Lorraine Loomis: Help treaty tribes with salmon recovery efforts

These salmon died because they were blocked by a barrier culvert. Photo from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Lorraine Loomis, the chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, calls on the state of Washington to drop its appeal in a treaty rights case and help tribes with salmon recovery efforts instead:
The state of Washington should end its long, failed history of denying tribal, treaty-reserved fishing rights and halt its appeal of a federal court ruling requiring repair of hundreds of salmon-blocking culverts under state roads.

Instead, the state should embrace the court’s ruling, roll up its sleeves and work with tribes to end the spiral to extinction in which the salmon and all of us are trapped.

The money, time and effort spent denying tribes their rights could be far better spent on salmon recovery. More salmon would mean more fishing, more jobs and healthier economies for everyone.

The appeal stems from Judge Ricardo Martinez’s 2013 ruling that failed state culverts violate tribal treaty rights because they reduce the number of salmon available for tribal harvest. Martinez gave the state 15 years to reopen 90 percent of the habitat blocked by its culverts in Western Washington. More than 800 state culverts thwart salmon access to more than 1,000 miles of good habitat and harm salmon at every stage of their life cycle. The state has been fixing them so slowly it would need more than 100 years to finish the job.

Get the Story:
Lorraine Loomis: State should stop fighting the tribes and help with salmon recovery (The Seattle Times 2/12)

Related Stories:
Washington fights tribal treaty rights decision before 9th Circuit (7/6)
Washington wants 9th Circuit to take up treaty fishing case (5/29)
Treaty tribes in Washington win major decision in fishing case (4/1)

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