Based upon a new US Army Corps of Engineers study, the most notable part of the plan would involve the removal of the causeway, or dirt walkway used to access the island. The causeway can be seen in this Google maps image.

   The plan would make the island only accessible by boat

For years, the Corps and fish and environmental advocates have sought to find ways to improve salmon and other fish habitats in the area, according to these groups, and the study, the Yakima River Delta is not a suitable environment with the causeway.

The causeway, made of dirt and rock, was built around in the late 1940s to allow access to the island, which historians say was used for a bit by a family for farming.  It has remained since then.  The causeway was closed to vehicle traffic, but bikers and walkers still use it to cross over.

Now, the Corps Study suggests taking out the causeway will improve water flows through the Delta, 'scour' out stagnant water that's a breeding ground for predatory fish and harmful plants, and cool the water temperatures. Because of the stagnation, the Corps Study says temps in the area can reach as high as 86 degrees.

The report says the warmer stagnant water has invited predatory fish, such as small-mouth bass, who prey on salmon making their way to the ocean in springtime.

The report also looks at removing part of the causeway but says even that would still result in pockets of stagnant water.

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The report does not include plans for any bridge or other method of reconnecting the shore with Bateman Island. To read over the draft report, click here. 

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