Category Archives: DLWID

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Website Stings in Protest of SolarBees

Kate Rowland
From the Newport News-Times
June 5, 2009

 
Group takes issue with aesthetics, cost and communication

A group of Lincoln City-area residents are protesting the Devils Lake Water Improvement District’s (DLWID) planned $1-million purchase of SolarBees, water circulation devices that combat blue-green algae, and made their position clear by posting about 300 “No Solar Bee” signs in lake neighborhoods last week.

The group also provides window posters and brochures, and planned to hand out about 75 T-shirts to protest SolarBees at the DLWID board meeting Thursday. About 500 mailers were sent to area residents.

The group’s website address is www.nosolarbees.com.

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News Flash – No SolarBees on Devils Lake

DLWID June Board Meeting

After hearing from nearly 50 people tonight, the Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board voted unanimously to defer any further action toward placement of SolarBees on Devils Lake. 

 

More specifically the resolution made by Otis Winchester read;

“I move that we 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.”

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.

This result is proof that public involvement can really work, that said its tiring, and I’m not home yet.  So I’ll provide more details after a good night’s sleep.  Thank you all for your support.

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Message From DLWID Chair

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN – LET’S WORK COOPERATIVELY
 TO RESTORE, PRESERVE, AND ENHANCE DEVIL’S LAKE

 There is evidence that the cyanobacteria problem in Devils Lake is getting worse.  Sediment cores dating from the 1840’s to the present (2005) demonstrate that harmful cyanobacteria are reappearing each year and their populations continue to increase substantially.  With the loss of nearly all aquatic weeds in 1994 to the grass carp, the cyanobacteria have grown exponentially in numbers in the recent decade. Experts tell us that, once such a trend is established, it usually continues and accelerates.  The DLWID Board has attempted over the past two years to identify every possible method to combat the problem.  Chemical solutions are objectionable to many people, and they are prohibitively expensive because chemical applications always have to be repeated.  Every other solution was either ineffective, or too expensive, and usually both.  The Board has also been aware that the weed problem on Devils Lake is likely to return soon due to the demise of the aging grass carp. 

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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. 

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Water Board Asked To Abandon SolarBees® Project

A letter was sent today to the Devils Lake Water Improvement District requesting the Board abandon the SolarBees® Project.  The letter addressed the unpublished agenda for the upcoming June 4th, 2009 meeting.  We are asking the Board to vote against placing SolarBees® on Devils Lake.  Please attend this very important meeting to ensure the Board hears loud and clear our opinions.  I know it is a difficult to make a Thursday night 6:00pm meeting if you have to travel to Lincoln City. It is our sincere hope that an overflow crowd will have a good chance to end this now.

The letter explains that many citizens would like the opportunity to express their concerns directly to the Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board of Directors and makes two requests.

  1. Given the likelihood that the meeting will be attended by more members of the public than the DLWID office can accommodate we request plans be made for a larger venue.  It has been suggested that the Lincoln City Council Chamber at 801 SW Highway 101 could be a viable alternative.

  2. We request the SolarBees® Project to be on the agenda for a board decision by resolution, on whether to proceed with the placement of SolarBees® on Devils Lake.

Click here to read the entire letter.

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Lake Front Signs Now Available

Thanks to a generous donation from Lake Front homeowner Larry Brown we have produced 300 yard signs for placement on the lake.  These 18″x24″ signs will clearly declare your position as it relates to Devil’s Lake Water Improvement District’s plans to put 20 SolarBees on our lake this summer.  That is “SolarBees – No! No! No! ”  Our goal is to put all 300 signs on the lake to send a clear message to DLWID that SolarBees are unpopular and unwanted.  Additionally we hope that these signs will get the message out to the greater public that regularly use Devil’s Lake throughout the year.  There opinion should be a part of this decision along with the rest of us.

New Yard Sign

New Yard Sign

If you would like to have a No SolarBees sign placed at the water’s edge on your property please email your request including the address of your lakefront property to nosolarbees@gmail.com.  We’ll make our best effort to install a sign on your behalf as soon as possible.  If you would like to make a donation to the cause to help defer these costs let us know, all contributions will be gladly accepted.

So don’t delay!  Let us know of your desire to voice your opposition to SolarBees!  The sooner we get these signs placed, the more effective our message will be.

Thanks again, Larry!

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Funding Efforts for SolarBees Suffer Setback

 

Devils Lake District Swarms for Stimulus

DEQ funds destined for SolarBees are now unlikely due to an incomplete application. The DEQ application was the most promising of three funding sources applied for by the DLWID.  While this is good news, the project will remain on DEQ’s Intended Use Plan for three years giving the district two more bites at the apple.  Therefore it is still important to provide your comments as requested in our post, Call To Action–Write The DEQ.  In the interest of improving our message, please forward your comments to us at nosolarbees@gmail.com.  According to the article in the Newport News Times, published March 13th;

“The Devils Lake Water Improvement District’s application for a healthy chunk of stimulus funds was ranked No. 9 out of 162 statewide projects, but Oregon Department of Environmental Quality officials say the organization is unlikely to receive any federal money due to an incomplete application.”…
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Report From The Budget Meeting

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held their annual budget meeting in the District’s office on May 11, 2009 at 10:00 am. In addition to the DLWID Board and Budget Committee members, two lake front residents were in attendance. We’ll cover just the meeting in this post and get you more details on the budget and the process in coming posts.

The 2009-2010 Budget was discussed for nearly 3 ½ hours culminating in the committees approval by a 6-1 vote of the proposed budget, with what amounted to a few minor presentation changes. Prior to this final vote a motion was defeated by a 5-2 vote to recommend a budget that removed the SolarBees project, more specifically, -$26,821 from the General Fund expenditures and -$1,067,380 from the Improvement Fund expenditures.

There were several concerns raised by the Budget Committee members. Two of the concerns did result in a change in the proposed budget by language placed in the motion that passed.

  1. Modify the budget message to clarify the authority granted to the board by approval of the budget by the committee.
  2. Change the budget for the Improvement Fund, specifically line 32 of LB-11, entitled “Reserved for Future Expenditure” will be reduced from $320,912 to $13,500. This change accurately identifies the Districts total reserved funds after purchase of 20 SolarBees.

Several of the concerns raised by Budget Committee members did not result in changes to the budget. The District explained that they could juggle funds to cover the additional expenditures.

  1. The proposed budget contains a new program in which the District “will provide the means” for lake front homeowners to “document the serviceability of their septic system in order to continue to receive municipal water”. Those homeowners who have septic systems needing repair will have water service suspended and be offered a loan from a pool of $100,000 from DLWID with a 5-10 year repayment schedule to make modifications. There are no expenses in the budget specifically identified for this program. Nothing, to cover the initial creation of the program or ongoing labor costs, billing costs, postage, or uncollectables that might be associated with such a program. It was suggested a figure be calculated to cover the expenditure.
  2. The proposed budget will make a $1,067,380 capital investment placing 20 SolarBees on the lake. The operating budget contains $0, for associated operating costs, routine maintenance or repairs due to damage or wear and tear from the harsh environment. The committee expressed concern that the District will exhaust its reserve with the initial purchase and has designated no ongoing expenditures associated with the project. It was suggested a figure be calculated to cover the expenditure.
  3. The budget contains the creation of a new reserve account to fund the eventual replacement of the DLWID vehicle. It was discussed that with the added duties on maintaining 20 SolarBees a similar reserve should be considered for the DLWID boat.
  4. It was stated that the District will need to find a new contractor to perform the tasks associated with lake level management. It was also stated that there would be additional tasks for this contractor beyond that required today. The budget amount for this item was not changed from the previous year and it was suggested it be increased.
  5. It was suggested that the legal budget be increased due to the potential of a future legal challenge related to the placement of SolarBees.
  6. It was suggested that the Public Relations budget is significantly less than in years past. Several of the committee members felt strongly that the public needs to be better informed as it relates to DLWID’s activities. The resolution that approved the budget includes language requesting public meetings specifically to accomplish this. With that in mind a request was made to increase the Public Relations budget amount to cover these efforts.
  7. Finally, as suggestion was made that certain cuts to the budget are made now to help cover the perceived shortfall from the above items. A specific recommendation was made to cut the summer intern and the RARE intern for a potential savings of $24,000.

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Call To Action – Write The DEQ

The Devil’s Lake Water Improvement District (DLWID) continues to pursue the placement of 20 SolarBees on Devil’s Lake despite the protests of those present at last night’s board meeting.  DLWID has made several applications attempting to fund this project.  Two of the applications are for grants, one with the EPA and one with NOAA, neither of these appear to have a public comment period.

The third application which may be the most likely to be approved is through the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.  This application was for $762,000 under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program.  The State’s process contains an internal review followed by publication in the Proposed Intended Use Plan (IUP) at which point, a 30 day public comment period opens.  The plan was published today which means the comment period will run until June 8th.  Each project is ranked and the DLWID project was ranked 9 which according to DEQ, if project is able to satisfy all State Revolving Fund requirements, there would be a strong likelihood of funding.

Who To Write:

It is time to comment.  It is easy.  Written comments may be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to

Email:    Rick Watters of DEQ at WATTERS.Rick@deq.state.or.us or

 intendeduseplancomments@deq.state.or.us

Mail:      Oregon DEQ, Water Quality Division

Kim Carlson

811 SW Sixth Ave.

Portland, OR 97204-1390

Fax:        (503) 229-6037

What To Write:

Research this application has much as you want but at a minimum ask them to refuse funding, and let them know three things

  1. You knew nothing or little of the project,
  2. You do not support the project,
  3.  You do not feel there is large enough problem to justify the project.

These three items are major misrepresentations in DLWID’s application.

Resources:

DLWID DEQ Application

Proposed Intended Use Plan Update #3

Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program Checklist

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Please Comment on the DLWID Board Meeting

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District meeting was tonight. Please leave your thoughts and comments on this post so those who could not attend will know what was said.

Thanks!

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