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Historic pond hurt by floods; Repair plan could strengthen former slough

Snoqualmie resident and historian Dave Battey surveys the blown out embankment Thursday, Dec. 4 at the Snoqualmie Falls mill pond. Battey warns that another flood could take out the adjacent road. - Courtesy photo
Snoqualmie resident and historian Dave Battey surveys the blown out embankment Thursday, Dec. 4 at the Snoqualmie Falls mill pond. Battey warns that another flood could take out the adjacent road.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The Snoqualmie Falls Mill Pond, a historic body of water that provides fire protection to part of the Valley, is slowly losing its water after being badly damaged in the Nov. 12 flooding.

High waters blew out a piece of the weir last month, and damage to the earthen bank stretches to the edge of Mill Pond Road.

The weir generally takes a beating by the elements and needs repairs every year or two.

This time, the damage was “about the worst we’ve ever seen, though,” said Julie Keough, land services manager for Weyerhaeuser, which maintains the mill site.

The pond “is as low as it’s going to get,” she said.

A repair process is under way, but is slow because the timber company needs several different permits from King County and the state of Washington.

“We certainly have an obligation and a responsibility to maintain fire protection at the mill site,” Keough said. “The mill pond is critical to that.”

Repair plans call for larger rocks to help protect the pond embankment.

“We think we have a decent plan to make that a little bit stronger,” Keough said.

Valley historian Dave Battey said the mill pond has has been an important local feature since the 1890s, when it was used by the Snoqualmie Mill Company. Decades later, Weyerhaeuser turned the horseshoe-shaped slough into a circular pond for more efficient use.

The pond is normally filled by creeks, but overflow from the river entered during the recent flood event. That excess water destroyed the weir on its way out, pushing stones through a culvert to the other side of Mill Pond Road.

Battey expressed concern that another flood could take out that road.

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