A new grant will help transform Kennewick's asphalt-covered Clover Island into a friendlier place for people and fish.
The Port of Kennewick is getting a $500,000 state grant to continue its work with the Army Corps of Engineers to improve pedestrian amenities there and to restore its Columbia River shoreline to support migrating salmon.
The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office announced the $12.6 million grants Monday.
The port is matching the grant with $3.5 million in local and federal money. It expects to begin designing the project this year, with construction starting in early 2020.
The project is the second phase of a series designed to transform Clover Island, which already features a lighthouse, into a visitor destination that complements Kennewick and nearby Pasco.
The 16-acre natural island between the cable and blue bridges was visited by members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805 but is now significantly smaller after McNary Dam was built.
The new project will include two new interpretive displays, more than an acre of added landscaping and nearly a quarter mile of new walkway for pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, joggers and others.
About 1.4 acres of shoreline on the Pasco-facing side of the river will see the hard rock surface replaced with plants and other habitat more favored by young salmon.
The port previously used the state grants to improve habitat along the west causeway to Clover Island, to upgrade the marina and to improve the public boat launch.
The state grant is funded from lease money the Department of Natural Resources' receives from 2.6 million acres of state-owned tidelands and shorelines. The account supports projects that improve public access to shorelines and improve the natural health of those lands.