Work begins on community pond
October 7, 2021
LEABURG: A project to reconfigure a rearing pond at the Old McKenzie Fish Hatchery is now underway. Over the years, the old earthen pond had filled with sediment and vegetation.
Thanks to a $19,054 grant to the McKenzie River Discovery Center from the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, the pond is being cleaned and converted to a community fishing pond. When complete, ODFW plans to hold angling and education/outreach events at the site.
"The new community fishing pond at the MRDC is not only restoring an historically significant asset within the community, it's also a chance for people of all ages, abilities and experience levels to get their hands wet trying out a new skill. Whether it's fly-fishing, traditional bait fishing or learning how to identify native fish and keep them alive for 'catch-and release' we will have something for everyone, according to Wisteria Stuart, Executive Director of the McKenzie River Discovery Center.
Besides increasing angling and education/outreach opportunities the project aims to create a safe place and controlled environment for anglers to catch stocked trout.
The Old McKenzie Fish Hatchery's history extends back to 1907, when the Oregon Fish Commission (now ODFW) opened the facility and raised salmon/trout until 1953, when it was replaced by the current Leaburg Trout Hatchery. Because of the site's unique architecture and importance to the McKenzie Valley, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
Buildings on site were restored and in 2007 Lane County Parks endorsed a plan to expand the facilities to include a museum and an interpretive center.
Besides cleanup activities, the project will include intake repairs and installation of a fish screen allowing water to again flow into the pond. The pond will then be stocked with trout and open for special event, ADA accessible angling opportunities in the spring of 2022.