Category Archives: Rulings

Discussion of misc rulings that impact lake use

Marine Board Rejects Salmon River Petition

On October 22nd the Oregon Marine Board voted 4 to 1 to denied a petition to prohibit personal watercraft (PWC) operation on the Salmon River in Lincoln County. The Marine Board cited the overwhelming public support for the current rules coupled with the results of their investigation in to the petitions complaints as the reason for the decision to take no future action.

The Oregon State Marine Board received a petition in August to amend the personal watercraft rules, and adopt a local restriction in the Salmon River Estuary to prohibit personal watercraft use. The Marine Board defines personal watercraft as a motorboat less than 16 feet, powered by a water jet pump, generally operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on, rather than in sitting inside.

The Marine Board held a hearing in September and listened to the comments of a packed Community Center meeting room with approximately 74 in attendance.  As reported by the Newsguard, “the majority of the crowd strongly opposed the petition while a handful were in favor.”

The comments in support of the petition cited safety concerns because of the small size of the waterway, claims that PWCs violate the existing operating rules (proximity to swimmers and non-motorized), complaints about the loud noise that PWC engines make, and general comments that the noise and speed of PWCs conflict with the purpose of the Cascade Head Scenic Research Area.

The comments in opposition to the petition generally citied the lack of a conflict between PWCs and other boats, a desire to keep the waterway open to all boats/users and the contention that PWCs have no more impact on the environment than any other boat. Additionally, opponents to the petition raised concerns that the reasoning behind the petition could lead to a prohibition on all motorboats.

Several PWC operators submitted comments in which they said they used the Knight Park boat ramp and Salmon River only for the purpose of accessing the ocean (less than 1 mile from boat ramp to mouth). The American Watercraft Association commented that the petition unfairly targeted PWCs when some of the arguments of the petition could apply to all motorized watercraft, and that non-motorized watercraft are not required to take safety education courses, whereas PWC operators are required to have a boater education card.

Many of the petitioners’ written complaints describe alleged violations of proximity and speed by PWC boaters. According to the Marine Board incidences of this nature may occur, however law enforcement patrols on the Salmon River have significantly increased in the past two years and this type of activity is not documented by cited violations.

You can read the petition here and review the staff report here.

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Newport Coast Guard Open Until Jan 2016

coast-guard-heloWASHINGTON, D.C. – Following their repeated calls to ensure the safety of residents in coastal areas, Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Representatives Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader, Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici announced December 10th that the Congress has passed legislation that will keep the U.S. Coast Guard’s air facility at Newport open through the coming year.

The Oregon lawmakers worked to include language in the Coast Guard reauthorization bill that would keep the Coast Guard’s air stations open through January 1, 2016—including the Newport facility.

In a letter last month, the Oregon lawmakers, along with South Carolina Senators Tim Scott, R-S.C. and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Representatives Mark Sanford, R-S.C., and Tom Rice, R-S.C., and Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., urged the Department of Homeland Security to reverse the Coast Guard’s decision. This letter came on the heels of a letter that Oregon lawmakers sent to the Commandant of the Coast Guard urging him to keep the helicopter in Newport.

While the Coast Guard claims that it would still be able to meet the national standard of a two-hour search-and-rescue response time, local fishermen and Central Coast residents who depend on the rescue helicopters say first-hand experience shows that closure of the base will lengthen response times and threaten the safety of local mariners.

Newport houses National Oceanic and Atmospheric vessels and Oregon’s largest commercial fishing fleet, in addition to research vessels from Oregon State University. In response to repeated calls from Oregon lawmakers, the Coast Guard announced it would delay the December 1 closure of the Newport facility. (Source: Senator Jeff Merkley Press Release Dec.10, 2014)

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Water Rights Final Determination Released

City Has Until 2026 to Complete the Project

The Oregon Water Resources Department released its Final Determination for Transfer Application T-11116 for Lincoln City’s change in the Point of Diversion (P.O.D.) of their existing Rock Creek water right on March 16, 2011.  This Final Determination provided the Department’s conclusion that the proposed change in place of use, and point of diversion, should be approved. You may review the Final Order in Application T-11116 as it contains certain conditions that have been identified as a condition of the permit.  The City and Siletz tribe have until October 1, 2026 to complete the work described in the application and until October 1, 2027 to claim beneficial use.  With this order the City’s application process comes to a close.

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Water Rights Preliminary Determination Released

Deadline for Final Public Input January 13, 2011

The Oregon Water Resources Department released its Preliminary Determination for Transfer Application T-11116 for Lincoln City’s change in the Point of Diversion (P.O.D.) of their existing Rock Creek water right today.  A Preliminary Determination provides the Department’s conclusion as to whether a proposed change in place of use, point of diversion or appropriation, or character of use of an existing water right should be approved. This week’s OWRD Public Notice contained the following statement.

T-11116 filed by THE CITY OF LINCOLN CITY, 801 SW HWY 101, LINCOLN CITY, OR 97367, proposes an additional point of diversion and a change in place of use under Certificate 21779. The right allows the use of 1.5 CUBIC FEET PER SECOND (priority date APRIL 22, 1947 for 0.75 cfs and JULY 18, 1949 for 0.75 cfs) from ROCK CREEK, tributary to DEVILS LAKE in Sec. 7, T 7 S, R 10 W and Sec. 12, T 7 S, R 11 W, W.M. for MUNICIPAL USE in Sec. 34, 35, and 36, T 6 S, R 11 W, and Sec. 1, 2, 3, 10, and 11, T 7S, R 11W. The applicant proposes an additional point of diversion approximately 2.9 miles downstream (Sec. 2, T 7 S, R 11 W, W.M.) and to change the place of use to Sec. 34, 35, and 36, T 6 S, R 11 W, and Sec. 1, 2, 3, 10, and 11, T 7S, R 11W, W.M. The Water Resources Department has concluded that the proposed transfer appears to be consistent with the requirements of ORS Chapter 540 and OAR 690-380-5000.

If protests are not filed pursuant to OAR 690-380-4030 (see below), the transfer application will be approved. Specific details of the Preliminary Determination for Transfer Application T-11116 can be found by following the link provided.  Lacking any protest by a party with standing, the OWRB proposed actions are as follows: Continue reading

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Water Rights Update

Draft Preliminary Determination Completed

According to the Oregon Water Resources Department database the Preliminary Determination for Transfer Application T-11116 for Lincoln City’s change in the Point of Diversion (P.O.D.) of their existing Rock Creek water right was drafted today.  From reviewing other applications it appears that it can generally take 3-4 weeks from the time the draft is written to the time it is issued in the OWRD Weekly Notice.

Interested parties can easily follow the process;  you should download the Weekly Notice and scroll down to the section titled “Transfer Preliminary Determinations” to view the information related to Application T-11116. A Preliminary Determination provides the Department’s conclusion as to whether a proposed change in place of use, point of diversion or appropriation, or character of use of an existing water right should be approved.  Please see “How to Participate in a Water Rights Proceeding” for a detailed description of the remaining steps in this process.

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Water Rights Countdown Begins

Comments Due by September 09, 2010

Notice of Lincoln City’s application for a change in the Point of Diversion (P.O.D.) of their existing Rock Creek water right appeared today in the Oregon Water Resources Department Weekly Notice.

The thirty-day clock has begun for public comment on the City’s transfer application. Any person may comment on a transfer application. Comments must be submitted by September 09, 2010. Any person who provides comments within the comment period will receive a copy of the formal Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) preliminary determination of whether the application should be approved or rejected, and will be provided an opportunity to protest the application and preliminary determination at that time.

The proper place to express your opinion on this proposal is during the OWRD application process.  Please see “How to Participate in a Water Rights Proceeding” for a detailed description of the process including how and where to file comments.  Links to related ORWD Documents are below as well as a summary of the application.

Current Transfer Documents

T-11116 Transfer Application
T-11116 Transfer Application Map

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How to Participate in a Water Rights Proceeding

The City of Lincoln City and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians of Oregon made a presentation and answered questions related to the use of water from Devils Lake to irrigate the golf course at the June Devils Lake Water Improvement District board meeting.  The Board of Directors of DLWID passed a resolution by a vote of 4-1 indicating support for the proposal. Since that time, several residents have expressed their opinions on the matter; some support the proposal, some do not.  For the record, the Navigator has not taken a position on the proposal.

The proper place to express your opinion on this proposal is during the formal Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) application process.  In order for the City to meet the terms of their agreement with the Siletz Tribe they will apply for a change in the Point of Diversion (P.O.D.) of their existing Rock Creek water right. This process is described in OAR 690 Division 380 Water Rights Transfers.

In an attempt to simplify the process for interested parties we have summarized the required steps below.  The summary is necessarily general, and may not specifically address the facts in this specific application. Water rights can impact citizens in unexpected ways; that is why a formal process has been established.  If you feel, the City’s proposal will have an impact that is not being considered follow the steps below to provide public input into the process. Continue reading

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Lincoln City Water Tradeoff

Newport News Times
By: Terry Dillman

City officials OK change of source for golf course

Lincoln City Council members unanimously agreed to a change of water source for the Chinook Winds Casino Resort Golf Course during Monday night’s council session that would provide water more conducive to growing grass on the greens, while reducing demand on the city’s water system during a peak time.

City Manager David Hawker recommended signing an agreement with the Siletz Tribe that would exchange treated water currently piped to the golf course from the city’s treatment facility for untreated water drawn from Devils Lake near the course, using the city’s Rock Creek water right. Hawker said the current arrangement – carried out under a 1991 agreement with the owners of what was then known as Lakeside Golf Course – “is not an ideal situation for either the golf course or the city.” Continue reading

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Lake Level – DLWID Perspective

By now you should be aware that changes to the summer time lake level are once again on the DLWID Board agenda.  We feel it is important to understand the Districts perspective on this matter and we are fortunate that our Lake Manager wrote extensively on the subject in the Managers Report.  It is unusual for us to post such a large excerpt; normally we would simply provide a link.  In order for there to be no misunderstanding or re-interpretation we included the text from the report pertaining to lake level in its entirety. We do feel compelled to note that in the fact checks and clarification section the report mentions some inaccurate statements made by a blog.  This was not nosolarbees.com as we have not yet reported on the water rights issue.  We’re still checking our facts; we do make mistakes but not this time.

Except from Devils Lake Manager Report 2010-06-03

Lake Level: Potential operational changes to the dam are being discussed at this meeting as additional information about lake level has been presented that represent that much less recreational water use benefit (e.g. deeper water at docks and shorelines) may be apparent at 9.53’ than assumed. Meanwhile many of the 22 property owners, that petitioned the District in 2009 for a lake level of 9.0 feet may be being impacted without substantial benefit to other lake users as previously assumed. Copies of that petition and subsequent flier distributed by an equally concerned homeowner opposing any change in the water level are available as reference items on our website. Working through these seemingly conflicting interests is thus to be addressed at the District’s next meeting. Public input will be afforded, but please limit your input to a concise statement at the beginning of the process, reserving additional comments should you have them for the end of the meeting.

Current Status: Currently (2010-05-27) the lake is sitting at 9.5’. The latest lake level measurements are available on our Water Quality page of the website (www.DLWID.org). Currently one section of the dam is open again at this time as rains have brought the lake up and fish passage issues are at least being attempted to be mitigated for by pulsing and/or section removal. This period of pulsing and/or whole section release will end after May 31st. The utilization of the dam from June through October, is thus open for consideration.

Current Considerations: It had been voiced in March 2010 meeting that if the dam was not installed in April, many properties would not have access to the lake for additional months. A motion was made to install the dam allowing for the new lake contractor the flexibility to allow for fish passage by means of leaving one section out of the dam providing the lake level could be maintained between 9.5’ and 9.3’ through June 1, 2010. At the time of the meeting (March 4, 2010) the lake level was 9.0’ above MSL. It was stated by a member of the audience that at this lake level many properties would not have access to the lake. Data were subsequently gathered by two of the District’s board members to investigate the potential impact on users at this same lake level of 9.0’. This presentation was made at the April 4, 2010 meeting and is available online at our website on the Project page under Lake Level (Director Presentation 2010-04-01 UPDATED). Some of the conclusions of that presentation were that nearly all of the properties surveyed the depth of the water when the lake was at 9.0’ was sufficient for drafting a typical pleasure craft. Where draft was insufficient at the far end of the canal on Thompson Creek, the addition of 6” of water to 9.53’ would have marginal benefit. For a complete review please revisit the slideshow from our website. Additionally a comprehensive review of this issue of the 2009 review is also available online (Staff Presentation 2009-04-01 ). What is presented below is new or additional information in no particular order that may be pertinent to the board discussion and decision on this issue along with some summary issues from previous meetings.

Water Rights: Rock Creek & Siletz POD: Irrigation of the golf course in our watershed came before City Council Monday 2010-05-24 for consideration. This is a proposal between the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians (CTSI) and the City of Lincoln City for selling water from the City’s existing water right on Rock Creek, a tributary of Devils Lake for irrigation of the Chinook Winds Golf Resort. This water right is held by the city, and as a municipal right it a permanent right, originally obtained by the town of Oceanlake. In fact, an existing, but unused pipe runs under Devils Lake that once served this community. As many will remember in 2006, the Devils Lake Water Improvement District, partnered with the Salmon Drift Creek Watershed Council, USFWS, ODFW and the City to alter a dam at the current Point of Diversion (Approximately River Mile 3.2) for fish passage. The current proposal would be to add a second Point of Diversion (POD) on this certificated municipal water right. City Council voted unanimously to approve this agreement. Continue reading

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City to fund Roads End water fix

Councilors direct staff to speed up annexation
PATRICK ALEXANDER

The News Guard

Lincoln City Council has approved a move to spend $400,000 to safeguard water supply to a portion of Roads End on the understanding that City staff step up efforts to bring the neighborhood within the city limits as soon as possible.

“We are holding out a hand in good will,” Councilor Gary Ellingson said, “and we want to be on the absolute moral high ground of this issue. And we hope that when we deal with annexation that we will be treated the same way.”

The money would be spent to create a bypass around a failing booster station that pumps water to 38 homes in an area of high ground around N.E. Port Drive.

“One of these days it’s going to become irreparable,” City Manager David Hawker said, “and we are going to have 38 empty homes.”

At Council’s Monday, May 24, meeting, several members expressed concern at the prospect of spending so much money on a project that serves customers outside the city limits and who contribute no property tax to City coffers.

The City’s 25-year contract to provide water to Roads End expired in 2003 and has not been renewed.

“It was planned that Roads End would have annexed to the city prior to the expiration,” Hawker said. “That agreement has long since expired, and Roads End has not annexed.” Continue reading

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