From construction projects to proposed changes to a dam and even silt removal, Mirror Pond on the Deschutes River is in store for some changes over the next few months. Combined, the projects have the potential to reshape Bend’s famous downtown water feature.
The Newport Dam directly shapes Mirror Pond. The dam is facing future changes, involving a fish passage project that will allow fish to swim upriver. As it is now, fish are blocked by the dam.
“All signs about dredging, or the longevity of fish passage, all of that depends on the future of the dam,” Bend City Councilor Ariel Mendez said.
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The pond is currently drained due to a Bend Park and Recreation construction project meant to extend the trails and banks — a separate project from the proposed fish passage.
“It’s kinda disheartening, honestly, to come by and see once was a really nice river corridor just kind of regulated to death,” Bend resident Axel Hovorka said.
Kris Knight with the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council says he hopes people show up to a public meeting on Jan. 30, where the public can comment on proposed fish passage alternatives through the dam.
“Some of the alternatives that will be presented will be a typical fish ladder, and then the other options are different versions of a rock ramp because it’s more natural looking,” Knight said. “It will be either adjacent to or downstream of the dam.”
Knight also says there are no planned impacts to Mirror Pond.
The issue of silt disposal is also up in the air. BPRD says it’s been a hot topic of conversation between BPRD board of directors and Bend City Council for over the past decade. As far as funding and resources go for potential silt removal, none of that has been agreed upon.