“Know Your Lake” is a periodic article from the Devils Lake Water Improvement District about our plans and decisions for the betterment of Devils Lake. Simply click on the links to the left to view the complete articles.
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District adopted the latest revision to the Devils Lake Plan at its March 2011 meeting. The District is now actively pursuing projects such as the Septic Tank Revitalization Program, Vegetation Management using Chinese Grass Carp, sewers. In addition to these programs DLWID has undertaken a goal of providing an aeration system for the lake as well. Links to these and other projects can be found here.
DLWID is seeking developing a direct appointment for Engineering Plans and a General Report for a lake-wide, sub-surface aeration/oxidation system for Devils Lake. The District meet with the potential consultants at its 2016-01-14 meeting, and are considering the following:
To access data click DropBox or follow the links at left.
Vegetation Management (Initiated 1984 -Ongoing)
Grass Carp Supporters Needed – Take our Quick Survey!
The connection between Chinese Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) and Devils Lake goes back to the beginnings of the District. In fact, the District’s first responsibilities were centered on implementing and monitoring the Grass Carp plantings. While other forms of vegetation management have been explored (See Vegetation Management Strategies below) the method of choice for the District has been and continues to be the herbivorous fish, the Chinese Grass Carp. As a result, sterile Grass Carp have been stocked three times in the lake with the initial plantings in 1986 and 1987, and most recently in 1993. Effectively the youngest fish in the lake are now at a minimum of 18 years old Typically these fish live 10-12 years with some known to live as many as 25 years, which is why this issue is again at the forefront of the District.
Since the last stocking however the Wildlife Integrity Rules the state administers have change, and the eligible uses of Grass Carp have become quite limited (See ODFW Brochure). Only water bodies of less than 10 acres held entirely on private land are now qualified. All water bodies that the Grass Carp are planted in must now be restricted from public access and have no inputs or outputs to other water bodies with limited exception. This for most practical purposes limits their use to irrigation ditches and small private ponds. Further, public government bodies, such as the Devils Lake Water Improvement District, are forbidden from the application process altogether. The only way of approving the restocking is firstly through a variance of the rules by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission. These are some of the major hurdles that the reintroduction of Grass Carp must thus overcome.
Other regulations will also apply, specifically adherence to the Endangered Species Act as it relates to Oregon Coastal Coho Salmon. The EPA just relisted Coho as “Threatened”, and thus their protection will be prioritized by the federal agencies and the state agencies. A few links to those listings by the federal agencies of NOAA-Fisheries (NMFS) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have been provided below.
While vegetation management is an important priority for the District, invasive weeds are only a symptom of a culturally impacted lake. In recognition of this, the District is and will continue to actively seek to reduce nutrients coming into the lake as well as seek to prevent the spread of invasive species. It is with a watershed wide approach then that Grass Carp are being pursued and how they fit into the management strategy for the watershed (See Devils Lake Plan).
Sewer – Voyage Lake LID (Initiated 2010 – Ongoing)
A citizen driven effort led by DLWID Director Brian Green has been in the works since 2010 seeking to bring the first sewer Local Improvement District in the watershed in at least 15 years. Those efforts have seen the support of approximately 70% of the landowners and homeowners in the proposed LID who joined to petition the City of Lincoln City to formally create the LID through the a Resolution of the City. That Resolution passed the Council unanimously on Monday April 22, 2013, also known as Earth Day since 1970. The District has been following and supportive of these efforts since their inception and sees this project as a model for sewering the rest of the watershed. Below are many documents relative to the movement of this project to the point it is now.
In many ways inspired by the Voyage Lake LID, the City of Lincoln City has embarked on developing a practical and affordable means to sewer the developed lands around the east side of the lake. This includes water service accounts which currently are on septic systems and those properties with an existing agreement with the city for future water service. The affordable consideration is the concept of installing a small diameter, low-pressure sewer line verses a large gravity sewer. This is based on advanced grinder pump technology being implemented in the Voyage Lake LID.
In developing the plan, initially the City and DLWID met with state and federal funding entities at a One-Stop Finance Meeting to discuss potential options for funding. Requested were two things, update the sewer master plan and conduct an environmental review of the proposed new technology. The City in turn budgeted, offered for bid, and awarded a contract to complete those tasks. This then is the DRAFT Devils Lake Sewer System Pre-Design Report now available. The City is seeking input and plans to bring this to the City Council at a future date.
Finance: Strategic Funding Plan Proposals – Meeting October 5, 2015, 6pm at Oregon Coast Community College.
Septic Tank Revitalization Program(Initiated Fall 2009)Fact Sheet
The Devils Lake watershed has been densely developed in the last 100 years. Due to the nature of the development and the landscape the vast majority of these homes utilize onsite waste management systems or septic systems. While under working order, septic systems are a good tool for treating bacteria in wastewater that is not however true with failed systems, with systems that are placed in places lacking the right soil conditions, or that are set below the water table. In addition, septic systems can be a major contributor of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) in the watershed, particularly aging or poorly maintained systems. While other sources of nutrients exist, this is one item humans (lake residents, property owners and District residents) can have a direct impact on. Identification and revitalization of septic systems thus was established as the number one priority in the Devils Lake Plan in August of 2008, and continues to be a major priority today with a focus on voluntary inspections.
Key to identifying failing septic systems is conducting evaluations (aka inspections). Currently the District is pursuing a program to encourage voluntary inspections or evaluations. While certain properties going through real estate transactions maybe required to ensure that an adequate septic system exists, many onsite systems have for decades gone without an evaluation, or many never have ever been assessed. In fact, approximately 1 out every 3 homes (33%) in the watershed built with septics systems were installed before 1974, when permits were first required. Many more systems being 25+ years are beyond there useful life. This accounts for approximately 50% of the septic systems in our watershed.
DEQ has many resources to get people educated on septic systems as part of their Oregon Septic Smart program. One tool is to have a licensed professional conduct an Existing System Evaluation Report (aka inspection). This is a voluntary program that allows the homeowner an opportunity to get vital information about their septic system. This can be a valuable tool as certified inspectors can provide detailed information about what is working and what might not be, allowing an opportunity to fix small problems before they lead to expensive repairs or replacement. Evaluations are a wise investment for both homeowners and prospective home buyers.