The Riverbend Park South Access and Restoration Project took more than five years to start. But it’s now quickly making progress and should be finished this spring.
Restoration, accessibility and conservation are the main goals of the half-million dollar project, according to Ian Isaacson, a landscape architect with the Bend Park and Recreation District.
“We want to show that within town, with the increased use, that access and restoration don’t have to be mutually exclusive,” said Isaacson.
Deterioration of the riverbank has been a concern for the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (UDWC).
“We are seeing through historical photos over the years, was receding 5, 6 up to 10 feet back from folks coming in to swim or dogs coming in and out,” said UDWC restoration program manager Mathias Perle.
In response, BPRD and UDWC along with the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the Sunderland Foundation and the Visit Bend Sustainability Fund came together to build three river access points, a man-made marsh and fencing between the Bill Healey Bridge and the Farewell Bend Park footbridge.
The marsh will be home to migrating fish and spotted frogs in the area.
“When [the marsh] is complete, the river will flow into it,” said Perle. “It’ll get completely planted with wetland ‘seg’ vegetation.”
Along with the vegetation in the marsh, the rest of the north side of the river will also be re-planted with all native species, which is expected to be complete by Fall 2023.
While the project is being led by BPRD, taxpayers footed $300,000 of the $500,000. The rest was funded by grants.