The renovation of the Mirror Pond, perhaps better known as the Duck Pond, in Manito Park went on hiatus last month and people noticed.
Spokane Parks Department landscape architect Nick Hamad said he got several emails from residents asking about the project. The shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic meant that some needed supplies weren’t available for the project to keep going.
“While our contractors were authorized to continue to work, some of their suppliers were not,” he said.
The project to clean up the murky pond started last fall and was originally planned to be finished by now. But work resumed this week and the project is on track to be done by early June, Hamad said.
The old pond had many years of nutrient buildup, some of which came from duck feces and some from leaves that fell in the pond every autumn. “We’ve been able to reset that,” Hamad said.
The first order of business was to drain the pond and dig out accumulated sediment. “We actually deepened it a couple of feet to give us more volume,” he said.
The Friends of Manito, a group of citizens that raises money from two annual plant sales, contributed $75,000 toward the project, Hamad said. “They’ve been fundraising quite a while,” he said. “Without them, I don’t know that we could have done it.”
The heavy construction work on the project is finished. What remains is the construction of a treatment wetland that will help keep the pond water clean. “It’s about half full right now,” Hamad said. “It’s been naturally refilling.”
When work on the pond started last year, several turtles and ducks living there were relocated to the Cannon Hill pond. Now that the heavy construction has finished, wildlife has started to return. “We have noticed some ducks taking up residence now that the pond is refilling,” he said. “It’s good to see the ducks come back. It will be interesting to see what moves back in.”
The Parks Department only wants native wildlife in the pond. When it was drained, goldfish and catfish were found in the water. The goldfish were likely dumped by people who no longer wanted them and Hamad said he’s puzzled about the presence of the catfish. “I couldn’t tell you how they got there,” he said.
The pond will have educational signs around the edge that ask people not to dump their unwanted fish in the water, he said.
Though the water will be cleaner, people shouldn’t expect crystal clear water in the pond. “We are looking to construct a native looking, healthy pond,” Hamad said. “The treatment wetland will really help us keep the nutrients in check. Our goal is to keep it as natural as possible.”
The pond will remain fenced off until the work is finished. Hamad said he knows people are eager to visit it again. “We see a tremendous amount of walkers around the pond,” he said. “It’s a really great aesthetic.”
Original plans called for a rededication ceremony when the pond was finished, but Hamad said there are no plans for that right now. It’s likely that the fencing will simply come down so the people and ducks can come back to enjoy the water.
“We’re excited to deliver a pond,” he said.
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