Construction near Fernhill Wetlands ongoing
What's going on at Fernhill Wetlands?
The wetland and water treatment area, managed by Clean Water Services, was closed on Wednesday, Feb. 17, as construction work was conducted. It reopened to the public the following day, but the work is far from finished.
Wednesday's phase was part of a series of five construction projects at the Forest Grove water treatment facility that will accommodate community growth and improve system reliability over the next three years.
Construction will require the removal of some immature trees and plants. Upon the project's completion, permanent landscaping will be installed.
The Fernhill Wetlands loop trails, along with the roughly 90-acre area owned by Clean Water Services, were closed in 2014 for nearly a year while the artificial lagoons on the property were reshaped and replanted with native species.
As part of the current five-phase project, the following is planned:
• Reuse and electrical complex — A new building will house the electrical feed for the projects listed below, as well as office and meeting space. Construction is expected to be complete by spring 2021.
• Secondary clarifier — A new 120-foot diameter clarifier will be constructed on the east side of the treatment facility, adjacent to the Fernhill Wetlands. Construction is expected to be complete by summer 2021.
• Ultraviolet disinfection/effluent pump station — A new disinfection system and pumping station will replace aging and undersized equipment. Construction is expected to be complete in summer/fall 2022.
• Reuse — In conjunction with the above project, improvements will be made to the holding ponds behind the Fernhill Wetlands visitor and volunteer buildings. Reuse water from the treatment process will be distributed to local agricultural fields, and later to other irrigation customers. Construction is expected to be complete in spring/summer of 2023.
• Amenities — A new nature-based play area will engage Fernhill Wetlands' youngest visitors in unstructured and imaginative play ,and a new viewing platform will offer an accessible place to observe wildlife. Construction of the nature-based play area is expected to be complete in summer/fall 2021. Viewing platform construction should be complete in spring 2022.
The newly constructed visitor and volunteer buildings were completed last spring. The visitor station was designed to help guests understand how water travels through use, treatment and back to the Tualatin River, while the volunteer building was designed to allow volunteers to share information and tools with visitors.
Fernhill is officially designated as an Important Bird Area and is also home to beavers, frogs, coyote and other wildlife.
For the most part, trails have been and will remain open for the duration of the project. Visitors are being asked to follow physical distancing rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including washing hands before and after your visit; maintaining six feet of distance from other visitors; only interacting with members of their own household; not touching surfaces; and staying home if they are feeling unwell or have received a positive COVID-19 test.
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