Shoreline facelift opens up development opportunities

Work on the north shoreline of Clover Island is finished after years of planning and labor.

And the project not only stabilizes and beautifies the Pasco-facing shoreline and enhances habitat and recreation, it also opens opportunities for continued economic development on the island.

“We’re so excited,” said Tana Bader Inglima, deputy chief executive officer of the Port of Kennewick, describing the project as a win for the port, its partners and the community.

The port owns most of the 16-acre Clover Island on the Columbia River. The island was about 160 acres before McNary Dam was built in the mid-1950s.

But slack water from the new dam flooded the island, save for its current footprint, which was created by piling up dirt to create higher ground. Back then, it was accepted practice for contractors to dump surplus cement there to stabilize and prevent erosion, Bader Inglima said.

But “over the years, the concrete eroded underneath so there were shelves and banks that were creating shadowed habitat for (fish that would prey on young salmon). It looked really ugly, it was a sterile shoreline,” Bader Inglima said. “We knew we could do better.”

The port has worked for years to stabilize the shoreline, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, and expand recreation opportunities and economic development. Those improvements range from infrastructure improvements on the island, to the new port office building that also houses Ice Harbor at the Marina, marina and boat launch upgrades, public artwork, and shoreline, habitat and recreation improvements to the west causeway. The north shoreline is another link in the chain.

The port secured federal funding for the north shoreline project through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and agreed to come up with a partial match. That match includes $1 million from the port’s coffers, $1 million from Benton County’s Rural County Capital Fund and $500,000 from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office’s Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account.

Bader Inglima said the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation were invaluable partners in the project, helping to advocate for funding and grant opportunities.

The north shoreline project construction started in 2021 and took time because of limitations of working in the water. Roughly a half-mile of shoreline and nearly an acre of shallow water habitat were restored, with 8,692 plants added, including nearly 340 trees.

The project also included adding 1,210 linear feet of pathway along the shoreline, plus scenic viewpoints, benches and education panels.

The Corps of Engineers hired TDX Power Services LLC as the project contractor.

A public celebration of the shoreline project was held May 12.

The Port of Kennewick held a ribbon-cutting event on May 12 to celebrate the shoreline improvements. (Courtesy Port of Kennewick)

Along with the habitat and recreation benefits, the completion of the shoreline work means four port-owned parcels upland on the island can be developed. The city of Kennewick’s shoreline master plan required the shoreline to be stabilized and improved before additional development could happen.

Mark Blotz, general manager and partner at Clover Island Inn, said the work on the island over the last several years has been transformational.

“It’s made such a difference for the hotel. It’s allowed me to bring in the national bands and community events that we do, and really showcase the island,” he said.

Clover Island Inn plays host to the Thunder on the Island community concert series on Wednesday evenings during the summer, as well as a separate summer concert series and other events year-round.

Blotz said that since he started working at Clover Island Inn in 2004, “it’s like night and day.”

“It’s really nice to see” the improvements made, he said. “It’s nice to see the difference.”

  • Done Reading?

    Take me back to the top

Latest News


* indicates required


West Richland Area Chamber of Commerce Networking Luncheon

October 4 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Toastmasters – Women of Influence TM Club

October 4 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

First Thursday ArtWalk

October 5 @ 3:00 pm - 8:00 pm