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Ideas wanted for Clover Island shoreline restoration

Now is the time to throw out ideas on how to best improve Clover Island’s shoreline for fish and people.

The Army Corps of Engineers is accepting suggestions until Feb. 10 on how best to repair the man-made island near downtown Kennewick.

The suggestions will be taken into account as the Corps works with the Port of Kennewick to flesh out several possibilities for fixing each section of the island’s eroding edges.

Much of Clover Island is covered in concrete rubble and is being undercut, either eroding or sloughing off into the river. In recent years, the port finished an 863-foot walkway along the Columbia River near the new lighthouse and plaza.

The project involved removing tons of concrete dumped to protect against erosion and replacing it with more environmentally friendly trees, shrubs and chunks of basalt.

When the Corps built the levees to control flooding, they eliminated riparian and shallow water habitat. Officials believe they can restore about a half-mile of shoreline and about an acre of shallow water habitat.

That restoration would benefit upper Columbia River spring chinook salmon, upper and mid-Columbia River steelhead and bull trout — species either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

One proposal calls for continuing to grade and reshape the island’s north and east shorelines.

That would mean planting native vegetation similar to changes made near the lighthouse.

There’s also interest in the Corps trying to get river water flowing better along a notch on the north side of the island, possibly by adding a pipe to move water.

Right now, the water in the area gets hot and stagnant, said Tana Bader Inglima, the port’s director of governmental affairs and marketing.

Ultimately, the ideas will be analyzed based on their cost and benefit to fish, Bader Inglima said. The preferred plan for the restoration project may be picked this summer and could begin in 2017.

Because Clover Island is approved for the first phase of the federal program, it will get priority for funding the next phase, Bader Inglima said.

The Corps will cover the first $100,000 of a feasibility plan. After that, the Corps and port will split planning costs in half. The time that port employees spend on the project will count toward the port’s share, reducing its cash contribution to about $97,000.

For design and implementation, the Corps would pay 75 percent of the project, and the port would be responsible for the rest. The value of the port’s real estate will be included in that 25 percent.

A recent federal law change means that the Corps could spend up to $10 million on the project, Bader Inglima said. The earlier cap was $5 million.

The commission and the Corps would have to approve another agreement so the recommended project can be designed and built, Bader Inglima said.

Comments can be submitted to nepanww@usace.army.mil or to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ATTN: Clover Island 1135, 201 N. Third Ave., Walla Walla, WA 99362.

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