unanimously to put the project on hold, at least for now.

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Filed under Cyano Information, DLWID, Ecoli, Solarbees, Water Quality

DLWID Board Vacancy

Devils Lake Water Improvement District Manager Paul Robertson announced today a vacancy on the District’s board. The application is availabe by download on this site or at dlwid.org. Appications from interested parties are due by July 15th, 2009. The full text of the announement was as follows.



The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board of Directors is seeking to fill a recent vacancy on its Board of Directors. Long time member, Smokey Aschenbrenner has recently resigned from the board, creating the vacancy. Smokey has served on DLWID’s board since his appointment in March 2002, filling a vacancy left at the time by Lynn Hermo. He was then elected to the position in 2003 and again in 2007. Within his over seven years worth of service to the Board, Smokey has served as Chair, Vice Chair, and most recently as Secretary/Treasurer. Longtime friend and fellow board member, Otis Winchester, said recently, “Smokey’s calm insight and experience will be missed on the board. Not only has he been a valuable member to the District, but has served the city in a number of ways including being mayor and as a member of the Lincoln City Lions Club.” Otis who has served on the board for six years himself was elected Secretary/Treasurer for the remainder of the fiscal year.

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Filed under DLWID, General Information

DLWID June Board Meeting Recap

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting was attended by approximately 50 people on June 4th, who used the opportunity to provide public input on the SolarBees® project.  At the end of the public comments the DLWID Board was asked to vote for abandonment of the SolarBees® project. It was further stated public opinion is unanimously against the project and in favor of this proposed resolution.   

0604091859aDuring the business session of the meeting the Board passed a resolution (see previous post) to defer further actions toward pursuing SolarBees® until more information is available regarding the nature, extent and effects of cyanobacteria and the safety experienced on recreational lakes.  In other actions the Board created a permanent Communications Committee staffed by members of the community to advise the board in improving communication to lake users.
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Filed under DLWID, Meeting Reports