Author: eoconnell

New research shows broader implication of exempt wells

New research on a small creek in Mason County could shed light on how permit-exempt wells are impacting salmon and tribal treaty harvest rights. “This research shows that in order to make good land use and water resources decisions, local governments first need to find out how much water is actually available,” said Jeff Dickison, assistant natural resources director for the Squaxin Island Tribe. Permit-exempt wells had been a way for developers to access water without first determining whether water is available. Last fall the state Supreme Court required local governments, in recognition of senior water rights holders, to...

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State of Our Watersheds: Summer low flows are worsening as wells are added

The proliferation of exempt wells continues across the Lake Washington, Green and Puyallup river basins, despite evidence that salmon are being hurt. Between 2010 and 2014, nearly 500 new wells were dug across the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe’s area of interest, likely worsening already existing low water issues. Almost 600 miles of streams across the three watersheds have low flow issues during dry summer months. From the State of Our Watersheds Report, released last year by treaty tribes: Low streamflows are one of many factors that contribute to low productivity and abundance of Chinook and other salmon. Low flows reduce...

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What treaty tribes are saying about the Hirst decision

Treaty tribes in western Washington are concerned about efforts in the Washington state Legislature to overturn a recent state Supreme Court decision. Last fall the court ruled in Whatcom County v. Hirst that counties need to first check that water is available before issuing building permits. This decision simply ensures that counties understand their water resources and plan for growth accordingly. In doing so, local government can make sure that there is adequate water to support new development and also protect senior water rights holders such as farmers, cities and treaty tribes. Some development interests believe the court ruling...

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Native Nations Standing together for the Paris Climate Change Agreement

The following is a statement from The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Quinault Indian Nation, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Four Native Nations from across North America announced today that they will continue to uphold and support the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Quinault Indian Nation, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska have committed to aggressively address climate change in their respective homelands in response to the U.S. decision...

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Tribe searches for camas in disappearing prairie

For a few weeks this spring, members of the Squaxin Island Tribe fanned out across prairies in deep South Sound to gather camas. Camas is a traditional tribal food that grows in prairies across the region. The outings were organized by the Squaxin Island Tribe’s traditional garden program. After gathering camas, the participants learned to prepare the root of the plant from Elizabeth Campbell of the Spokane Tribe. “She’s going to come out and show us how to do a pit roast,” said Aleta Poste, the coordinator of the tribe’s garden program. Pit roasting is a traditional process to...

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  • Northwest Treaty Tribes is a service of Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

  • Northwest Treaty Tribes Magazine for Spring 2017 Available Now

  • Billy Frank Jr Memorial Edition of the NWIFC Magazine Available Here

  • Treaty Rights at Risk

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