I believe there are no choices regarding the future of Mirror Pond; the silt must be removed. Here’s why: 1.) Whether the dam is removed or not, the silt cannot be flushed downriver; 2.) Letting the silt accumulate until “equilibrium” is achieved in the pond simply means you’ll be flushing all future silt down the river. You could expect lawsuits from the irrigation and environmental interests.
I remember when the Canadian Express rolled into Bend and the river froze from bottom to top and flooded neighborhoods all along the river. Uncontrolled siltation raises the bottom of the river and more flood waters could be pushed into adjoining neighborhoods. Lawsuits could be expected because someone failed to properly maintain the pond. Removing the silt seems to be the best all-around option.
One aspect of the siltation issue I don’t understand is this: If Pacific Power built the dam that resulted in the buildup of silt, why is the company not totally responsible for its removal? The cost of silt removal is directly related to the income benefit from producing electricity. Pacific Power could write off the expense over time and trickle those costs on to ratepayers over the years and we’d hardly know it. As a Pacific Power patron, I’m already paying for dam removals in other places, so why not add the expense of silt removal to the list? That way, all Pacific Power customers would share in maintaining Mirror Pond and we’d hardly feel the pinch.