A causeway to link the Isla del Sol development to the mainland is a step closer after FERC recently affirmed Ameren’s plan to authorize construction.

A causeway to link the Isla del Sol development to the mainland is a step closer after FERC recently affirmed Ameren’s plan to authorize construction.

Jeff Green, Ameren shoreline management supervisor, said he expects Ameren to issue a permit to Rockwood Bank, owner of the development, for construction within 30 days, with actual work to begin this fall. Ameren’s request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was to authorize a public road and causeway between the five-acre Isla del Sol and the end of W-12 on the North Shore.

The Isla Del Sol condominium development, at the 3.5 mile marker, is not accessible by land. It is served by a ferry service that runs to and from the shoreline at the end of W-12 in Miller County. During the summer, the ferry makes as many as 60 trips per day to get residents and visitors to and from the 90 condominium units. During the off-season, the ferry runs five to six times per day.

The causeway will extend 300 feet from the shoreline to the island. 

The proposed road and causeway, which will be built by Rockwood Bank and maintained by the Isla del Sol Community Improvement District (CID), is considered a necessity that will provide safe and reliable access to residents and visitor on the island. 

Past attempts to build a bridge or causeway between the shoreline and the island failed. The primary concern was who would be responsible for the structure and ongoing maintenance. That concern was resolved with the formation of a Community Improvement District and the establishment of a special road fund set up by the developers/owners along with an agreement relieving the county of future liability.

The bank also worked with nearby property owners regarding potential traffic issues and other issues associated with the development. The development was known as Atlantis Island prior to being taken over by Rockwood Bank.

Rockwood Bank completed all the necessary steps for the FERC application to be filed. An environmental assessment and extensive review by federal and state resource agencies ― the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, U.S. Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri State Historic Preservation Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Missouri Department of Natural Resources ― was completed. Any concerns raised by resource agencies were addressed in the reports. 


Fishing impact

Construction of the causeway is expected to change the dynamics of fishing in the area.

Greg Stoner, fisheries management biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, said the area between the island and the shore features a “saddle” where on either side the water is up to 60 feet deep. The apex of the “saddle” is about 13 feet deep.

The unique underwater structure creates a good fishing area, especially for anglers.

“It’s a very good fishing spot because the wind creates a current across the saddle, which attracts forage fish and then game fish,” Stoner explained. “It’s a unique structure well known by fishermen.”

When the causeway is finished, that flow of water will be stopped and each side of the causeway will be rocked. A couple of flumes through the new road may provide some water movement, but nothing like the “saddle” effect currently.

The group to lose out, he said, will be the anglers. Will the crappie population be affected? Will it affect other fish that feed there? Stoner says probably not. Even after the area is filled in, there will still be food in the area to attract fish.