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District Cautions Use of Discovery Park Irrigation Lake

July 13, 2015

Since Discovery Park opened to the public in early June people have been drawn to the park’s irrigation lake for water play.  “When the lake was first filled, it was clear and the weather hot” states Don Horton, Executive Director. “It attracted a lot of people.” Park District rules do not forbid water play in the lake, but the Park District wants to alert people that continued heat, plant and algae growth, and the introduction of people into the water could bring about water quality issues.

Because of heavy human use, the Park District has called upon the help of Deschutes County Health Department and Umpqua Research Company to test the water on a weekly basis for E. Coli and total Coliform.  Should testing indicate a need to close the lake, signage will be posted.  “Though the District is having the water tested it is not being tested for all water related diseases. People recreating in the lake should do so knowing that the lake was built for irrigation and the water is not potable” states Pat Erwert, Park Services Director.

The lake was designed as an irrigation pond and storm water retention basin for the park and roads surrounding the lake.  The water comes from an on-site well as well as run-off from heavy rain storms.  “People should be aware that the water is untreated and if they choose to recreate in it, to do so at their own risk” stated Horton.

The beach, children’s natural play structure and ‘river maker’ playground were designed for children to enjoy explorative play.  A fishing platform (resembling a dock) was built but due to recent popularity of the park, fish have not been introduced. Fishing is not allowed at this time.  Once the vegetation has matured, the lake will better resemble a natural pond such as the fishing ponds at Pine Nursery and Shevlin Parks.