In the most recent edition of the Northwest Treaty Tribes magazine, the tribes in western Washington celebrated the return of the first salmon and the U.S. Army Corps decision not to allow a coal terminal on tribal fishing grounds at Cherry Point.

Tribes also are working to learn more about the life cycle of steelhead and the effects of climate change.

From the story about the Cherry Point decision:

“This is a historic victory for treaty rights and the constitution,” said Lummi Nation Chairman Tim Ballew II. “We are pleased to see that the Corps has honored the treaty and the constitution by providing a decision that recognizes the terminal’s impacts to our fishing rights.”

The Gateway Pacific Terminal would have been the largest coal export terminal in the country. Its proposed Cherry Point location, known in the tribal language as Xwe’chie’Xen, was a Lummi tribal village and traditional reef net fishing site for hundreds of years. Area tribes and environmental groups opposed the deepwater terminal because it would have destroyed the fishing resource, degraded habitat, increased train traffic and coal dust pollution, and brought with it the possibility of spills and derailment.

“The impact of a coal terminal on our treaty fishing rights would be severe, irreparable and impossible to mitigate,” Ballew said.

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