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Mirror Pond fish passage advisory panel recommends ‘nature-like fishway’ to city, Bend Park & Rec

(Update: Adding video, quotes from consultant)

Fish-ladder structure 'would be a second option'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – After a series of meetings over several months, the joint City of Bend and Bend Park & Rec District’s Mirror Pond Fish Passage Advisory Committee on Friday recommended creating a "nature-like" fishway so fish in the lower Deschutes could swim around the Newport Dam, into Mirror Pond and the upper Deschutes River.

The committee held two virtual meetings this week to review options, preferences and reach a recommendation for officials on how to proceed.

On Monday, they reviewed the "discussion tool" used in the process, while Friday was the day for a round-robin discussion of committee fish passage preferences and to make a recommendation.

Committee consultant Vernita Ediger said, after Friday's meeting, "We are recommending the nature-like fishway. The fish ladder would be a second option."

The goal of a new passage is to get fish around the Newport Dam.

"So that's basically like creating a whole other channel that would go around the dam, instead of something like a fish ladder, which is a more traditional structure that might be made out of concrete or metal" Ediger explained.

Another goal is to keep the passage as natural looking as possible and not create an "eyesore" in the pond.

Public safety, along with flow of water, are also a priority for the potential passage.

Ediger explained, "Any installation of the structure in the river could change the flood plain or the flow of water. And in the event of a high-water situation, we wanted to make sure the public would be safe."

Next on the agenda: Finding a company to construct and operate the passage.

"We can put a structure in," Ediger said. "But if something flows down the river and clogs up the channel, we need to make sure someone is there to remove it on a regular basis and make sure its functioning well."

The recommended option doesn't have a price tag as of yet, so funding options are expected to be discussed this spring.

The webinar links, along with materials and documents related to the committee’s work, are on the Advisory Committee website.

Article Topic Follows: Government-politics

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Blake Mayfield

Blake Mayfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.


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