The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board got an earful from angry residents from around Devil’s Lake saying that the algae blooms in the lake are the worst they’ve ever seen and they want something done about it NOW! Board Chairman Brian Green said they are examining long and short term solutions but that there are no easy, quick or inexpensive solutions. Short term solutions, he says, looks to be several tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars on the low end, to several millions on the high end, and they’d only be temporary.
Devils Lake Manager Paul Robertson went through a long list of short term solutions that might be experimented with from sophisticated application of chemicals to costly physical tactics. Robertson said suggestions that the lake’s outflow to the ocean be stepped up is something he and others will look in to. But he quickly added that the real solution is reducing or eliminating untreated stormwater flows into the lake, restoring vegetative buffering between lawns and the lake’s edge, ensuring no one is using phosphate laced fertilizers and that the homes around the lake be sewered. Robertson and the board have been saying for years that septic tank leeching into Devil’s Lake, through groundwater, is supplying enormous levels of nutrients into the lake that feeds algae blooms now appearing year round. That sewer solution will run just under five million dollars with an additional cost per homeowner of some ten thousand dollars for hooking in to it.
By the way, if you’d like to learn more about how lakes work, Devil’s Lake in particular, plan to attend a two hour seminar on the subject at Oregon Coast Community College-Lincoln City campus, Saturday, April 19th, from 10am-12noon. It’s free.