Reducing algae blooms and septic tank and drainfield contamination in Devil’s Lake is music to the ears of those who live around the lake and those who rely on income from tourists who come to this picturesque body of water during the tourist summer months.
There have been endless meetings and discussions in public and private about what should be done about summertime algae blooms which have now become common in the winter as well. The city of Lincoln City has launched a program to begin sewering the whole lake – eventually getting everyone off their septic tanks and onto city sewer. But that’ll take a long time.
So with that as a reality, the Devils Lake Water Improvement District is taking bold steps at the southwest corner of the lake where the lake water connects to the ocean under the Highway 101 bridge.
On April 9th, the district board will hold a regular public meeting at Lincoln City City Hall to formally present a plan that the board feels might go a long way to improving the lake’s overall health – especially during the summer months.
What the DLWID board is proposing is to return the river part of the lake, at the southwest end, back into a naturally flowing stream. For a long time a dam has stood between the lake and its short channel flow to the D-River Wayside that opens up to the ocean. District officials say removing the dam won’t drain the lake – but it will lower it by a foot or so, 8 to 9 months out of the year. During those months, water flowing into the lake from the north will move through the lake faster and thereby flow out to the ocean quicker. And because the “lake turnover” will be more rapid, the lake will more thoroughly flush out its accumulated nutrients from septic tanks, drainfields and storm water sediment, not to mention general run-off from individual properties around the edge of the lake – fertilizers and whatever else comes from those properties.
But again, in order for all this to happen, the district board is proposing to remove the dam. Currently the dam is comprised of two components – the submerged concrete footing that stretches across the river bed and the wood and metal vertical extension on top of it. Both have to come out. But in their place the board is proposing to install a new temporary dam that would be placed across that same spot on the river so the lake rises a little higher to maintain its traditional slightly higher summer level. They’re only talking about a foot or so, something the old dam has always provided. But instead of being made out of concrete, metal and wood, it will be comprised of sand bags and/or flood control tubes – something that can be installed late in the spring and easily removed in the fall.
Again, the benefits are lake and river flushing during 8 to 9 months out of the year, less saturation of septics and drainfields around the lake, less algae blooms and easier Coho Salmon access through the lake and up into the spawning streams that feed it.
And there is another benefit – fixing a long running problem between the dam and the beach. There is a permanent sandbar that has built up below the current dam and which attracts huge flocks of seagulls which, understandably, see it as a convenient place to dine on fish that come and go from the lake to the sea. Sort of a ring side seat at a buffet line. But those seagulls leave quite a lot of seagull poop that makes its way out to the beach where kids and their families routinely gather and frolic in the fast flowing water. Not a good thing.
Once the temporary dam is removed in the fall, the river will flow faster through there and that sandbar will permanently melt away back to the beach.
Other benefits of having no dam on the river for three quarters of the year include easier passage by those in canoes, kayaks and on paddleboards. It will also give the river a different feel and character during those 9 months out of the year.
But again the biggest benefit will be keeping Devil’s Lake well-flushed. By allowing the lake’s self-cleaning function to play out, algae blooms and their toxins won’t erupt nearly as often and so those attending regularly scheduled recreational, boating and other watercraft events, won’t have to wonder what the lake is going to look like when their events come up on the calendar. And that should enhance the lake’s tourist draw and therewith Lincoln City’s economy.
The Board of the Devil’s Lake Water Improvement District wants to hear from not only residents around the lake, but anyone from around the region who has a positive attachment to it. What do people think about the district’s plan to replace the old dam with a seasonal one?
Board members say before they commit to the plan they want to hear from the public. They want to hear any and all suggestions that might make the proposal work even better. The board meeting begins at 6pm, Thursday, April 9th, in the Lincoln City City Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall.
1:28pm- Report of a boat fire at Port Dock 7 even though the deep black smoke has diminished. Nothing seen from the Embarcadero.
1:31pm- Fire crew arrives. No smoke showing. May now be a boat in the bay. Coast Guard notified. Firefighter at Embarcadero says he sees no smoke either in the dock area or in the bay.
1:24pm- Report of a traffic crash on 101 at Northeast 7th. Fire Rescue is enroute. No word if there are any injuries.
1:26pm- Doesn’t sound like there are any injuries. Both vehicles have pulled into the ProBuild parking lot.
2:11pm- Highway 101 is back open to normal traffic.
12:45pm- A four vehicle pile up on 101 in Lincoln City has shut down the highway in both directions. The crash is in the dip between East Devils Lake Road and Neotsu turn off. Four injuries so far. Medical assessments going on.
1:08pm- One driver was carrying two dogs in his car – he’s going to the hospital. Animal Control Officer enroute to take custody of the dogs – determine how to get them home or to the shelter.
2:11pm- Highway 101 is back open to normal traffic.
Sunday, Mar. 29th – Lincoln County
Summary: The last trace of precipitation from Friday night’s weather system fell around 10:00am yesterday, and it wasn’t enough to reach the one one-hundredth of an inch level on the rain gauges, so it goes down in the books literally as a ‘trace.’ A southwest wind associated with the passing front never got above 20 mph and most of the overcast dissipated rapidly before lunch. High temperatures were 55-60F, pinned down by occasional periods of sun-blocking high cloudiness. Skies were fair throughout the evening and overnight with lows dropping to about 45F. At daybreak, it was blue with a light east wind.
Past 24 Hours High/Low…
Lincoln City: 60F/46F
Depoe Bay: 56F/43F
Forecast: For the final day of Spring Break and the Oregon Coast Sportsman’s Expo at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds, you get lotsa sunshine and high temps up around 60F. Then, the break’s over as increasing clouds are in the cards for tonight and tomorrow; lows around 45F and highs of 55F. Outlook is for rain likely by tomorrow night, showers on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a progressive marine-influenced pattern with varying chances of rain, partial clearing, and basically unsettled weather Thursday through Saturday. It’ll be a little cooler, too, with highs of 50-55F and lows of 40-45F.
Travel: In the Coast Range today, partly cloudy with 60-65F. Valley destinations are expecting sunshine and a high of 65F. The Columbia River Gorge forecast calls for sunny skies, light west winds, temps near 65F. For the Cascades, spots of ice possible on the highway passes this morning, temperatures are 30-35F; partly cloudy, the freezing level is 7,000 feet, rising to 8,000 feet this afternoon. Outlook for weekend travelers at the lower elevations is dry pavement through tonight; in the Cascade passes tonight, possible icy patches, the free air freezing level will be 8,000 feet. NOTE: Oregon’s studded tire season ends at midnight Tuesday, March 31st.
Cascades Snow Pack: Currently 29”; a gain of 4” since yesterday; an overall gain of 6” in the past seven days; 103” less than this date last year; 93% below the 30-year average Snow Water Equivalent (total amount of moisture in the snow pack).
Ski Report – New Snow/Base/Condition…
Willamette Pass closed for season
Mt. Bachelor 0”/44”/soft or spring, Summit lift open
Mt. Hood Ski Bowl 0”/0”/tubing only
Mt. Hood Meadows 0”/26”/packed and granular
Timberline 0”/48”/come enjoy the snow
Marine: Winds are variable 5-15 knots this morning but seas will be an issue today; they’re already up to 7-8 feet at 11-12 seconds, and a Small Craft Advisory for hazardous seas is in effect through late tonight. Expect lumpy swells building to 10 feet at 12 seconds today with SW winds 5-10 knots. Tonight and tomorrow, seas 9-10 feet at 12 seconds and southerlies 10-15 knots, rising to 15-20 knots Monday afternoon. Outlook is for choppy 10 foot seas and S wind 20-25 knots Monday night, easing after midnight. Look for W winds on Tuesday, 15-20 knots, with swells holding at 10 feet. Nor’westers are predicted for Wednesday and Thursday, 10-15 knots, and seas of 8-9 feet. Always check the latest Bar Reports before you venture offshore.
On the Beach… Mostly sunny, light breeze, surf 7-9 feet (moderate).
* For a safe and enjoyable time on the Central Coast, the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department offers these Beach Safety Tips.
03/29 Sun 08:42 AM 6.92 H
03/29 Sun 03:31 PM 0.82 L
03/29 Sun 10:16 PM 6.60 H
03/30 Mon 03:52 AM 2.84 L
In Short: Partly cloudy, light winds, increasing clouds, then wet and breezy.
Driving to and from the Valley will take an extra twenty minutes, during daytime working hours, from Tuesday at 8am through April 8th. Work crews will be drilling core samples in conjunction with the large Highway 20 bypass project.
Flaggers will control traffic through the controlled area. When flagged through on the one lane of travel, please proceed with caution. Delays should not exceed 20 minutes.
The core drilling is where a sharp curve will be realigned at the point where the new section of highway will connect to the existing Highway 20.