Oh, the weather outside is frightful!
   This year has been a busy one for the Devils Lake Water Improvement District. Between new faces in the office and on the board, and the progress that has been made on projects, the atmosphere going into the new year is full of excitement and hope. 2016 is sure to bring another great year on our beloved Devils Lake!
What's going on at Devils Lake Water Improvement District? 
  • Only the biggest potential project ever on Devils Lake....Whole Lake Circulation using Vigorous Epilimnetic Mixing (VEM), or more simply put a form of Aeration!
At the District's January 14, regular meeting Dr. Alex Horne and HBH Consulting Engineers will introduce a potential aeration project for reducing Harmful Algal Blooms.   Dr. Horne would potentially design the project and with the help of the Newberg, Oregon based engineering firm, get the project ready for permitting and bidding.

Aeration is much like it sounds...."Tiny Bubbles", used to move water from the bottom depths to the surface. At the surface the water mixes with the atmosphere fully oxygenating the water which then cycles back to the bottom.
"Tiny Bubbles" in the form of Vigorous Epilimnetic Mixing (VEM) can move more than just water.  Blue-green algae, the nuisance, often toxic kind, also circulate disrupting a primary evolutionary trick they have over "good algae" which is the ability to be float to the surface.  Circulating the "bad algae" along with the the "good algae", levels the playing field for which these microscopic organisms compete for sunlight and nutrients.

Sample Similar Project:  

"It may be oxygen bubbles to the fish, but its champagne to us."  William P. Ruzzo, and Robert McGregor,   Colorado Lake & Reservoir Management Association, Newsletter 2008

Got questions for Dr. Horne and HBH about Vigorous Epilimnetic Mixing (aka Aeration) in Devils Lake?  

Submit them to the District in advance, so we can compile them for our meeting.  There will be additional time at the meeting for questions, but the more we can ask in advance the better.  
  • Email your questions by January 7, 2016 to with the subject line:  Aeration
  • Then come to the meeting on January 14, 2016 6pm at City Hall, watch it on Channel 4, or stream the meeting to your computer. 
Alexander J. Horne ~  Curriculum Vitae  (truncated for space)
Alex Horne Associates,  El Cerrito CA 
Professor Emeritus and creator of the Ecological Engineering Group, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. University of California, Berkeley.

Education: Ph.D. Limnology & Oceanography 1969 University of Dundee, Scotland. Dissertation title:  Nitrogen & Carbon Fixation in Aquatic Ecosystems (Europe, Antarctica & Africa). B.Sc. 1964 University of Bristol, England: Biological Chemistry

Areas of Special Competence: Pure & Applied Limnology and Oceanography

Applied areas: Water quality and quantity. Design of constructed wetlands for drinking water supply, wastewater treatment, wildlife habitat provision, and aesthetic enjoyment. Use of oxygenation for eutrophication reversal, taste and odor and algal nuisance control in freshwater, lakes, rivers, estuaries. and costal oceans Design and management of drinking water and recreational reservoirs, taste & odor. Algal toxicity problems. Design of lakes & wetlands for heavy metal, nitrate, & phosphate removal. for enhanced land value & wildlife mitigation. Effects of urban runoff. Toxicity & biostimulation of domestic, industrial, & agricultural wastewaters on animals & plants in lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, rivers, estuaries, coastal waters, deep oceans. Sewage, oil, heavy metal, selenium pollution. In situ pollution monitoring with bivalves & attached algae in marine and freshwater ecosystems.

Pure research: Wetlands: Factors controlling denitrification, metal, pesticides, explosives and pathogens; Nitrogen fixation; blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) in temperate, polar, tropical & Mediterranean waters; Saline lake ecology; use of micro-, meso- and macro-cosms in environmental research, carbon fixation & extra-cellular products of photosynthesis; spatial heterogeneity in aquatic ecosystems; effects of freshwater inflows to estuaries; nutrition & growth of larval striped bass and juvenile Dungeness crabs; Ecological economics of damaged ecosystems. Scientific ethics.

Experience:  Dr. Horne taught at Berkeley 1971-2003. Initial research on blue-green algae in lakes, oceans, & wetlands in 4 continents began in 1964 in the English Lake  District, Antarctica & East Africa & included first studies on eutrophication in Clear Lake, California (1970-78). Expert in ecological & chemical aspects of water & aquatic management including pollution in all waters (fresh or salty). He has studied lakes, reservoirs, streams, wetlands & oceans in Africa, Antarctica, Alaska, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Asia & N. & S. America. He has been a university Principal Investigator in over 100 funded research projects & a consultant in over 600 water-related projects in California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Colorado, Florida, New York, as well as China, Kuwait, Spain, France, Canada, Taiwan, Central America, Australia, & UK. Involved in the design & operation of all California Water Project reservoirs & conveyance facilities since 1972 & has studied & testified on the Project including ecological effects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta & the San Francisco Bay Estuary. Areas of specialty include: toxicity & bio-stimulation of domestic, industrial, & agricultural waste waters on animals & plants in lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, rivers, estuaries, coastal waters & deep oceans...(truncated).

Recent wetland work with World Bank & consulting firms include several on constructed treatment & bird wildlife wetlands (up to 45 km2) in US, China, Bogotá & Ethiopia and the $40 million-10 year NSF-funded project to “Reinvent urban water reuse.” Past President; American Ecological Engineering Society & California Lake Management Society, associate editor & former board member of NALMS, former editorial board member of ASLO. Reviewer to many journals & government agencies.

Publications:  Approx. 270 publications in major scientific and engineering journals & reports including the then world’s best selling textbook on Limnology (the study of lakes, ponds, reservoirs, wetlands, rivers, streams & estuaries).

  • 2005. Grand Award from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers:   Excellence in Environmental Engineering Competition. The award was given for Kennedy/Jenks KJ's work on the Lake Bard Hypolimnion Oxygenation project for which Horne was a consultant.
  • 1998 Engineering Project Achievement Award (San Joaquin Marsh Restoration Project, Irvine, CA). Orange County Engineering Council and American Association of Civil Engineers. Horne played a major role in the design of this project.
  • 1996 Engineering Project Award. Prado Wetland Project. (in conjunction with Orange County Water District). The research of Horne & his students played a major role in the design of this large treatment wetland.

Selected Lake, Reservoirs & Wetland Restoration Projects: (truncated, See DLWID 2015-05-14 Staff Report for detailed descriptions)

  1. Camanche Reservoir, Mokelumne River, California (425,000 acre-feet, EBMUD).
  2. Upper San Leandro Reservoir (~ 90,000 af, EBMUD)
  3. Indian Creek Reservoir, Alpine Co., California (~ 5,000 feet)
  4. Marston Reservoir, Denver Colorado (16,000 af)
  5. Cherry Creek Reservoir, Lakewood near Denver Colorado (~ 9,000 af).
  6. Los Vaqueros Reservoir hypolimnetic oxygenation, Contra Costa County, CA (~80,000 af) 
  7. Canning-Swan Estuaries, Perth Western Australia
  8. Lake Elsinore, CA. 
  9. Croton Reservoirs (New York)
  10. Upper San Leandro Reservoir, Oakland California (V ~ 90,000 af)
  11. East Side Reservoir, Southern California (~ 850,000 af)
  12. Mountain Lake, San Francisco Presidio, California (2.4 acres lake + surrounding wetland). 
  13. Clear Lake, California (1,250,000 acre-feet). 
  14. San Luis Reservoir, California. 
  15. Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion. 
  16. Lake Onondaga, New York State
  17. Halfway Reservoir, Las Vegas, Nevada
  18. Pardee Reservoir, Mokelumne River, California (295,000 af). 
  19. Wilderness Club Lakes, Montana. 
  20. Dunbarton Quarry Lake. 
  21. Klamath River reservoirs. 

HBH Engineering and Consultants, Newberg, Oregon

HBH is a mid-sized multi-disciplinary firm that works on a variety of public and private projects. Their goal is to provide quality, economical engineering services to clients throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Services including:
  • System Development Charge Studies
  • Stormwater Planning and Design
  • Street Planning and Design
  • Plan Review
  • Public Infrastructure Design and Inspection
  • General Engineering Advice
  • Sewer and Water Treatment, Storage, and Pump Stations
Some of HBH's engineer-of-record clients include:
  • Rockaway Beach
  • Junction City
  • Detroit
  • Dumbeck Lane Domestic Water District
  • Oceanside Water District
  • Idanha
  • Oregon Health Division - Drinking Water Program
They have also done large projects for the City of Lincoln City including a recent wastewater pump station upgrade.  

Native Species Spotlight    

   Although its the middle of winter and a blooming garden is months away, this is still an important time to be out in your garden! Pruning is an important step in ensuring a colorful and vibrant garden in the spring. Make sure to clean up your garden to provide a fresh place for new buds to grow.

Benefits of planting native:
  1. Using locally native plants can ensure habitats for other local plants and animals that depend on them, like butterflies.
  2. Native plants are BEAUTIFUL!
  3. Locally native plants are adapted to local soil and climate conditions, making many of them easier to maintain and care for.
  4. By using locally native plants, you reduce the risk of introducing invasive plants into your community.
  5. By using LOCALLY native plants, rather than natives from other parts of Oregon, the unique genetic makeup of locally native plants will not be altered.

This season you should plant: Red Twig Dogwood!

Red twig Dogwood or Cornus sericea is a gorgeous native that offers beauty during every season. During the winter months it provides a vibrant red color to your garden and in the spring it produces a white flower and a blue berry that will bring a variety of wildlife into your yard! This shrub is ideal in wet soils (perhaps near the shoreline) and can tolerate seasonal flooding. This is an excellent plant to add this winter.

For more information on native plants in Oregon, please visit the Native Plant Society of Oregon's website.
Limnology 101-The Resilient Coho
   In last quarter’s Limnology 101 we learned the history of Chinese Grass Carp in Devils Lake and how they are used as a biological control of aquatic vegetation.  
   This quarter we are going to talk about our favorite local, the coho salmon. We will learn about their unique life cycle and how Devils Lake and its surrounding watershed plays a critical role in their development and survival. 

   The coho salmon ( Oncorhynchus kisutch) is one of several species of Pacific salmon. It is also known as the silver salmon or white salmon.  The Oregon Coast is home to a threatened population, recognized by the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service.  
   Coho are hatched in the gravel of streams and rivers. They start as small alevins with large eyes and an orange colored nutrient sack attached to their underbellies. They will continue to live in gravel for protection. After about 4 months, the alevins will transition into the fry stage. This stage brings the coho to a whopping length of about 1 inch. They leave their gravel nests and will live in lakes and slow moving streams for about a year before blossoming into a smolt and migrating to the ocean.

   There is a stage in-between fry and smolt, called parr, where the salmon develop dark vertical markings on their sides which helps them camouflage and hide from predators.  When the salmon are ready to head out to sea, their gills begin to transition for salt water and the fish lose their dark markings and turn silvery in color. This is the stage where our local population of salmon have a unique habitat. Devils Lake provides a last stop habitat for the fish to grow even bigger and stronger. In the ocean their diets will shift from plankton and insects in fresh water habitats to small fish in the ocean. After only about 18 months the smolts will have transitioned into adults and start their journey back to the stream or river they were hatched in order to reproduce themselves.   
    The migrating adult stage turns the salmons a bright pink/red color. The journey they must endure is a difficult one, and it can be made even more difficult by human practices. There are a wide variety of obstacles that they face. First, when the migration starts the salmon stop eating and rely on their stored body fat. For those that do not have enough, they will likely starve to death. Many salmon will have to swim up through polluted waters near urban environments. Bears, otters, and eagles love this time as salmon make up a delicious part of their diet. The fish not only have to contend with their natural predators, we have become an aggressive threat to their journey with large nets and fishing practices at every level of their journey. People have also built large obstacles that are more than often difficult to navigate. Dams have long proved to be devastating to salmon. The salmon who face dams (which almost every single one does) are expected to jump over a straight cement wall that can be much taller than their jumping range. Making things even more difficult, the water on the downstream side of dams is often too shallow for coho to get enough momentum for their best jumps. Fish ladders and elevators are used to aid the salmon over the more dominant dams. Where fish passage is not provided, the spawning habitats beyond will be permanently blocked. On Rock Creek, the District in collaboration with the Salmon Drift Creek Watershed Council, City of Lincoln City, USFWS and ODFW,has been able to transform an old municipal dam that was no longer in use and causing problems for local salmon, into a passable dam for salmon and still allows for human use if it is needed. It is important to manipulate our usage of the environment to ensure that our natural resources survive.
   Why are we so concerned with the survival of one species of fish? Salmon play a vital role in the environment and the economy. In some areas, the Salmon is the center point for culture and prosperity. Coastal communities have long depended on the fisheries industry for both protein and income. In 2012, Oregon fishing vessels brought in 307 million pounds of fish which valued in at about $126.4 million. They also are an active representative to many tribal communities along the Pacific Coast. In many native legends and myths salmon have been reported to have sustained one of the largest native populated areas of North America. Far and wide, the support for conserving salmon populations can be heard. The salmon is a major value to Oregon and its communities.

   There are many ways that can help improve salmon populations. The primary being the improvement and sustainability of their freshwater habitats. Adding vegetation in our lake provides cover from predators in the water, and putting large wood and other coverage back in the rivers. This can create deeper channels and cooler water which will help the salmon in the difficult migration they face. Another movement that needs support is continued work on eliminating obstacles, like the dam on Rock Creek, that can make rivers largely impassable. 

   The population of coho salmon that live in Devils Lake are a prize to the community.  Their annual migration is a spectacle to be seen in the World's Shortest River between Halloween to Valentine's Day.  Regionally these fish provides for us by keeping our stomachs full and putting cash in our pockets. However because of our impacts, many of the salmon's habitats have been compromised and the duty of rectifying the disastrous outcomes rests in our hands.   Read NOAA-Fisheries Proposed ESA Recovery Plan for Oregon Coast Coho Salmon    
Maintaining Your Septic Tank
   With the number of septic tanks that are around Devils Lake, it is important to maintain them as best as possible. The District strongly encourages everyone to get a septic tank inspection to ensure that there are no failures in your system. Septic systems and their drain fields are only made to last around 25-30 years. This means that as our homes are getting older, it is likely that septic tanks are needing tuning up or even replacement. What does it mean to have a septic tank fail? It means that, either through a damaged tank or a super-saturated drain field, inadequately treated waste can leach into our ground water and sometimes reaching the surface, exposing the community to harmful bacteria and viruses. The excess nitrates and phosphates in domestic water also will be introduced to ground water and the lake which feeds algae and other lake vegetation.
   If your tank and field are still in good health there are some strategies to get the most out of your system, and have it last for as long as possible:  
  1. Locate your tank and drain field. This will become important when it comes time to get an inspection or pump-out.
  2. Get your septic system checked regularly. This ensures that you catch any potential failures as quickly as possible and therefore potentially saving costly repairs down the road.
  3. Get it pumped. It is important to get your tank pumped in timely intervals.
  4. Conserve water. This will avoid overloading your system.
  5. Divert excess water. Whether it is from rain gutters or hot tubs, it is important to keep keep excessive amount of water away from your drain field soils so they can naturally treat waste water effectively.
  6. Don't use your toilets or sinks as trash cans. Trash can clog your pipes and will not necessarily decompose in the septic tank. This takes up valuable space and can quickly cause failures. DO NOT pour chemicals or harmful cleanser down the drain. These can easily kill the hard working bacteria in your system. 
Mark your Calendars!
January 1st
Devils Lake Dunk
Regatta Grounds will again be the host to one of Lincoln City's quickest events! On the first day of the New Year, dunkers will run into the lake at 11:00 am sharp. Make your way over to the park for an exhilarating way to ring in 2016. 

Remember ~ 11 am, SHARP!
Family Fishing Frenzy
March 19th, Saturday
Family Fishing Frenzy! 

Also at Regatta Grounds, this annual Free Family Fishing Event Kicks off the angling season on Devils Lake.  ODFW provide the gear and the fish, you provide the fun.  9am - 2pm
A Year of Giving....

In the upcoming year, DLWID is seeking your time and support through a number of volunteer committees to help the District further its goals.  Interested in SOLVing real issues, jumping feet first into Water Quality, or maybe you have the navigational skills for financing large public infrastructure projects such as Aeration or Sewer.  Whatever your skill set, there is a spot for you.   

Stay tuned through the coming weeks and year to see how you can answer our SOS.  
SOLV cleanup
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year!
It may snow, yet....Paul and Elizabeth
Devils Lake Water Improvement District
Lincoln City, Oregon