Environment | Opinion

Billy Frank: Federal government responsible for treaty rights

"I've been talking a lot lately about the connection between salmon, habitat and treaty rights. That connection is pretty simple. No habitat equals no salmon; no salmon equals no treaty rights; and no treaty rights equals a breach of contract between the tribes and U.S. government.

It is the U.S. government – not the state of Washington – that has the responsibility to recover salmon in Western Washington. It's also up to the federal government to protect and uphold our treaty rights.

We believe that one of the best ways to do that is by coordinating federal agencies and programs designed to protect salmon and their habitat.

A good place to start is with the dikes and levees that allow construction in floodplains that really shouldn't be developed. They call them floodplains for a reason. When you build in a floodplain, you are going to get flooded. It's only a question of how often and how bad the flooding will be. Dikes and levees lead to straight rivers with high-speed flows and little to no salmon habitat. They destroy a river's ability to spread out and move naturally along its path, which makes flooding worse, leading to even more damage."

Get the Story:
Billy Frank Jr.: Every bit of salmon habitat is important (The Auburn Reporter 9/8)

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