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Banking on Powerhouse Park

by Kimberlee Craig | Oct 03, 2018

Powerhouse Park is just naturally a neighborhood favorite.

Osprey swoop back and forth; deer and other creatures slip down to drink at water’s edge and summer Chinook and steelhead return in healthy numbers to spawn each fall.

They’re joined by Chelan-area families who visit one of Chelan PUD’s smallest parks to splash and float in the protected swim area at the confluence of the Chelan and Columbia rivers. Others like to cast for fish from shore or from paddle-powered boats.

Securing the shoreline

Developed by Chelan PUD, alongChelan Powerhouse Park Restoration with the larger Chelan Falls Park down the road, Powerhouse Park has welcomed families, fish and wildlife since the early 1990s. Before that, it was a popular fishing hole for decades.

The location is perfect for family reunions, picnics and a shady rest on a hot summer’s day.

It also makes the shoreline vulnerable to erosion from currents created where the Chelan River meets water coming out of the PUD’s Chelan Falls Powerhouse.

Over the years, the bank has crumbled, invasive weeds have taken hold and made river access for fishing unsafe.

Chelan PUD is restoring the shoreline to make sure the park safely welcomes visitors for decades to come

Stepping up

Below the water line, a double layer of boulders forms the base for 600 feet of new terraced riverbank. 50 log clusters with root balls are laced in to offer shade and a place to rest out of the current for fish.

Native plants, that don’t mind wet roots, will help hold the bank. The planting list includes serviceberry, red twig dogwood, water birch willow and black cottonwood. The deep roots of Ponderosa pine and upland shrubs will anchor the top of the bank.

Pipkin Construction of East Wenatchee is rebuilding the shoreline under a $767,000 contract.

Splish-splash

The swim beach also is getting a makeover.  About 150 feet of the shoreline is being rebuilt around the corner into the cozy lagoon. Restoring the  small launch for  paddle-powered boats is included.

Project Manager Gary Rice said the goal is a sustainable riverbank with native plantings that will hold the soil and withstand river flows. 

Ready to reopen

Work is on track – maybe even a little ahead of schedule - for the park to reopen as planned by Oct. 26. That means there will be time this fall for a picnic – and a great view of spawning Chinook and steelhead! 

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