BPRD, Upper Deschutes Watershed Council complete Riverbend Park access project; trail section reopens – KTVZ

Wetland created, plantings, fencing added to improve river corridor

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Bend Park and Recreation District and the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council celebrated Monday the completion of a project at Riverbend Park that they say balances recreational access and needed habitat protection and improvement.

The Riverbend South Access & Restoration project improves river accessibility with grouted boulder terracing and stone entry steps into the Deschutes River at three designated locations, the two organizations said in a news release.

The design allows for all users, especially those with mobility limitations and children, to more easily access the river. The design of these access points was developed with feedback from Oregon Adaptive Sports and the Central Oregon Coalition on Access.

The locations of these access points were formerly eroding banks along the Deschutes River. Other former access points and areas along the river have been fenced off and rehabilitated, so that the riparian areas can function as a healthy river corridor, BPRD said.

Restoration included constructing a one-quarter acre wetland connected to the river, which is part of an area designated as critical habitat for the Oregon spotted frog. In addition, approximately 2,500 riparian and wetland plants and 10 in-stream logs are included in newly restored areas, along with 2,000 feet of split rail fencing to protect and limit access to restored areas.

All riparian and wetland plants are being planted by community volunteers and local students in April and May.

“The Deschutes River is the heart of the community, and the Riverbend South project will enhance the river experience for multiple generations of Central Oregonians of all abilities by its thoughtful plans for enabling access and providing restorative support to the riverbanks,” said Deb Schoen, BPRD Board chair.

“This project is an excellent example of serving the public interest through collaboration: BPRD working together with UDWC, both organizations lending their respective expertise to its successful completion,” added Nathan Hovekamp, BPRD board vice-chair. “It also strikes a careful balance between providing what I’m confident will immediately become a very popular low-key recreational amenity, while at the same time enhancing protections for the precious, beautiful and wildlife-rich …

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