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Prineville completes money-saving wetlands project


Prineville’s two-year project to turn land next to the Crooked River into a walkable wetland area — plus save tens of millions of dollars on sewer-plant expansion — has just been completed.

A couple of years ago, the city was faced with a $62 million expansion cost for their waste management system.

But city officials found that connecting their facility to a man-made wetland could save about 90 percent of that cost.

The location was perfect for the project — the land under it was already a groundwater source that fed the Crooked River. This natural effect will help one species of fish thrive.

“All of the water that we apply through the wetlands will become cool and clean, and will end up popping up at the Crooked River,” City Engineer Eric Klann said Wednesday. “Which will be great for the steelhead reintroduction — give them some cool, clean water.”

The city also brought the banks of the Crooked River out so it can meet the new wetlands and better handle high flood events.

Informational kiosks will be set up along the paths in the area. Students from Prineville-area schools as well as the Redmond Proficiency Academy, had input on what information is included in them.

Crooked River Elementary, for instance, wanted to learn about pollinators.

“Last spring, for about three months, they researched pollinators,” Klann said. “Then they met with a graphic designer. The graphic designer took that information and then developed the kiosks with it.”

There will be 13 of these kiosks spread through the wetlands, and they will have scanners visitors can put their phones up to, which will pull up more information online.

The area will open to the public on April 21.

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