Editor’s note: In lieu of his standard comprehensive column this month, Pepper has shared the following comments he submitted to the City of Central Point Park Planner on Sept. 26 regarding proposed changes to Mingus Pond. Thanks to Pepper for his tireless work on behalf of our valley’s birds and their ecosystems!
Subject: Comments on Mingus Pond proposal

Dear Dave,
I’m the conservation co-chair of the Rogue Valley Audubon Society (RVAS). Mingus Pond is one of the top birding sites along the Bear Creek Greenway, and is one of the locations being surveyed every month by the Bear Creek Community Birding Survey to document the effects of the Almeda Fire on the birdlife of the Bear Creek Greenway. Given our long involvement with Mingus Pond, we would like to provide input on the proposed changes to the area. (https://www.centralpointoregon.gov/sites/default/files/fileattachments/parks_and_recreation/page/1087/bear_creek_greenway_site_plan_210715_-_final_7-15-21.pdf).
I asked two RVAS members who regularly bird around Mingus Pond to review the proposed site plan. Here are their comments:
• Mingus Pond is an important overwintering area for waterfowl. It is heavily used by Canvasbacks in the winter (up to 50 or more at some times). One of the only reliable places in the valley to see them. The pond has historically had a lot of use by green herons and kingfishers too.
The main concern I have with the plan is that there may not be a large enough buffer area around the pond to avoid disturbance of the birds. If possible it would be good to pull the proposed newly paved path and lawn area back from the northeast corner of the pond. In the buffer area there should be a plan to replant with appropriate vegetation and control for blackberries.
• I would like to see more distance between the newly paved path and the pond. To add to that, the boardwalk that borders the pond should be eliminated so as not to create more disturbance to the birds and wildlife. It seems that with the loss of vegetation around the pond there will be more views of the pond from the newly paved path, and that adding access around the pond completely might be too much disturbance. The portion of the boardwalk on the westside of the wetlands could be kept.
What is the timeline for this proposal? Will there be a public meeting, or other opportunities for feedback?
Thank you,

Pepper Trail
Rogue Valley Audubon Society