City encourages silt study for river

Bend city officials hope to develop a master plan to keep the Deschutes River from becoming blocked with silt, City Manager Art Johnson said Tuesday.

Johnson told the city commission studies need to be done that would determine how deep silt deposits in the river are and where the rock ledges are.

And if any silt were removed from the river, care would have to be taken because water from the river is used for drinking downstream, he said.

Local officials have expressed concern that silt deposits in the river may be building up slowly in Mirror Pond and at other points where the Deschutes passes through Bend. If silt continues to build up, small marshy islands could form in the river and the way the river looks would be altered.

Johnson told the city commission at their Tuesday luncheon he has been meeting occasionally with Army Corps of Engineer representatives and other persons who are knowledgeable of the river.

Johnson said the Corps of Engineers “didn’t paint a rosy picture about getting money from them (to dredge the river) because it’s not considered a navigable steam.”

City officials need to determine how much silt needs to be dredged from the river and how much it would cost, he said.

Johnson said he can explore the possibility of getting federal funds for dredging the river. He said silt removed from the river might also be marketable as topsoil and the city could reduce its cost by selling the silt.

He also said there could be some ecological problems with dredging because removing material from one part of the river cold have an impact on what happens in other areas.

Removing silt from one side of Mirror Pond could cause unwanted changes on the other side, he said.

Johnson said officials of the state Highway Division and of Pacific Power & Light Co. have told him their hydraulics engineers would work with the city on the problem.

The city commission meets tonight at 7:00 at city hall.

Source: The Bulletin ©1977