October 8, 2009 in Washington Voices

Makeover at Manito pond

Water quality will be top priority in rehabilitation project at park
By The Spokesman-Review
Colin Mulvany photo

Deteriorating water quality has been a huge issue with the pond at Manito Park on Spokane’s South HIll. Last year, ducks were rounded up and adopted out to decrease the number of birds there, and signs were put up asking people not to feed the birds.colinm@spokesman.com
(Full-size photo)


The duck pond in Manito Park, at the park’s north end near 17th Avenue, was originally a natural lake called Mirror Lake. To prevent it from drying out over the summer, a concrete bottom was put in. Canoes could be rented there, and in the early 1900s there was a dance hall at the side of the pond and open-air movies were shown nearby. Known as the duck pond, its real name is Mirror Pond.

Source: Spokane Parks Department

The water quality in Manito Park’s beloved duck pond had deteriorated to a point where Parks and Recreation Department staff had no choice but to round up some of the resident ducks and put them up for adoption.

In February of last year, 40 ducks found new homes, and signs went up asking visitors to please not feed the birds. Park visitors were feeding the ducks lots of bread – not an ideal duck diet. It also turned the water quite foul.

“We are very glad to see that people are heeding the signs about not feeding the ducks because that has been a major contributor to the pond’s poor water quality,” said Steve Nittolo, horticulture supervisor in Manito Park.

The Friends of Manito have donated $30,000 to the initial phase of a rehabilitation project at Mirror Pond that includes stabilization of the sides and bottom of the pond, and a thorough study of geotechnical and water quality issues.

“We are primarily working to improve water quality in the pond,” Nittolo said.

Park visitors shouldn’t expect big construction right away.

The first step in the pond revitalization process is to assess how much more water is needed to keep the pond full.

The Spokane Parks Department may drain some water while figuring this out – occasionally the bottom will be visible – but the pond will be filled back up.

Another $20,000 donation from the Friends of Manito will go toward drawings and construction oversight.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email