Clover Island. Red dotted line indicates proposed restoration alternatives area. US Army Corps of Engineers photo.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Port of Kennewick (Port) are partnering on a feasibility study of ecosystem restoration along the Columbia River at Clover Island (River Mile 329), located in Kennewick, Wash. This project is currently in the scoping phase, and the Corps invites the public to submit ideas and comments regarding the restoration of the shoreline and shallow water habitat.
The purpose of this project is to improve aquatic and riparian habitat that is important to four salmonid species listed under the Endangered Species Act (upper Columbia River spring-run chinook salmon, upper Columbia River steelhead, middle Columbia River steelhead, and bull trout). Construction of McNary Lock and Dam (including federal levees) filled natural shallow-water habitat along the shoreline of Clover Island and removed riparian vegetation. Shallow-water habitats are critical to the foraging, resting and rearing of migrating juvenile salmonids. Riparian vegetation attracts food sources (insects) for juvenile salmon, and provides shade that cools water temperatures along the shoreline where juvenile salmon rest and feed as they migrate to the ocean. Restoration alternatives will be focused along the island’s outer edge as it faces the Columbia River (see dotted line in above graphic).
As part of the feasibility study process, the Corps is preparing a Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment (EA) that will identify and evaluate the effects of alternative plans. The study process and documents will be prepared to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and other applicable laws and regulations.
The scoping period of the study will run from Jan. 06, 2015, through Feb. 10, 2015. During this period, the public is encouraged to submit comments to the Corps regarding the scope of issues and alternatives to be addressed in the feasibility study. Comments can be submitted via e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by using U.S. Mail addressed to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
ATTN: Clover Island 1135
201 N. Third Ave.
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Preliminary Measures and Alternatives
The study is in the preliminary planning process and is seeking ideas and input from interested parties and stakeholders. The Corps and the Port of Kennewick have identified a number of measures that can be used as part of a recommended study. Measures include planting native vegetation along the shoreline, re-grading the slope of the island margins, introducing flows into the notch on the riverward side of the island, constructing veins out away from the island to temper flows and attract sediments, and the placement of large woody debris in the water along the edge of the island. As the planning process proceeds the Corps and the Port of Kennewick will incorporate ideas received during the scoping process and combine and evaluate these measures, eventually arriving at a preferred plan.
National Environmental Policy Act Compliance
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), is a law requiring federal agencies to objectively evaluate a range of alternatives for any potential federal action. Alternatives must include a “No Action Alternative,” which addresses the consequences of completing no federal action at the location. The NEPA process requires the agency to consider the environmental and social impacts of alternatives so that informed decisions are made with knowledge of potential environmental consequences. During the Clover Island 1135 Ecosystem Restoration Project, the Corps will prepare an integrated feasibility study and Environmental Assessment (EA) report.
This project was initiated under the Section 1135 authority of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, which allows the Corps to work with non-federal sponsors to restore degraded ecosystems where projects built by the Corps and other federal agencies have contributed to the degradation of the quality of the environment.