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Pintail Pond is better-suited for ducks and other marshland wildlife, and has new features for nature-lovers.



HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Children from the Le Monde French Immersion Public Charter School in Portland take a tour around Pintail Pond at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve in Hillsboro, on Oct. 12.Restoration work at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve certainly isn't finished, but Hillsboro Parks and Recreation celebrated a major milestone last week: completion of a section of wetlands restoration at Pintail Pond.

Pintail is on the southern edge of the preserve, and is a former settling pond for wastewater treatment. A levy and pathway remain above the pond, but parks officials say the pond is being restored to a more natural marsh than before. The bottom of the basin is more sloped, allowing water to evaporate in a more natural way than the flat-bottomed pond. The surface also includes several piles of stumps and tree roots, giving wildlife places to find shelter.

Representatives from several of the city's many partners on the Pintail Pond project gathered for a short ceremony Thursday, Oct. 12, at a new viewing structure nestled on the pond's southeastern edge.

"Crews recently finished reconstructing wetlands into emergent marshland habitats and relocated the osprey nesting platform into the middle of pintail pond," said Parks Director Dave Miletich. "This provides the osprey with a quiet area to raise their young while still providing a viewing [opportunity] to the public."

Crews have added new benches and a new culvert will help keep the pond at a steady level during the rainy season. Biologist Laura Trunk, who is leading the restoration efforts at Jackson Bottom, said she plans to add more tree stumps to the pond — sequoias repurposed after the development of Walmart on Southwest Cornelius Pass Road. The benches are also made from the sequoias, she said.

Part of the funding for the project was made possible by a bond passed by voters in 2006. Metro, the regional government, awarded $335,000 in grants for construction at Jackson Bottom, which also draws funding from the city of Hillsboro, Clean Water Services and other partners.

"We're really giving back to nature in this project in that we're making sure we are helping Mother Earth recover from what we've been doing with our built environment," Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington said. "The earth is older than any of us, but it is projects like this that help our planet sustain life over time."

Miletich said there will be numerous opportunities for the public to get involved in the restoration process through tree planting and other volunteer events.

Efforts are currently under way at other portions of the preserve, including at Oak Island Marsh where Trunk is battling invasive carp by allowing the marsh to dry each summer. Reducing invasive species allow propagation of native plant life, which serves as a food source for migrating ducks and other water birds.

Wapato Marsh, at the center of the preserve, has become a feeding ground for ducks after massive planting efforts of native grasses.

"In 10 years time, there has been an absolute transformation," said Bruce Roll, of Clean Water Services. "You didn't see active, breeding animals here 10 years ago — that's because the water wasn't here, it would drain off. Now, you see all the wildlife that brings back all these other critters that find this place home, and that's really inspiring to me."

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