Pond beset with weeds — again

Frank Loggan thought he’d seen his last underwater weed when Mirror Pond was dredged in 1984.

He was wrong.

In just three summers, Loggan, 84, again has an aquatic garden swaying just beyond his backyard.

“I think you’ll find a lot of weeds upriver wash down and then you have another growth of weeds (in Mirror Pond),” said Loggan, who has lived on the banks of the downtown Bend pond since 1949.

Property owners, the city and the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District shelled out about $280.000 to take roughly 50,000 yards of silt out of the pond in 1984.

Bend Public Works Director Tom Gellner said the dredging made Mirror Pond 4 to 7 feet deep throughout. Before that, the pond was shallow outside the main channel.

“I remember seeing ducks and geese 50 yards off shore standing in 2 or 3 inches of water,” Gellner said.

Dredging uprooted the abundant weeds, but it didn’t take long for them to come back. Last year the first of them made an appearance. This year, they’re sprouting in thickets.

Gellner said the weed resurgence may force the city to find ways to kill the weeds. One possible solution, be said, would be to draining most of the pond during a cold spell this winter and let the cold kill the weeds.

Two areas are most heavily infested. One is near the footbridge connecting Drake and Harmon parks. The other is at Brooks Park southwest of Newport Avenue.

Local officials are at a loss to explain the resurgence of weeds, which proliferate in slow-moving water outside the main river channel.

But one thing they say they’re sure of: Mirror Pond is not re-silting.

Every year, the city measures the depth of Mirror Pond at five points in the river between Tumalo Street and Coyner Point.

Charts of these measurements show some silting along the main river channel at the south end of Minor Pond. However, the silting is minimal, Gellner said.

Depending on how well local officials manage erosion on the upper river, Mirror Pond may not need dredging again for another 50 years. Gellner said.

“I think I’ll make’it to retirement (before more dredging),” he said.

Clay Shepard’s home sits across from Brooks Park, where weeds have taken a foothold. He too was surprised to see the weeds come back so quickly, but be doesn’t think they’re a problem yet.

“My personal feeling is (weeds) are not as bad as they were before dredging,” Shepard said. “There was quite a bit of weed before dredging.”

Vegetation blooms in Lake Tahoe and other areas have been attributed to pollution, but again, that doesn’t seem to be a problem in Mirror Pond. according to the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

“Lab samples are taken (from Mirror Pond) on a regular basis and they don’t show anything out of the ordinary,” said John Hector, Bend regional manager for the DEQ.

Gellner, the public works director, said the city probably will explore ways to combat the weeds as the problem continues to grow.

“We’ll get underwater weeds in lakes 30 feet deep,” Gellner said. “The depth is only 5 or 6 feet in (most of) Mirror Pond.”

Source: The Bulletin ©1987

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