Seattle Times: Tribes take salmon battle into state’s road culverts

The Seattle Times has a story about the tribes’ pursuit of speedier replacement of fish-blocking culverts:

More than 1,000 culverts between the Columbia River and British Columbia, most of them owned by the Washington Department of Transportation, are designed so poorly or in such ill repair that they block or limit access by fish to hundreds of miles of streams.

While the state slowly has been working to fix them, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez ruled for the first time in 2007 that treaty rights required it. He urged the state and tribes to agree on plans. But negotiations stalled after months of talks while the economy collapsed, sending both sides back to court.

For a weary tribal fisherman who has been at this as long as Frank, it all feels a bit too much like dithering.

“I’m 78 right now and still in the courtroom all day, still talking about fixing the salmon problem,” Frank said. “It never seems to get done, and we’re running out of time.”