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Neighbors Fighting Devils Lake Algae Problem

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

 LINCOLN CITY, Ore. — Murky water has several people worried about Devils Lake, in Lincoln City.

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.

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DLNA Board Testifies Before DLWID

The following testimony was provided by the Devils Lake Neighborhood Association (DLNA) to the Devils Lake Water Improvement District (DLWID) on March 13, 2014.

My name is Mitchell Moore and I live at 2929 NE Loop Drive. On behalf of the overwhelming majority of residents living in the boundaries of the Association I offer the following written comments in support of the verbal testimony provided at the same meeting.

Request:

To begin, we repeat our request that the DLWID add lake level on the March agenda, and resolve to exercise the maximum impoundment right of 9.53’ beginning April 15th through October 15th.

Furthermore, given the extreme conditions that exists in the lake today, the members of DLNA request that the District begin the water monitoring season immediately. The purpose of this action would be to identify health hazards as soon as they exist and document current conditions for future study.

Comments:

Over the past few years the District has suggested that there is a lot of mis-information out in the community which cause problems between the public and the District.  Several statements from unknown origins, were made during the February board meeting by board members and staff that seemed on the surface to be repeats of some of this mis-information.  We spent some time researching these statements and our findings suggest they were either incorrect or misleading.

HABS Phenomena

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Leisure Bay – October 2013

The first statement made by a couple of board members last month suggested that the increased level of algae bloom in 2013 was part of unusual Statewide HABS phenomena.   This inferred that an increase in all lakes reasonably explained our experience at Devils Lake.  (See image from Leisure Bay October 11, 2013)

 

Our Fact Check indicates that on a Statewide basis this was not really an unusual year. Each year the Oregon Health Authority publishes a report on Harmful Algal Blooms. Continue reading

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The Greening of Devils Lake

The 2013 recreational season on Devils Lake saw lower water levels, warmer water temperatures and the worst algae bloom in memory.  The Greening of Devils Lake provides a look at the result of these factors.

Please watch this video. If you spent time at the lake this summer it will look all too familiar.  If you’ve been absent see what you missed.  It’s time to get involved; email us at dlakeoregon@gmail.com to see how you can help.

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DLWID 2013-2014 Budget Meeting Report

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Budget meeting was on Friday May 10th at 10:00am and was held in the City Hall Council Chambers located on the third floor of City Hall.

Budget Presentation: The Lake Manager started the meeting presenting the budget to the budget committee. It described the five priorities that have been set by the DLWID Board in previous meetings. These priorities include:

  1. Improve and maintain the water quality in Devils Lake.
  2. Improve the environment for fish, wildlife, and humans in Devils Lake and its watershed.
  3. Improve recreational opportunities in and on Devils Lake.
  4. Improve and maintain safe and efficient navigation through Devils Lake.
  5. Increase public access to Devils Lake.
  6. Improve the economy of north Lincoln County through the restoration and maintenanceof Devils Lake.
  7. Increase public awareness and public education of Devils Lake.

He then continued on to describe a list of other additional programs and activities the District maintains are presented. There is more detail on each area at http://www.dlwid.org/Projects.html. The categories include Continue reading

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May DLWID Board Meeting Report

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting was Thursday May 9th at 6:00pm and was held in the City Hall Council Chambers located on the third floor of City Hall. The full meeting is now available online at this streaming video link.

Thank you Linda for your years of service!

Thank you Linda for your service!

Public Comment: There were 10 interested parties in attendance. Those interested in commenting on agenda item commented at beginning of the meeting those that wished to comment on non-agenda items waited till the end of the meeting. Those in attendance presented Linda Burt with a flower arrangement and a well deserved thank you for here years of service. The district was encouraged to continue creating a written record of the meetings. A commenter reacted the phrase raise the lake to responsible levels and suggested that would at a minimum be to a level equal to the current board policy. Others commented on what they characterized were campaign mis-statements made by some current board members related to the residency of candidates, attendance at meetings, and use of misleading terminology.

Septic Ordinance: There was a discussion on how the septic inspection may operate. The we’re some concerns expressed who and/or how the County will be engaged. Staff changes at Lincoln County mean that they will not be able to perform the inspections. The Board felt inspections should concentrate in clumps so area residents could consider a sewer LID instead.

Save Our Shoreline: The District was asked to hire a landscaping company to maintain the rain garden at Regatta Park. The Board asked to have the City bid on maintaining the plot. The Board authorized $485 to clean up the site once and $275 to rebuild a slope.

Vegetation Management: The District reported that Rep. Gomberg he will support the grass carp application and assist in promoting grass carp.

Sewer: Brian Green reported again on the Voyage Local Improvement District, has been approved. He reiterated that this represents a new model for an LID where all costs are paid for by the participating homeowners. Of the 58 lots 44 participated, he projected that maybe 10 would hook up in the first year, then perhaps 2 to 3 additional per year.

Communications Report District staff requested a tent to be used for events. The request was deferred to the next meeting.

Policy Update: There was a presentation on a new law that requires a policy update providing guidance for mandatory reporting of abuse or neglected children. The policy was approved.

RARE Program: Updates were provided in support the requested $20,000 to participate in the RARE program. The Lake Manager suggested the,position could work on public relations, website development, Devils Lake Revival, water quality, and outreach and education. The Board doubted that one person could accomplish all the items that have been identified. A concern was expressed that required supervision would distract from the Managers ability to accomplish his job. The Board decided not to participate in the program this year.

Recorder: Linda Burt the faithful recorder of the DLWID is retiring. She was honored by lake front residents in the public comment period. The Board discussed options and directed staff to advertise for a replacement.

Non-Agenda Items: There was a lengthy discussion about installing the dam now since it was pointed out in public comment that the lake was lower than 9 feet at this time. In the end the board moved to open the door to partially install the dam, that is leaving the center section open should the lake level reach 8.9 foot.  This temporary rule will be in place between May 15th and  June 1st where the dam would be installed by existing policy if the lake drops below 9.o feet through June 15th when the dam will be installed to maintain a 9.o foot lake level. The motion passed.

Board Comments: Kip Ward made a statement that the fact that David Skirvin does not live in Lincoln City does not impact the keep it local argument. He said that the lake was in Lincoln City and control needs to stay in Lincoln City. He stated that the board is currently 4 to 1 local versus out of towners, and should one of the challengers win this election the board mix would be 3 to 2 putting absolute local control in jeopardy in just 24 month when the other three positions are up for re-election. He then reiterated that his mother lives in Portland but he wouldn’t want her on the DLWID board?

The meeting adjourned after 8:35pm.

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April DLWID Board Meeting Report

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting was Thursday April 11th at 6:00pm and was held in the City Hall Council Chambers located on the third floor of City Hall. The full meeting is now available online at this streaming video link.

Public Comment: There were 6 interested parties in attendance. Those interested in commenting missed the first comment period and waited till the end of the meeting.  A representative from the Tigersharks Surf Club which is trying to help local kids learn water safety and how to surf made a second appeal for funding from the District. A resident from the Horseshoe bay area tried to plea with the Board for reconsideration of their lake level decision showing photographs that illustrated half the bay empty last summer.

Septic Ordinance: There was an extensive discussion of the septic program and sewers on the lake.  The discussion came and went throughout the entire meeting as consumed 2 to 2.5 hours of the meeting. In summary the septic program seems to have morphed from water shutoff as a mechanism to something more like adding a surcharge to water service for those who have not completed the required inspections.

Vegetation Management: The District has stated an outreach program to the public to find interested members of the public to assist in lobbying for grass carp.  This outreach has been primarily limited to online efforts rather than direct contact or direct mail.   Other tasks on the project were discussed.

Sewer: Brian Green reported again on the Voyage Local Improvement District, which lead to another round of discussion on sewers around the lake.  The District seems to be toying with getting actively involved in encouraging the expansion of sewer LID’s around the lake.  It is unclear from the discussion of what decision was made.

RARE Program: District staff proposed that the  $20,000 be invested in an effort to secure another season of a RARE Intern.  More information was requested.

Devils Lake Community Grant Program: The District is proposing to make available funding for grants to non-profits, community organizations, and local governments to engage in activities that offer benefits that align with the District’s mission up to $6,000 annually.  The Board did not take action on this request but did authorize $1,000 to be given to the Tigersharks Surf Club with the condition that the children work an unspecific amount maintaining the rain gardens.

The meeting adjourned after 10pm.

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Attend The March DLWID Meeting

March 14, 2013 6:00pm

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District now holds its regularly scheduled Board meetings on the second Thursday of every month. This month the District invites you to spend Valentine’s Day with them at City Hall. The agenda for this month’s meeting on Thursday March 14th at 6:00pm, contains several important topics.  During the meeting will be a discussion related to next steps the Grass Carp request recently submitted to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Our hopes are that a plan will be disclosed to enlist the public in support of the application.

Other topic of discussion this month includes the Septic Tank Revitalization Program and the plan for the upcoming intergovernmental meeting on the topic.  The District will present the initial plans for the Devils Lake Revival held in Regatta Park.  This year’s Lake Steward will be selected to follow Don Sell the 2012 recipient.  Several other items will be discussed as outlined in the Staff Report. The Water District makes several other important decisions regarding the lake every month and you are encouraged to attend.

If you cannot attend this month’s meeting; it will appear on Channel 4 for all Charter customers. You can check the Channel 4 Schedule for airing times. You may also now watch the meeting streamed lived, see the related article above. The best way to stay informed is for all lakefront homeowners and interested parties to attend these important meetings.

There are several topics of importance to lake residents on this month’s agenda. Please check the links to the District’s documents to review the other topics on the agenda for this month’s meeting.

Agenda
Staff Reports
February 14 Minutes
February 14 Video

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February DLWID Board Meeting Report

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting was on Valentine’s Day Thursday February 14th at 6:00pm and was held in the City Hall Council Chambers located on the third floor of City Hall. The full meeting is now available online at this streaming video link.

Total Maximum Daily Load: Kevin Brannan from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality presented an overview of the TMDL process for the Mid Coast Watershed. He described how the DEQ details of the TMDL process suggesting there is a lot of data available including 165 sample stations with a 12 year history. Generally, they will identify sources, quantify bacterial levels and develop a plan for improvement where required. The plan will then be implemented, monitored, they will learn during the process, then they will improve the plan. In fresh water they are specifically concerned with eColi.

Agricultural Water Quality Plan and Rules Overview: Kevin Fenn from the Oregon Department of Agriculture provided a brief overview of the existing rules and water quality plans that govern agricultural in Oregon. He explained that they monitor agricultural activities near water. This is mainly related to erosion caused by farming, grazing and manure management.

Public Comment: There were 6 interested parties in attendance. A presentation was made by the Tigersharks Surf Club which is trying to help local kids learn water safety and how to surf. He explained they spend a great deal of time on the lake for training. He was looking for donations to supplement the tution for kids who cannot afford to participate. Another person suggested the District promote the Great Backyard Bird Count which is Feb 15th to18th.

Septic Ordinance: There was a report given on the Septic Tank Revitalization Program. City staff is at the point where they are ready to put together details to the program and suggested that a meeting be scheduled as early as March, it could be a City Council or a speci workshop. Details are still being worked out.

Save Our Shoreline: There was a brief discussion on the need to do a second round of maintenance at the raingardens and replant as required. The District has organized a fall and spring landscaping training course. The District decided to host the training this spring, and open it up to the public as a free course. Continue reading

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Interested In Lake Leadership?

Ever think of getting involved in Lake Leadership?  There are two seats open for elections on the May Ballot.

electionsaheadsignwithblueskyThe election for Special Districts will be held May 21, 2013, for Devils Lake Water Improvement District, Positions 4 and 5 which are currently held by Brian Green and David Skirvin.   Additional information can be found on the county’s website.

Parties interested in running for office can contact Dana Jenkins, Lincoln County Clerk at 541-265-4131 or countyclerk@co.lincoln.or.us for more information or can visit the County Clerk’s website for elections. Here are some of the key days for the coming election.

  • 1st day to file for office – February 11, 2013
  • Last day to file for office – March 21, 2013
  • Last day to file for Voters’ Pamphlet (candidates) – March 25, 2013
  • Last day to file for Voters’ Pamphlet (arguments) – March 25, 2013
  • Last day to file a measure – March 21, 2013
  • Last day to file a measure argument – March 25, 2013
  • Ballots mailed to military & overseas voters – April 5, 2013
  • Ballots mailed to out-of-state voters – April 22, 2013
  • Voter Registration Deadline – April 30, 2013
  • Ballots mailed out – May 3, 2013
  • Election Day – May 21, 2013

Individuals interested in running for public office need to file with the County Clerk’s office using the specified forms.  Use to links below to download the appropriate forms.

Candidate Complete Filing Packet
District Candidate Filing Form SEL 190
Candidate Signature Sheet Form SEL 121

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Attend The February DLWID Meeting

February 14, 2013 6:00pm

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District now holds its regularly scheduled Board meetings on the second Thursday of every month. This month the District invites you to spend Valentine’s Day with them at City Hall. The agenda for this month’s meeting on Thursday February 14th at 6:00pm, contains several important topics.  The meeting will begin with a special presentation on the Mid-Coast TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) and the Agricultural Water Quality Plan and Rules by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Other topic of discussion this month includes the Septic Tank Revitalization Program and the potential of an upcoming public meeting on the topic.  The District will present the results of the annual financial review and provide updates on the Voyage Local Improvement District for the provision of sewers and paving near Regatta Park.  Several other items will be discussed as outlined in the Staff Report. The Water District makes several other important decisions regarding the lake every month and you are encouraged to attend.

If you cannot attend this month’s meeting; it will appear on Channel 4 for all Charter customers. You can check the Channel 4 Schedule for airing times. You may also now watch the meeting streamed lived, see the related article above. The best way to stay informed is for all lake front homeowners and interested parties to attend these important meetings.

There are several topics of importance to lake residents on this month’s agenda. Please check the links to the District’s documents to review the other topics on the agenda for this month’s meeting.

 Agenda
Staff Reports
January 10 Minutes
January 10 Video

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