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Westmoreland Duck Pond restored to natural state

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Looking south into Westmoreland Park, towards the area where the playground once stood, Crystal Springs Creek was gently placed into its new channel on August 28th - and now winds its way as a stream from Bybee Boulevard south through the park. Considerable landscaping remains to be done.The Portland Parks and Army Corps of Engineers project whereby the Westmoreland Park Duck Pond is to be turned back into a natural wetland area, restoring Crystal Springs Creek to its natural state wandering through the park, passed its half-way point in early August – nearing the attainment of an important part of the decade-old, citizen-developed Westmoreland Park Plan.

“Contractors removed the concrete rim of the duck pond and have been scooping out the bottom,” said City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Environmental Services Coordinator Ronda Fast.

“Then, they imported clean soil to fill in the entire duck pond area,” Fast added. “Their next step was to stabilize and compact the soil.”

Working south to north, contractors “sculpted” a new channel in which Crystal Springs Creek will flow.

“Using graders and excavators, crews ‘added complexity’ to the stream bed,” Fast explained, “Adding riffles and pools as they dug the ditch in the park from south to north. Riffles are the shallower parts of the creek, where water runs faster, and the pools allow the water to slow down. This simulates what fish would find in a natural stream.”

Over time, the water flowing through the channel will create even more complexity in the channel.

In mid-August, blue flags marked the path of the new creek for contractors to follow, as they sculpted the new waterway.

By August 28th, the creek bed had been sculpted and lined with natural material to stabilize the channel which would then slowly decompose, and water was again flowing in the new Crystal Springs Creek bed in Westmoreland Park.