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Lawns are often discouraged by water quality organizations for several reasons, but realistically some lakefront and other property owners like lawns. So to help those people who cannot do without a lawn this page was created to provide suggestions. Lawns can be aesthetically pleasing and provide a great place to play games including badminton and croquet.

Ace Hardware in Lincoln City now sells phosphorus free fertilizer.*

Environmentally Friendly Lawn Care
Healthy Lawns, Healthy Families

The Department of Environmental
Quality (DEQ) sponsors a website with information about how to have a great-looking lawn without using chemical fertilizers and weed killers. The DEQ Healthy Lawns, Healthy Families site at includes information about how our lawn care habits influence water quality and tips on how to practice natural lawn care. Misuse and overuse of pesticides and chemical fertilizers on the lawn can lead to lawn problems, and the chemicals themselves are often washed off the lawn by rain, headed for the storm drain and ultimately to Oregon's rivers and lakes. Once in the river or lake, the chemicals can cause problems for fish.

National Public Radio (NPR) interviews Paul Tukey, author of Organic Lawn Care Manual
NPR (National Public Radio) but there was an excellent article on
Talk of the Nation/Science Friday, October 2, 2009 on "green" lawns.*
The radio show was interesting and it is probably worth while getting the book and maybe copies for every resident around the lake.
Paul Tukey, author - Organic Lawn Care Manual
author recommends a soil test $11.38 is the lowest price I can find for new

Grass Clippings are considered fill material, and therefore illegal to throw in the lake. Devils Lake and the wetlands that support it are considered Essential Salmon Habitat by the Department of State Lands, and by being so there is zero tolerance for adding fill to the shoreline or the lake bed.  While grass clippings might seem to pale in comparison to a truckload of rock, it would be considered fill material, and therefore even sprinkling grass clippings on the lake is illegal. Concerns about the ecological effects - grass is rich in nitrogen which is fuel to weeds and cyanobacteria. Devils lake doesn’t need anymore nutrients as development over the last 8 decades has changed Devils Lake dramatically already. Additionally, lawn clippings often are laden with pesticides or herbicides if the landowner should so apply them. This is another negative impact of dumping grass clippings in the lake. 
So what is the solution? Cut the grass out of the “lakescaping” altogether. Allow native vegetation to grow up along the shoreline which do not require weekly maintenance of a lawn mowing, provide habitat to fish, insects, birds and other wildlife, and protect your shore from erosion. (DLWID manager Paul Robertson)

Purchase a composting container from North Lincoln Sanitary, use the compost for grass clippings (do not place in the lake)

Stopping the inappropriate use of fertilizers on lawns is one preventive way to limit nutrients from seeping into the lake. Test your soil to determine how much fertilizer is necessary for your yard, garden, or farm. Use lawn fertilizers sparingly, and only when needed. Avoid using toxic pesticides and herbicides on your lawn and garden - these chemicals can pollute rivers, lakes, and groundwater. Use natural fertilizers, such as compost or manure. Ask your local hardware and garden stores to stock them. Tossing lawn clippings in the lake is discouraged - use a compost or leave clippings on your lawn.

Ace Hardware in Lincoln City sells phosphorus free fertilizer.

Master Gardeners - Oregon State University Extension Service in Newport
Master Gardeners hold an annual plant sale at the Lincoln County Fair Grounds around the third Saturday in May. Call 541-574-6534 for information about becoming a Master Gardener or for help with your yard or visit

Pesticides and Herbicides
Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides website,
NW Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides []

Information about the vegetation in the lake (aquatic) and along the shoreline (riparian area between land and the lake)

Lincoln City has a tree removal protection regulation. A permit is required to cut a tree having a trunk diameter of eight inches (approximately twenty-five inches in circumference) or more in diameter at breast height (DBH -- the cross sectional diameter) of the trunk of a tree when measured at a point four and one-half feet (fifty-four inches) above the base of the trunk on the uphill side. In the case of multi-stemmed or trunked trees, the diameter shall be the sum of diameters of all individual stems or trunks; over a certain diameter. Check with the planning department before cutting down a tree. Trees are important to the Devils Lake watershed by stabilizing the soil, providing wind breaks, wildlife habitat and noise buffers.

Turf Alternatives

Weed and Feed

Yard Wastes (see compost)
Do not throw cut grass and leaves in the lake.

Beyond yard maintenance...

Boathouses, Boat Slips, Docks, Seawalls

Register your dock with the Division of State Lands.

Burning & alternatives
Banned in the city, burn permit required in the county.
County residents by Devils Lake are encouraged to be kind and find alternatives to burning - in lieu of a burn ban ordinance in the county similar to the one adopted by Lincoln City in September 2003. Devils Lake is not very wide, and smoke can blow across a canal or inlet or even the lake. Part-time weekend residents and full-time residents who burn debris may not realize that some of their neighbors have smoke allergies, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, or aesthetically just do not like smoke. Burning debris can be a serious health hazard to affected neighbors.
Some folks may not realize that permits are required from the fire department to burn in the county, and then only certain times of the year. Contact the fire department for a permit form and dates. North Lincoln Fire & Rescue’s phone number is 996-2233 and burn information hotline is 996-1008.
Alternatives to burning yard debris, particularly in the Lincoln City urban growth boundary, include:
1. Haul to the dump - North Lincoln Sanitary Service has a map to the site, 994-5555;
2. Include the debris in your weekly garbage pickup;
3. Rent or purchase a used or new mulcher or chipper;
4. Use your debris as compost for soil conditioner - Lincoln County Solid Waste District’s Gretchen, 265-4171 or Lincoln County OSU Extension Service, 574-6534;
5. Haul to Toledo the first full weekend of the month - Lincoln County Solid Waste District’s Gretchen, 265-4171 has information;
6. Contact high schoolers, youth or church groups for help;
7. Free pickup to those who want wood.
If you have any suggestions or alternatives to burning, please contact PADL through its website at Thank you for considering your neighbors before deciding to burn.

Car washing
Avoid washing near the lake

Car and engine motor oil (boat or lawnmower)  
Recycle used motor oil. A single quart of motor oil poured onto the ground can seep into groundwater and pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water. Do not pour oil or other chemicals down storm drains, where they often flush directly into your favorite river, lake, or bay. Many communities offer places to recycle used motor oil.

Sweep your driveways instead of hosing them down (conserves water).

The following is from the city's Natural Resource Overlay Zone (NR) Section 3.111

a. For in-water work the responsible party must follow the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife guidelines for in-water work.
b. The responsible party may not remove native vegetation except for that in the space occupied by the use.
c. Within six months of vegetation removal, the responsible party must replant areas from which vegetation is removed with native vegetation at densities at least equaling those of the removed vegetation, unless vegetation would not allow the use to function.
d. The responsible party must keep sediment from entering the water area.
e. The responsible party must obtain all required federal and state permits (e.g. US Army Corps of Engineers permit, Oregon Water Resources Department permit, Division of State Lands fill/removal permit).

Driveways, Parking areas, Sidewalks and Walkways
Use gravel or porous materials instead of hard surfaces, sweep surfaces instead of hosing off.

Fire Safety
Mark your street address well so that emergency vehicles can find your residence. Do not grow plants close to your house, leave a buffer.

Hot tub water & laundry water
Do not empty hot tubs into the lake. Do not run laundry water into the lake. Grey water discharge rules apply.

Safety signs
Safety signs are available to post near a dock to inform family and friends about the safety rules of the lake. Contact the Devils Lake Water Improvement District (DLWID) 541-994-5330.

In your community
Help identify, report and stop polluters. Join PADL and help monitor activities around the lake. Local groups can be especially effective working together with state environmental agencies, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

* Devils Lake Water Improvement District board member Randy Weldon worked with Ace Hardware.
* Salmon Drift Creek Watershed Council chair Paul Katen sent NPR Paul Tukey interview link.
Organic Lawn Care Manual has been available at the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center in the past.


Blue Green Thumb Watershed Education Program -
A program of the Preservation Association of Devils Lake (PADL)
Copyright © 2003-2010 Preservation Association of Devils Lake (PADL)
All rights reserved.

P.O. Box 36
Lincoln City, OR 97367