Author: eoconnell

Supreme Court will hear appeal in the culvert case

Washington treaty Indian tribes are confident that their treaty fishing rights will be upheld in light of today’s announcement that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal by the state of Washington in the culvert case. Federal courts have so far held that tribal treaty fishing rights require the state to allow salmon passage under state roads. The courts have also ruled that treaty-reserved fishing rights include the right to have salmon protected so that they are available for harvest. “Instead of continuing to appeal the culvert case, tribes believe the state should use the momentum it has...

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Treaty tribes on wells: “It’s about fairness”

Tribal leaders testified Tuesday that treaty fishing rights are diminished when salmon don’t have enough water. The testimony was given to the state House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee about a new proposal to solve the permit-exempt wells problem. In many parts of Washington State, permit-exempt wells are still being dug despite little understanding of their impact on water resources. The proposal is a response to the Whatcom County v. Hirst decision, which required counties to ensure water is available before they issued building permits. You can watch the testimony of the tribal leaders below: Farron McCloud, chair of...

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Ancient shrimp pot design inspires experiment

For the past three years, Squaxin Island tribal member Josh Mason has been making traditional fishing gear based on ancient artifacts. In a recent experiment with a cedar shrimp pot he found the old version every bit as effective as today’s model. “I was so excited, I really wanted to give the pot a try,” Mason said. He asked his cousin Daniel Kuntz, a commercial crabber, to give him a hand. “I bugged Dan and told him that we have to fish this thing,” he said. They secured the pot to one of Kuntz’s crab pots and let it...

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Streamside forest replaces invasive weeds

The Squaxin Island Tribe is replacing salmon-killing invasive weeds with a streamside forest. The tribe recently planted an acre of new forest along Skookum Creek. Over the last five years the tribe and Mason County Conservation District effectively controlled invasive knotweed that was rapidly spreading throughout the watershed. “It is almost impossible to find any knotweed left in the watershed,” said Andy Whitener, natural resources director for the tribe. “We’re replacing it with a forest that can help salmon.” Knotweed is a fast-spreading and adaptive invasive species mostly found along stream corridors. Controlling it across an entire watershed is...

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Logjams will help heal estuary in South Sound

This fall the Squaxin Island Tribe and the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group are building nine logjams at the mouth of Goldsborough Creek in Shelton. The logjams will capture sediment and help restore the creek’s estuary, which has been downcutting since the early 1990s. “The logjams at the mouth of the creek and in the harbor will restore the equilibrium that has been disturbed since a ferry dock was removed decades ago,” said Scott Steltzner, environmental program manager for the tribe. The downcutting hasn’t just limited salmon habitat but has threatened underground utility lines. “Over the next decade...

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

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