Vernonia Millpond (Columbia)

Reachcode: 17100202004833 | Area: 32.3 acres | Shoreline: 0.9 mi | View on Interactive Map

(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985). Vernonia Millpond, as the name implies, is a man-made lake originally used for log storage. It is located in the northern part of the Coast Range adjacent to the city limits of Vernonia and was at one time the site of the Oregon-American Forest Products mill. Several decayed pilings are still present in the pond and remnants of the old sawmill stand on shore. There is no natural surface inflow or outflow to or from the pond; the storage level is maintained by pumping water in from the nearby Nehalem River. Thus, the drainage basin would have to be considered the entire Nehalem drainage above this point, a rugged region of forested slopes. The pond and surrounding land are within the urban growth boundary of Vernonia, and in the city's Comprehensive Plan this area is designated as a Light Industrial Zone. In spite of the fact that there are no facilities around the lake to attract the public, fishing is quite popular with local residents. Rainbow trout, catfish and bluegill are reportedly the favorites.

The pond is quite shallow throughout and is encircled by emergent macrophytes. The bathymetric map included here was constructed by the U. S. Geological Survey, with soundings made at a time when the water level was below normal and a great amount of brush was exposed. The water is very low in dissolved ions. Transparency is poor and the lake is apparently partially depleted of oxygen on occasion, events associated with eutrophic lakes. The chlorophyl and total phosphorus concentrations, however, are more indicative of mesotrophic conditions. Vernonia Millpond is completely encircled by a gravel road so that the entire shoreline is open and accessible to the public. As a resource the pond is important to the local citizenry, and the city of Vernonia encourages its maintenance as a recreation site and wildlife sanctuary.

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