Author: eoconnell

Understanding fisheries through hands-on experience

Students at the Muckleshoot Indian School are combining fisheries science with hands-on experience by hanging a gillnet. “We teach a fairly straightforward fisheries science class,” said Ben Price, a teacher at the Muckleshoot school. “We cover the life cycle and ecology of salmon, the usual type of thing you would expect to find in a high school science class.” The class also covers the legal side of fishing, including the Treaty of Medicine Creek and U.S. v. Washington (the Boldt decision). “This class shows us that we should have respect for the salmon,” said Avery Brown, a student at...

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“We don’t need to fix Hirst”

The 20 member tribes of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission support the Legislature’s decision not to hastily overturn the state Supreme Court decision in Whatcom County v. Hirst. Hirst is good law. It simply requires local governments to ensure there is enough water for new development before they authorize a building permit. In other words, it forces us to balance our checkbook before we make a purchase. “We don’t need to ‘fix’ Hirst. We need to protect the senior water rights of tribes, municipalities, farmers, and the environment by helping local government to implement the court’s decision,” said Lorraine...

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Keeping Deschutes coho from disappearing

The unexpected result of a habitat study has inspired a new coho supplementation program in the Deschutes River. Several years ago, the Squaxin Island Tribe attempted to conduct snorkel surveys in the Deschutes to determine where coho were feeding and rearing. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough young coho to count. “Only during one out of three years was there a return of coho to the Deschutes that was sustainable,” said Scott Steltzner, environmental program manager for the tribe. After discovering there were too few coho to count, the tribe began annual releases of 100,000 young coho into the river. Tribal...

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Sharp: Hirst decision is part of the solution

Last week the state legislature adjourned without passing a $4 billion capital budget because leaders in the Majority Coalition Caucus couldn’t agree on how to reform the state’s permit-exempt well process. Last fall, the state Supreme Court decided in Whatcom County v. Hirst that local governments need to find out if water is actually available before issuing building permits. Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Indian Nation, recently wrote that the Hirst decision should be part of the solution, not something to be fixed: The solution is not to change state laws and violate treaty law to enable still...

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Examining Seal Diet to Learn Impact on Salmon

Collecting seal scat may be the best way to see how many salmon are being eaten by marine mammals. The Nisqually Indian Tribe is investigating seal diets in South Sound following the rapid increase of the harbor seal population the past few decades. In late 2016, tribal researchers began observing marine mammal predation on winter chum salmon on the lower Nisqually River. Tribal staff are working with the Salish Sea Marine Survival Study to collect scat at three sites, including the mouth of the Nisqually River. Samples are sent to a lab to measure genetic content. The impacts of...

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    • Northwest Treaty Tribes is a service of
      Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
    • Northwest Treaty Tribes Magazine for Summer 2017 Available Now
    • Billy Frank Jr Memorial Edition of the NWIFC Magazine Available Here
    • Treaty Rights at Risk

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