State Officials Think Bateman Island Causeway Removal Would Be “Cool”
Others, not so much. After a flurry of discussion earlier this year, the subject of removing the causeway, or land path that joins Bateman Island to the shoreline is again on the table.
According to environmentalists and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), removing the strip of land that allows public access would reportedly lower water temperatures near the Yakima River Delta area where it joins the Columbia. That would also reportedly improve fish migration and water flow. It would truly make Bateman an island not connected to the shoreline.
However, it would also remove any access to the popular area, except by boat. According to Richland city officials, it was discussed again at city council meetings.
Besides removing access to the island, many residents say removing the causeway to make it truly and island would destroy one of the better fishing spots in the Mid-Columbia. Citizens who spoke at the meeting say it should be put to a vote, instead of DFW and other agencies just having their way without any public input.
DFW Biologist Mike Ritter was quoted as saying the idea of teardown would be "cool."
They say there needs to be a plan to replace the causeway to allow people and possibly vehicle access to the island. The DFW data would take several years to see if it's accurate, if the causeway were to be taken out. Opponents also say the swimming area created by the causeway would be gone, and possibly the increased currents could create an unsafe area. Some reports indicate the water speed would increase as much as 4-plus miles per hour if the causeway were removed, depending upon seasonal water flow.
The opponents also say there's no way to determine if the new water flow would create undertows or currents unsafe for swimmers.