Delta Ponds is a City of Eugene Park that encompasses 150 acres of wetlands, trails, bridges, raised walkways, and interpretive signs. The area was originally a side channel of the Willamette River, but it was drastically altered by development, flood control management, and land use practices starting in the 1800s. The current configuration of peninsulas, ponds, and islands resulted from gravel mining in the area during the 1950s and 1960s as a part of the construction of nearby I-105 and other roads. As a result of this mining, the ponds were cut off from the river.
The City of Eugene acquired the property in the 1970s. From then until 2004 the ponds were largely unmanaged and became overrun by invasive plant species while still providing important habitat for birds and other animals. From 2004 to 2012 extensive work was done to clear invasive species, build paths and bridges, and most importantly, re-connect the ponds to the Willamette River. This was finally accomplished in 2011, and now Delta Ponds are quickly regaining their niche as shelter for juvenile Chinook Salmon and habitat for various other species, including beaver, otters and numerous birds.
This oasis in the middle of Eugene is a great place to go for bird watching throughout the year. There are always herons and many songbirds. In the winter there are abundant waterfowl, including buffleheads, American wigeons, northern shovelers, and American coots. The Delta Ponds trails also connect to the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Trail System, allowing access by bike from a wide swathe of Eugene and Springfield.