The Kitsap Sun published an article over the weekend on the possibility of a new round of court between treaty tribes and the state over fish blocking culverts:
Federal court battles between the state of Washington and Western Washington tribes — first over fish and then over shellfish — forever altered the management and economy of natural resources in this state.
Now, a third, equally monumental lawsuit is pending, as 19 tribes prepare for a courtroom debate over highway culverts that keep salmon from reaching their spawning grounds.
The state could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars — money that is not easy to find in these tough economic times. But state and federal biologists agree that fixing culverts would be a major step toward salmon restoration.
By the state’s count, more than 1,800 fish barriers associated with state highways block more than 3,000 miles of potential stream habitat. The Legislature has funded culvert replacement since 1991, but the pace of construction is such that it could take up to 100 years to fix the problems. And that does not include county roads, which are not part of the lawsuit.