Herald reports on EPA grants to tribes

The Daily Herald of Everett reported on the $2 million in grants awarded to tribes by the EPA, describing how the Stillaguamish and Tulalip tribes plan to use the money:

Fisheries experts for the Stillaguamish Tribe plan to use their money to conduct an inventory of culverts throughout the watersheds upon which the tribe has historically relied. The tribe is among nearly two dozen tribes that in 2007 won a lawsuit against the state for its failure to modify culverts that block fish from migrating to and from their spawning grounds. State leaders say they’re fixing those culverts, but tribal leaders say the work is happening too slowly.

Even if the state fixed all of its culverts, counties, towns and private landowners all own culverts that could block fish if they’re not examined and repaired as necessary.

According to the EPA, the Stillaguamish Tribe’s inventory is the first step in creating a priority list for fixing or replacing damaged culverts.

The tribe also plans to use the grant money to align its salmon habitat work with the broader agenda of the Puget Sound Partnership.

Tulalip tribal leaders plan to use their grant money to learn the extent to which juvenile salmon rely on the Whidbey Basin. A portion of the money will also go toward salmon projects in the Snohomish Basin.