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Any discussion of removing the dam at Mirror Pond must address the impacts on the river above and below the pond. I would like to comment on the section of river above the pond, between the Colorado Dam and the Galveston Bridge.
The river above Mirror Pond is free flowing, but in response to the dam, the gradient is low and the river is wide with a gentle current. There are wetlands along the banks, and a wide expanse of shallow water adjacent to a deeper channel. If the dam were removed, the river would become narrower, deeper, and faster through this section. The wide gentle nature of this stretch of water is ideal for both wildlife and recreation. For water sports, the current is not too strong to paddle upstream, and the flow is slow enough for a leisurely float. The number of people floating this section can be over 1,000 per day. Beginner stand-up paddle boarders and kayakers are common.
A narrower and faster channel would decrease the total recreational opportunities. The area has a small island and wetlands supporting great biodiversity. There is a noticeable increase in fish population in this stretch, and the osprey, otter, herons and diving ducks do very well. I once watched an otter retrieve 10 crayfish in 10 dives in the shallows. There is a beaver lodge which has been continuously inhabited for decades. This section of the river has been enhanced by the Mirror Pond Dam, from the point of view of both the wildlife and many Bend residents. Allowing the river to cut down to a faster, narrower channel would see a net loss. Here some photos of this piece of the river; Photos link