Overseer is named for Colorado dam project

The first major project funded under last year’s Bend Park & Recreation District bond measure took a step forward Tuesday, with the district’s board of directors hiring a contractor to oversee the construction of the Colorado Avenue Dam safe passage through completion.

Hamilton Construction of Springfield was awarded a construction manager/general contractor contract, an arrangement that will have Hamilton working closely with state and federal regulatory agencies and the engineers designing the project over the next several months. Once the design is set and regulatory issues are addressed, Hamilton will provide the district with a guaranteed maximum price for construction of the project.

The project will convert the area into a three-channel system with separate areas designed for safe passage, whitewater play and a wildlife/fish corridor.

Tuesday’s bid award grants Hamilton $52,900, while the overall estimated cost of the safe passage project is estimated at $7.3 million. The project is expected to break ground in spring 2014 and be completed by spring 2015.

Chelsea Schneider with the park district told the board Hamilton will work with local contractor Jack Robinson and Sons for the duration of the project. By being involved from the design stage onward, Hamilton will be able to monitor the design and engineering of the project to ensure it can be constructed safely and on budget, she said.

“There’s unknowns now, and we felt we needed them on board to help guide what direction the design goes,” Schneider said.

Park district director Don Horton said views differ as to whether the CM/GC style of bidding a project is less expensive than going out for competitive bids at every stage of the process. However, in the case of the safe passage project, Horton said there is a risk that if design and engineering were to proceed without input from a contractor, the construction bids solicited at the end of that process could come in well over budget.

The award of the bid for the dam project came on the same night the board approved the district’s overall budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Like most governments in Oregon, the park district’s budget year begins on July 1 and ends June 30.

Due to the passage of last year’s $29 million bond and adjustments to reserve funds, the 2013-14 budget totals $72 million, as compared with last year’s $34 million budget. Most of the bond funds will not be spent during the upcoming year, however, and will remain in district accounts as the district works its way through the list of projects approved by voters.

The district expects to spend 8 percent more than last year. That doesn’t count bond-related funds and money generated through systems development charges (known as SDCs) assessed against new construction.

Much of the additional cost expected in the coming year is due to staffing increases that replace some of the positions cut in recent years. Park district staff declined from 92 full-time positions in 2009-10 to 83 in the current budget year; next year’s budget creates four new full-time positions.

Park district staff will be required to start chipping in to fund their health and retirement benefits, both of which have been significant drivers of the district’s personnel costs in recent years.

Beginning in the upcoming budget year, full-time employees will begin paying 10 percent of their health insurance premiums and 25 percent of the premiums for their dependents — currently, the district picks up 100 percent of health insurance premiums for full-time employees, and such employees pay 20 percent of their dependents’ premiums.

Similar changes are in store for retirement benefits provided under the state’s Public Employees Retirement System.

On top of its own obligations to the PERS system, the district has also historically paid each employee’s obligation, an amount equal to 6 percent of each employee’s salary. Under the new district budget, employees would begin paying their own obligations, starting with 1 percent of salary and increasing by 1 percent per year over the next six years. New employees hired after July 1 would pay their full 6 percent obligation upon meeting PERS eligibility.

Employees are slated to receive cost of living increases of 1.6 percent and merit-based pay increases of up to 3 percent.

Due to a rebound in residential construction, the district expects revenue from SDCs to jump 27 percent in the upcoming year. Funds generated from SDCs are used to expand park facilities to accommodate the influx of new residents.

Source: The Bulletin ©2013

Mirror Pond options in the works

Members of the Mirror Pond Management Board got a preview Wednesday of the next phase in the effort to find a solution for the silt accumulating in Mirror Pond.

Wednesday’s meeting came on the heels of a questionnaire examining what local residents believe to be important in terms of Mirror Pond’s future.

Nearly 1,900 people answered the questionnaire.

It did not ask participants what they would like done to address siltation, but the survey exposed a split between those who would like to see the pond remain a pond and those who would prefer a free-flowing river by removing the Newport Avenue dam.

Jim Figurski, a consultant hired through the Bend Park & Recreation District to oversee the project, told management board members the process of preparing four designs depicting what Mirror Pond could look like in the future is under way.

Board members should expect a first look at the four alternatives in mid-May, Figurski said, with the public weighing in on the possibilities — including projected short-term and long-term costs — by mid-June.

Demonstrating a prototype of the online questionnaire he expects to use during the next round of community input, Figurski pulled up an image of present-day Mirror Pond on a screen. He said the questionnaire program he intends to use will allow respondents to highlight those elements they like or dislike in illustrations that will be created to represent the four alternatives, allowing them to “vote” up or down on things like a sandy beach, a pier or aquatic vegetation.

Figurski said he thinks it’s likely those who participate in the process this summer will find things they like about several of the alternatives.

“I’m optimistic. I think people will be pleasantly surprised by what we’re able to achieve with each of the alternatives,” he said.

Board member Ryan Houston said he was concerned the four alternatives — currently labeled as “do nothing,” “habitat focus,” “river focus” and “recreation focus” — would present questionnaire participants with false choices. The park district has done a good job of developing riverfront properties that provide a benefit to river health and recreational users, he said, and the district’s record should be considered as the alternatives are being created.

Spencer Dahl, board member and chairman of the Old Bend Neighborhood Association, asked fellow board member Angela Price of Pacific Power if it would be possible to open the sluice gates of the Newport Avenue dam so locals could see how the river might respond if the dam were removed. Board member Peter Werner asked Price if the utility would agree to remove the dam if a community consensus for doing so emerged, and if so, how long it would take.

Price said she was unable to answer either question.

City Councilor and board member Victor Chudowsky encouraged Figurski and others working to develop the four alternatives to remember that any changes to Mirror Pond would likely affect the river upstream, possibly as far as the Colorado Avenue dam.

Source: The Bulletin ©2013

Hydrologists discuss Mirror Pond

Hydrology experts assembled by the City Club of Central Oregon said Thursday there’s no urgency to develop a plan to address silt buildup in Mirror Pond, and suggested an approach somewhere between attempting to maintain the historic pond and removing the Newport Avenue Dam could win broad community support.

Hundreds filled a lecture hall at St. Charles Bend on Thursday to learn more about silt accumulation in the downtown Bend pond, formed by the construction of the dam 100 years ago and last dredged in 1984. In the years since then, the pond has become shallower, the result of silt washing into the Deschutes River upstream and settling on the bottom in the slow-moving waters of Mirror Pond.

Hydrologist Joe Eilers — who was joined by hydrologist Gabe Williams and Upper Deschutes Watershed Council Director Ryan Houston on the City Club panel — told the audience Thursday that dredging to preserve Mirror Pond as a pond is at best a short-term fix.

By deepening the channel, dredging causes the water to move even more slowly, Eilers said, allowing more silt to fall out of suspension rather than be carried further downstream. A pond like Mirror Pond will re-silt fastest in the first few seasons after dredging, he said, reaching 80 percent of its maximum silt-holding capacity within 10 years, and 90 percent within 20 years.

“If you’re going to go the full dredging route, you might as well buy a dredge, because you’ll be back there in the not-too-distant future,” Eilers said.

As of today, Mirror Pond probably has about 90 percent of the silt it can take, Eilers said, but it’s hard to know when it might reach 100 percent.

Icing during the winter has so far discouraged plants from taking root where they might turn shallows to dry land, he said, adding that even if the pond reaches its maximum silt-carrying capacity, the water should continue to flow.

Club member Jim Lussier, the former president and CEO of St. Charles Health System, asked the panelists what the long-term costs of doing nothing might be.

While Eilers focused on the cost of maintenance that is presumed to be needed on the aging PacifiCorp dam, Houston said the cost of inaction may be more abstract. Those who enjoy the views across the pond, its waterfowl, or paddling along the slow-moving waters could lose those amenities if Mirror Pond is left alone, he said.

“It’s not just the capital expenditures, it’s what do people care about,” Houston said.

Specifics of the future of the dam were left unaddressed Thursday. Although not on Thursday’s panel, Angela Price of PacifiCorp was in attendance. Price declined to elaborate on how long Pacifi- Corp intends to continue operating the dam, or what might happen if her company concludes the cost of upkeep outweighs its power-generating potential.

Taking out the dam completely would have a significant impact beyond the area commonly thought of as Mirror Pond, Houston said. Removing the dam would drop water levels directly behind the dam by 8 to 10 feet, he said, and the river would find a new channel through the main body of the pond. The effect could be noticeable as far upstream as McKay Park, where Houston said water levels could drop by a foot.

In response to an audience question, Houston said many of the consulting engineers working on possible solutions for Mirror Pond are also working on the Bend Park & Recreation District’s plans to develop a safe passage through the Colorado Avenue Dam spillway, and are confident they can find a way to make both projects work together.

The dam’s removal would be the best option for fish, Eilers said, lowering water temperatures and boosting the level of available dissolved oxygen by allowing the river to move faster. He said a faster-moving river through Drake Park would also be likely to drive off the geese that have multiplied in the area over the years.

Eilers suggested a fourth option — which he dubbed “designer dredging” — might be the easiest course of action. Such an approach could involve dredging out a defined channel while building up and “armoring” some areas where silt deposition is most pronounced. Other portions of the pond could be restored as above-water-level parkland, he said, such as the shallows in the wide bow just behind the Drake Park stage.

Mike Hollern, CEO of Brooks Resources and a pond-side resident, latched on to Eilers’ description of “designer dredging.” Hollern said his personal preference would be for the future pond to retain many of its present characteristics, but acknowledged that those who live closest to the water benefit most, and should contribute to a local improvement district to help pay for any work on the pond.

Hollern suggested a retaining wall backfilled with silt dredged from the pond could be used to expand Harmon Park on the west side of the river.

Houston said such a compromise could hit a “sweet spot” that could at least partially satisfy those who desire views, wildlife habitat and access to the water for recreation. Dry land for expanded parks could persuade the park district to buy in, Houston said, while developed wetlands that could help clean up the wastewater dumped into the pond by city storm drains could attract funding from the city or grants from clean water groups.

Gary Fish, founder of Deschutes Brewery, joked that the brewery would have to scrap “about 25 million pieces of printed material” depicting the pond that serves as the namesake of Mirror Pond Pale Ale, but echoed Houston’s comments about finding a middle ground between dam removal and repeated dredging.

“I don’t think anybody’s going to get everything they want, but they should get a lot of what they want,” Fish said.

Thursday’s forum was independent of an effort under way by the Mirror Pond Management Board, a group formed by the Bend City Council in 2009. The management board has an online questionnaire where local residents can share what they value about Mirror Pond and the Deschutes River at www.mirrorpondbend.com through Feb. 25. In March and April, the board will be using the public input it’s gathered to develop potential plans of action, including illustrations and cost estimates.

Past estimates have placed the cost of a 1984-style dredging at between $2 and $5 million.

Source: The Bulletin ©2013

Dam removal will change upper Mirror Pond

[SlideDeck2 id=4959 ress=1]

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

More comments at MirrorPondBend.com

floaters-doug

Beer, river rafting draw visitors

Sipping beer along the Bend Ale Trail and floating down the Deschutes River has led to an increase in tourism, according to data released Tuesday.

Overall tourism in the city of Bend increased over the summer, based on lodging tax collections and occupancy rates, and the number of visitors from outside the state also went up, according to a 2012 summer survey conducted by RRC Associates, of Boulder, Colo., for Visit Bend, the city’s tourism promotion agency.

“In addition to the increase in tourists visiting Bend, they are also spending more money than they have in the recent past” said Doug La Placa, Visit Bend president and CEO.

Visitors also participated in various activities at different rates than they did when last surveyed in 2009. Dining showed the largest increase, with 70 percent of visitors dining out in the summer of 2012, compared to 56 percent in 2009, according to the survey.

Kinley Sbandati, co-owner of Trattoria Sbandati, an Italian restaurant on Northwest College Way, said while the restaurant industry had a couple of rough years, it is picking up.

“This summer we saw a huge rise in the amount of diners that came through our establishment … We were full almost every day,” she said, noting about half her customers were tourists. “It seems like the word is getting around about Bend.”

While the research doesn’t explain the variance between 2009 and 2012, La Placa believes a rebound in the economy would affect visitors’ discretionary income when it comes to dining out while on vacation.

Participation in the Bend Ale Trail and the amount of brewery visits also increased, rising 12 percent over 2009, according to the survey.

“Over 25 percent of visitors coming into the Bend Visitor Center now are participating in the Bend Ale Trail,” La Placa said. “Sixty thousand maps were printed last year, and they are all gone.”

Bend was not simply a destination for beer lovers. Stand-up paddling, floating the river, kayaking and canoeing all gained in popularity between 2009 and 2012, and they are quickly becoming another staple visitor experience in Bend, La Placa said.

Those activities have been aided by the creation of the Deschutes Paddle Trail, which maps out the different lakes and rivers, by the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance, he said. It also helped Visit Bend book the National Paddle Sports Conference in Bend for September 2013.

He said the reconstruction of the Colorado Street Dam to provide safe passage for floaters and whitewater for kayakers will likely increase participation in river activities. “With the growth of paddle sports that we are already seeing among visitors to Bend, any enhancements … to the paddling assets in our destination are going to attract additional visitors to the area,” he said.

Source: The Bulletin ©2012

River likely to be crowded

With temperatures expected to be around 90 today and edging to within sight of triple digits on Sunday, crowds likely will be flocking to lakes and rivers around Central Oregon looking for a chance to cool off.

Although high-profile, recreational drownings have been rare, a handful of floaters, swimmers and boaters are killed every year in Central Oregon waters. Bend Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering said most accidents on the water are avoidable.

For river floaters, Kettering advises people to steer clear of cheap flotation devices.

“No pool toys,” she said. “Pool toys such as the flimsy air mattresses and the things people get out there on that are designed for still water like a swimming pool as opposed to a river with rocks and limbs and other things that could puncture it.”

River users need to know where they’re going before they get into the water. Kettering said nearly every year, the fire department encounters a river floater who put in at Meadow Camp planning to float in to Bend, unaware of the sizable rapids they would encounter. Floaters or boaters should scout their route by land before launching.

Even on well-traveled routes like the Deschutes River float through Bend’s Old Mill District, Kettering said people need to remain aware of their surroundings. Despite an abundance of warning signs advising floaters where to exit the river, nearly every year a few people end up going through the Colorado Dam spillway, Kettering said. Floaters went though the spillway at least twice last year, and in 2006, a woman was pulled though the spillway and killed.

Alcohol is a common factor in water accidents, Kettering said, and should be avoided by anyone planning on boating or floating.

While not legally required for most river floating, Kettering said a life jacket is still a good idea. Inflatables such as inner tubes that are bound together are considered boats under state law, she said, and users are required to carry one life jacket for every person aboard — the same rule that applies to canoes, ski boats, fishing boats and other craft. Children 12 and younger are required to wear a life jacket while on a boat.

“Whether you’re a good swimmer or a poor swimmer or somewhere in between, anybody can get in trouble out there on the water, and a life jacket can be the difference between making it out and not,” she said.

Source: The Bulletin ©2012

Bend Parks Board’s Mirror Pond Play

Last week the Bend Parks Board wisely put the breaks on a plan to include a Mirror Pond management study in a proposed November bond request that includes a number of attractive projects, including the completion of the Bend River Trail through some key property acquisitions, the reconstruction of the perilous Colorado Avenue spillway and the construction of a seasonal ice rink on the former site of the Mt. Bachelor Park and Ride lot. The district, which owns much of the land around Mirror Pond in the form of Drake and Harmon parks was under a fair amount of pressure to take the lead on the Mirror Pond project.

We’re glad that they didn’t for several reasons.

First and foremost, the city and its supporters, led by the Mirror Pond Management Committee, have taken a deeply flawed approach to the long-term management of the river, yes, it’s actually a river—not a pond. The city continues to operate under the assumption that the community can and should do everything that it can to preserve Mirror Pond in its “historic” state, which is to say a man-made reflecting pool that serves as a de facto silt dump for the entire upper basin. Of course, the city isn’t the only disappointing actor in this drama. Perhaps the biggest deadbeat is Pacific Power, which has done nothing to accept responsibility for the dam that ought to be at the center of the debate. The company’s Central Oregon representative recently offered, lamely, that it would continue to operate the dam as long as it provided a “benefit” to its customers. Keep in mind that the dam, which may or may not even be providing power at this point, cranks out, at best, enough juice to power a whopping 500 homes.

Whatever you think of the concept of Mirror Pond, maintaining it in the current state is a costly proposition, somewhere on the order of $2 million to $5 million based on estimates for a large-scale dredging project, similar to what the community did three decades ago when the issue last arose (see a pattern here?). Of course, much has changed in that time, including our understanding of natural resources and the role of things like wetlands and floodplains in a healthy ecosystem. But don’t take our word for it—the experts, including Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife staff, say the same thing. The only long-term solution is to remove the dam and restore the river. But that advice has fallen on deaf ears.

Once again instead of listening to the experts and thinking progressively about one of the city’s most important resources, Mirror Pond advocates are trotting out the same tired excuses. “It’s an icon.” “It’s part of Bend’s history.” The same old lines that we’ve heard before and that have contributed to the ongoing gridlock on the issue.

Of course as long as the city and Mirror Pond advocates continue to resist restoration of the river as an option, they’ll continue to find that grant monies and other sources of funding for progressive environmental projects are elusive. Voters ought to take the same approach when the committee rolls out a “fund our dredging” campaign in the fall. In the meantime, we’re giving parks board members the Slipper for not weighing down an important parks’ bond with a loaded Mirror Pond study.

Source: The Source Weekly

The dams that define Bend

Long before logging trucks existed, horses dragged fresh-cut trees to the train tracks that wound through the woods surrounding Bend. Train cars dumped logs into the Deschutes River, where they floated in the pool behind a dam.

Almost 90 years later, that dam, near what is now the Colorado Avenue bridge, still holds back the Deschutes, but the logs are long gone.

The idea of building that log pond dam took seed as early as 1907, and it was built in 1915.

“The community said that pond could draw mills and make the town boom,” said John Frye, a volunteer for the Deschutes County Historical Society.

They were right.

The mills, which ran 24 hours a day, employed 1,500 people in 1916, when only 5,193 people lived in Bend. They stacked acres of lumber to dry in the area where the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services building is now located.

The log pond dam is just one of four dams on the Deschutes River within the city that significantly shaped the region’s economy and spurred the city’s growth. And it’s the only one that is not still used for its original purpose.

The other dams brought electricity to the city and facilitated irrigation that allowed agriculture to develop on the High Desert.

They are:

-The Pacific Power dam at Newport Avenue, built in 1910 for generating electricity.

-The Tumalo Irrigation District diversion dam at Pioneer Park, built in 1922 to divert water to the Bend feed canal.

-The North Canal dam near Division and Third Street, built in 1912 for irrigation canals that stretched all the way north to Madras.

Newspaper articles testify to the community’s pride when the dam at Newport Avenue was built to generate power.

“The community was really bragging about how great that was,” Frye said.

Electricity changed the nature of the community located in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly, the power heated and lighted up homes. Women started using electric irons, Frye said.

The power plant still generates about one megawatt of electricity — enough to power more than 500 homes — and its power is dispersed into the general power grid, some of which feeds Bend.

During the homestead era, circa 1910, farmers were building irrigation ditches in the desert, Frye said. Irrigation diversion dams built on the north end of the city’s stretch of river in 1912 and 1922 allowed agriculture to develop all the way north to Madras.

Now, those irrigation canals have become central to a regional discussion about water use because their diversions dramatically drop the level of the Middle Deschutes River — just downstream, to the north of the diversion dams.

And Pacific Power’s dam at Newport Avenue created one of Bend’s signature water features — Mirror Pond — bordered by Drake Park and a row of high-profile homes.

Because the dam slows the water flow right there, silt has stacked up in the pond, making it shallow and muddy.

“When the river slows down and hits the still water behind the dam, it doesn’t carry the sediment load,” said Roger Prowell, water quality supervisor with Bend’s Public Works Department. “Dams build up silt deposits.”

The silt was once dredged in the mid-1980s. A 16-inch pipeline passed through people’s yards and deposited the dirt in a hole below what is now the Deschutes Brewery’s plant along the river upstream. “That was when machines in the river did’t cause a crisis. Now it’d be hard,” Prowell said. “If you go in a river with a machine, people will argue that you’re killing the fish.”

There are companies that basically dehydrate the silt and remove the dry dirt from the site, which would have less impact on the fish and the neighbors. Prowell guesses that would cost more than a million dollars.

Whether to dredge again is a decision the community will have to make, and water experts say the topic has been discussed. But, it’s not a burning issue, Prowell said.

If the silt is allowed to accumulate, at some point vegetation would eventually start to grow and a riparian zone would be reborn along the edges of the pond.

The river would flow through a narrow channel and the water flow would speed up.

Bend officials have no control over the dams or whether the sediment is removed.

“People perceive the city in control of those dams,” Prowell said. “We don’t have anything to do with it. The river just flows through our community, through the control of other people.”

For example, irrigation districts own and control the irrigation diversion dams, and Pacific Power still runs the power-generation dam.

And Bill Smith, developer of the Old Mill District mixed-use and retail center at the former mill site, owns and controls the former log dam at Colorado Avenue.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) regulates fish habitat, and the Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) oversees water quality, but Smith more or less has control of the floodgates.

“I can pretty much do whatever I want,” he said.

But he does have to provide a water reserve for a fire flow to Willamette Industries. Smith said he keeps the water about 36 feet deep just upstream of the dam.

If he lowered that, letting more water flow through the gates, it would effectively create more developable land in the Old Mill District, potentially raising his lands’ value.

If he wanted to do that, he could build a pipe-to-pond system for a fire protection reservoir in the industrial area — but that would be expensive, he said.

Smith said he plans to keep the water level in the river to maintain wetlands — something the community has come to expect.

For the most part, Smith’s dam doesn’t affect the river’s flow much, said Kyle Gorman, regional manager for the south central region of the Oregon Water Resources Department. He said no formal guidelines govern that section of the river, but his department oversees safety issues there.

Removing the dams would be up to the dam owners, said Steve Marx, fish biologist for ODFW in Bend. He hasn’t heard any talk of it lately, though.

Talk of removing the Mirror Pond dam came up about 10 years ago when the power company was going through relicensing proceedings, Marx said. Only hydro-power dams need licenses.

“It’s a big social issue — how that would change Mirror Pond,” he said. “It would become a river environment instead of a pond environment.”

Whether that’s good or bad depends on whom you talk to, Marx said.

A more natural stream channel would be a positive thing for fish habitat. But people enjoy the aesthetics of the pond, too.

However, removing the dam could wash too much sediment downstream, and that could be bad for the river’s ecology, he said.

Silt would fill the spaces between rocks and within gravel where insects — fish food — live. It would affect spawning and cover for fish.

Right now, the biggest ongoing discussion at ODFW related to the dams is the ability of fish to pass them.

Fish can’t pass the north canal dam or the Pacific Power dam. The Tumalo Irrigation District diversion dam at Pioneer Park and Smith’s dam have fish ladders for the redband and rainbow trout.

Building fish ladders can be expensive and the responsibility falls to the dam owners.

“It’s a long-term goal to restore passage at those dams and restore (fish) populations at those dams,” Marx said. “We have isolated fish populations in each of those … fragmented sections.”

Source: The Bulletin ©2002

FERC to ODFW: “We need more information”

FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
Washington DC 20425

Project No. 2643-091-Oregon
Bend Hydroelectric Project
PacifiCorp Electric Operations

Mr.Randy Fisher, Director
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
2501 SW First Street
P.O. Box 59
Portland d, OR 97207

Dear Mr. Fisher:

In a letter dated January 14, 1994, you commented on our Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for the Bend Hydroelectric Project, No. 2643-001, dated August 31, 1993.

We’re in the process of addressing all comments received on the DEA and will be issuing a final EA in the near future. To adequately reevaluate the issues you’ve commented on, we need more information concerning your analysis and recommendations. our questions (in schedule A) concern (1) your efforts to require upstream fish passage at the North Canal Dam (2) your assessment of the Bend Project’s effect on trout, and (J) the status of the habitat improvement projects on the upper Deschutes River.

Please file your response with the Secretary of the commission within JO days of the date of this letter. If you have any questions concerning this request, please call Joe Davis at (202) 219-2865.

Sincerely,

John H. Clements
Acting Director, Division of Project Review

Schedule A

1. You say the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has the statutory authority to require upstream and downstream passage facilities at dams, and you have instructed your staff to pursue and achieve installation of upstream passage facilities at the North canal Dam and Bend Hydro Dam.

Please tell us the schedule for installing upstream passage facilities at the North Canal Dam.

2. You estimate that either 14,674 or 18,026 wild rainbow and brown trout (page 2 and 16 respectively, of your Jan. 14, 1994 letter) moved downstream past the Bend Project from January through October, 1990, and a total of 170,961 fish migrated past the (Central Oregon Irrigation District) COID project between April 1 to October 31, 1990. Following installation of screens at the COID project, you estimate that 17,515 trout will pass the Bend project.

Your analysis is based on sampling data of fish movement and size distribution in the Deschutes River at the COID diversion. We need the assumptions and computations on which these estimates are based to complete our analysis.

Therefore, please provide one copy of the sampling data used and the assumptions on which these estimates are based.

Please describe all backup and intermediate computations and explicit and implicit assumptions at each stage. If a computer spreadsheet was used, please provide a copy of the spreadsheet (both hard copy and DOS floppy disk), with the formulas and any linked or associated files or sheets on which the computations are based.

3. You compute spill at the Bend Project using two different methods (Tables 1 and 2 in your January 14, 1994 letter).

Please provide copies of the flow data and computations used in developing these tables. If a computer spreadsheet was used, please provide a copy of the spreadsheet (both hard copy and DOS floppy disk), with the formulas and any linked or associated files or sheets on which the computations are based.

4. You determined that the sweep velocity across the face of the vertical plate screen would be between 3 and 4 fps. We need the assumptions and computations on which these estimates are based to do our analysis.

Therefore, please provide the spreadsheets computations and assumptions on which these estimates are based.

5. You indicate that many habitat improvement projects have been completed in the upper Deschutes River and plans exist for future projects. Please provide more information on the following:

(a) The Bureau of Reclamation’s Upper Deschutes water Conservation Project, which includes canal lining, proposed off-site storage and reregulation reservoirs, etc. Have funds been appropriated for any of this work? When will enough water be conserved to begin increased flow releases below the North Canal Dam?

(b) You say that letters have been sent to all operators of water diversions in Oregon that divert more than 30 cfs, notifying them of the need to provide intake screens and respond with their plans for complying with the screening requirements. Please provide the expected completion date of screen installation for each facility located on the upper Deschutes River.

(c) Please tell us when the following projects are scheduled to be completed:

  • Installing natural materials, such as logs, at Dillon Falls
  • Rebuilding the existing ladder at Cline Falls
  • Installing a vertical slot fishway at the Colorado Street Bridge Dam

Document: ODFW-additional-comments

Manipulation of Mill Pond Gates to Reduce River Flow

Power dam gates will be closed by the week-end or the first of next week and the level of the Mirror pond will slowly mount toward normal, power company officials announced today. However, before the gates are closed the direct flow of the river will be reduced to a minimum, to permit of final work in placing new facing on the lower part of the dam.

The flow of the river will be cut In this manner: Mill companies, cooperating with the power company, will release water from the upstream mill pond, then the gates will be closed, shutting off most of the water. However, not all the flow of the river can be cut off, and a stream, greatly reduced, will meander through the mudflats. However, the flow will be sufficiently low to permit of the completion of work on the lower facing on the dam.

The direct flow of the river has already been reduced through upstream dlveralon and storage at Crane prairie. Closing of the main pond gates, after the pond has been partly drained, wlll cut down the flow for about an hour, It Is estimated. On Tuesday, this method of reducing the flow was successfully used.

When the lower facing on the dam just north of the Newport avenue bridge is completed, it will be possible to impound water in the Mirror pond, and this will be done while work on the top part of the dam is being completed, it was indicated by power company officials. The Mirror pond will not reach its normal level until all repair work is completed.

It was a week ago tomorrow night that first water was released from the dam, and repair work was at once started.

There was some difference of opinion today as to whether ducks are flying upstream and into the range of hunters’ guns as a result of the draining of the Mirror pond. The general opinion is that ducks and geese are still ln the channel in considerable numbers, but are not asnoticeable as when the basin is filled.

City officers have announced that no attempts will be made to rid the basin of aquatic weeds, declaring that similar attempts in the past, when the water was out of the pond proved ineffective.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1941