Upper Tumalo Reservoir (Deschutes)

Reachcode: 17070301005246 | Area: 140.1 acres | Shoreline: 2.7 mi | View on Interactive Map

(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985).  Upper Tumalo Reservoir is a small irrigation impoundment constructed in 1913 by the Tumalo Irrigation District. Bull Creek Dam, an 82-foot high earthfill dam, impounds the seasonal runoff from a dry area on the east slope of the Cascades where the pines meet the junipers. The reservoir has a storage capacity of about 800 acre-feet, and water is released into the Tumalo Feed Canal to augment flow in Tumalo Creek. The reservoir does receive some recreational use, mainly by fishermen, but there are no facilities for visitors. However, in past years this was the site of much activity. Hatton (1980) reports that in the 1920s and 1930s Upper Tumalo Reservoir was a favorite ice skating "rink" for local residents. Throngs of people would drive from Bend to skate by the light of huge bonfires. In January 1926, Central Oregon's first ice hockey game was staged when the "Polars" and the "Arctics", teams consisting of men who had played in Europe, Alaska, Canada, and the midwestern United States, faced off before an enthusiastic crowd of 1500 spectators. On other occasions people skated to music from a radio which, using a juniper tree as an aerial stand, picked up a broadcast from the San Francisco Hotel.

The maximum depth of Upper Tumalo Reservoir is only 11 feet; thus the entire impoundment is shallow enough for macrophyte growth and vegetation covers the bottom. The concentration of minerals in the water is low; alkalinity is especially low; and the water is more acidic than average for central and eastern Oregon reservoirs. The concentration of phosphorus is a little below average, and the chlorophyl concentration is low. The water is sufficiently transparent that the bottom is everywhere visible. Based on the growth of macrophytes, the reservoir can be classified as mesotrophic, although the water chemistry characteristics would suggest more oligotrophic conditions. Net phytoplankton found in the sample collected on 7/20/82 include Dinobryon bavaricum, Desmidium quadratum, and Asterionella formosa. However, these species are not reliable indicators of trophic state.