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DailyTidings.com
  • Cleansing waters

    City eyes Ashland Pond for treating waste water
  • The snowy egret, great blue heron and a family of otters that now share a city pond could see their home become part of an effort to improve water quality and salmon habitat in Ashland Creek without ever knowing it.
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  • The snowy egret, great blue heron and a family of otters that now share a city pond could see their home become part of an effort to improve water quality and salmon habitat in Ashland Creek without ever knowing it.
    City engineers are considering whether to stop pumping treated effluent from the water-treatment plant directly into Ashland Creek and instead run it down an old creek side-channel and through the nearby Ashland Pond on city park land before routing it directly into Bear Creek.
    The design is similar to the Oregon Garden near Salem and the "Talking Waters" in Albany, two other locales where treated effluent is cooled in what amounts to natural filtration systems open to the public.
    By doing so, the pond will help cool the treated water enough to reduce its negative impact on Bear Creek's wild salmon and steelhead population plagued by warm water temperatures.
    Bypassing the creek will also mean Ashland Creek instantly would have some of the most attractive cool-water habitat for wild salmon that make their way up Bear Creek.
    "It will make it easier for chinook salmon to get all the way to Lithia Park," says Scott Fleury, Ashland's engineering services manager.
    Estimated to cost $800,000, the channel and pond system is one of three possible ways the city can meet its required effluent-cooling targets while also solving salmon-habitat issues, officials say.
    Other design possibilities include running the treated water through a nearby wetland for similar results or have it flow through a terraced wetland built near the dog park, Fleury says.
    Engineers expect to study the various options and recommend a design to the Ashland City Council sometime in the fall, Fleury says.
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