Bend Hydro Dam – Updated Safety Plan 2012

PacifiCorp Energy
825 NE Multnomah, Suite 1500
Portland, Oregon 97232

Electronically filed February 29, 2012

Douglas L. Johnson, P.E., Regional Engineer
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
805 SW Broadway, Suite 550
Portland, OR 97205

Subject: Bend Hydroelectric Project, FERC No. P-2643 / Updated Public Safety Plan

Dear Mr. Johnson:

Enclosed is the updated Public Safety Plan for the Bend Hydroelectric Project on the Deschutes River, Oregon. Please consider this updated plan as a replacement of any previously filed Public  Safety Plan for this project.

This letter and its attachment have been filed electronically. The security classification of each component in this filing is shown in the Enclosure list below. Two complete copies have been sent to your offices according to current FERC eFiling requirements. If you have any questions concerning this information, please contact Derek White at 503-813-6195 or


Mark Sturtevant
Managing Director, Hydro Resources


Document: Bend-Hydro-Dam-Safety-plan-2012 (PDF)


Response from ODFW on fish passage at Mirror Pond

verticalslot1My apologies for not getting back to you on your request sooner. I have attached examples of fish passage facilities that have been used at sites similar to the Mirror Pond site. The first two pictures are of “vertical slot” fishways, which would be my first choice given the fish species and hydrology in the Deschutes at that site. This style of fishway allows fish to “swim through” rather than jump over each step of the ladder, and tends to perform well on larger river systems. For a dam structure that is 13-15 feet tall I would expect a vertical slot with at least 17 to 30 steps.

The second two pictures are of pool and weir fishways, which require fish to leap over each step. These pass fish rather well, especially in low water situations but require a little more maintenance versus the vertical slot because the “weirs” need to be adjusted as the river flows go up and down. Vertical slots are self adjusting. Given fish species in the Deschutes the max “jump height” at each step would be 6 inches, therefore a pool and weir solution would have anywhere from 26-30 steps to provide adequate passage over the dam at Mirror Pond.

That is just some basic information and assumptions on possible fish passage solutions, and when the time comes for passage the site will be thoroughly poured over to ensure the correct solution is selected to provide fish passage. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thank you for your interest and community involvement, take care.

Ken Loffink
Assistant Fish Passage Coordinator
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

vertical slot

Middle Falls- Middle Creek 12

Morgan Creek STEP 3

Study results are in

Following are the results of my environmental study on the effects of dredging Mirror Pond:

1. The water will be muddy for awhile.

2. Water will still flow in one end and out the other.

So what’s the holdup?

Peter Stoefen

Source: The Bulletin ©2012

Dredging not needed at Mirror Pond, then or now

Let’s stop the blitz of propaganda over the reservoir. The dredging is unnecessary.

Bill Baer Sr. came to Bend in 1919 and built a house overlooking Mirror Pond. And then in 1956, the law firm of McKay and Panner represented Pacific Power and Light Co. for the sole purpose of dredging the pond.

Bill Baer immediately said, “Not with taxpayer money,” because the pond doesn’t need it. He forced them, through a petition, to put the proposal to a vote of the people. The people of Bend unanimously voted the project down.

Mirror Pond is part of the reservoir starting at the turbines of the power house and goes under Newport Bridge for about 200 yards, making a 90-degree turn which is now Drake Park.

Twenty-eight years later, the same law firm, under new names, decided maybe it could once again try to get Mirror Pond dredged because McKay and Baer were deceased and Panner had received a judgeship and had moved to Portland. At that time, in 1984, and without a vote of the people, it was pulled off — but only Mirror Pond was dredged.

Stop and think how you remember the reservoir when you first saw it. Does it not look the same? It is a shallow reservoir with mud flats and always looks as if it might need to be dredged.

Some people learn from books and others are self-taught. I was raised on Mirror Pond and learned how to swim in Claude Cook’s swimming hole at Harmon Playfield, and fished, boated and ice-skated on the reservoir. When ice-skating, there were some tree stumps, which did cause a few problems.

I believe that some people try to paint the picture that silt caused the above-mentioned mud flats. No. These mud flats were a meadow which was flooded over when they backed up the water behind the dam. The water was never more than 8 to 10 inches deep, and the pine trees had to be cut down, but the stumps were never removed.

The mud flats have always been there and show up depending on when they lower the reservoir. It was learned years ago that by draining the reservoir during cold weather (in the teens) the water crest could be killed; also, when the mill took its logs out of the river, not as much silt came down and the sandbar washed away.

The sandbar was North of Galveston Bridge and south of Harmon Footbridge and about 100 feet wide. When it washed away, it left four pure rock islands with vegetation growing on the top. Aerial photos give the impression that this is vegetation growing in the middle of the reservoir, but it is actually on the rock islands.

We — the general public — receive benefits from the sheriff’s levy, the library levy, etc., but will we get a return on this project? Who will benefit from the maintenance of the reservoir?

Perhaps we should pose this question to Pacific Power and other businesses or utilities directly involved with the outcome of this project. Pacific Power owns the power plant and the land it sits on. It could dredge Mirror Pond anytime it wants and as deep as it wants, and it could also pay for it. Just a thought.

— Bill Baer Jr. lives in Bend.

Source: The Bulletin ©2012

Try Jersey barriers to scrub Mirror Pond

The Chinese recently removed the dirt overburden from the largest dam site on earth, the Three Gorges Dam. They simply pumped water to the top of the hill, then ditched it to the dirt and picked the mud up at the bottom of the hill in buckets. They didn’t use heavy equipment until the dirt was all gone.

I would suggest that the easy way to clean, and keep clean, Mirror Pond is to drop a few Jersey barriers onto the edge of the main Deschutes River flow, angled to divert a bit of the channel velocity to the quiet perimeter areas. Jersey barriers are those portable concrete curbs, about 4 feet tall, that are used to separate traffic on freeways, etc. It might be necessary to make a few oversized ones, depending on water depth. They would have to be moved from time to time to redirect water to keep the whole pond scrubbed out, but the water will do the work, and there is plenty of local lifting capacity to install/adjust the barriers when needed.

There would be very little money involved, just the cost of the barriers, which might be available for nothing, and a few hours of crane time. No fish would be harmed. No water would get dirty except for the mud that’s already there. No swimmers, waders or boaters need be inconvenienced. The barriers might even make good “hides” for fish.

Ron Strobel

Siltation fix is upstream

What to do about the silt in Mirror Pond seems to be a hot topic for discussion, if not action. Here’s my two cents’ worth.

Anyone who has floated the Deschutes River upstream from Bend knows that the river passes through miles of loose soil — volcanic ash? — which is scoured from the banks and carried downstream as silt when river levels fluctuate. The water released into the river below Wickiup Reservoir is totally controlled by the irrigation companies, and varies from almost zero — which devastates trout habitat — to very high levels, which scours great quantities of silt from the erosive banks. That silt is dropped in slow-flowing sections downstream, with a large percentage of it ending up in Mirror Pond, which was formed by the PP&L dam.

There have been attempts to stabilize the loose soil of the river banks by placing and tying down logs on the banks and by planting willows. That kind of treatment should be continued on a larger scale — state and federal agencies would have to be involved. Also, the irrigation companies could better regulate water releases from Wickiup that would reduce the scouring effect on the banks, and incidentally, improve the trout habitat.

To slow future silting of Mirror Pond, look upstream and act there.

Jack Remington

Source: The Bulletin ©2012

Steering Committee Minutes 2-1-2012


Attendance: Bill Smith, Angie Jacobson, Matt Shinderman, Bruce Ronning, Greg Blackmore and Mel Oberst

  1. Debriefed minutes of the Management Board meeting
  2. Discussed draft questions on the Park District survey to be undertaken in February – results will be reviewed in March
  3. Discussed the ownership of the pond and the requirements of the owner’s to have someone indemnify them from harm during any work in the pond
  4. Discussed a community outreach program – Greg to draft one for the next meeting and to be reviewed by the Management Board in their March meeting
  5. Discussed public information venues to be used to inform the public about the facts of Mirror Pond – i.e. City newsletter, City website, City cable show “city view”, Park District newsletter, and ‘in my view’ editorials in the Bulletin. Matt agreed to draft an editorial for the Bulletin for review by the SC.
  6. Agreed to meet monthly on Mondays. Gina Dahl will doodle everyone for best time.

Document: MPSC-Minutes-2012-02-01