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Sunday, October 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Appeals court: Washington must fix salmon-blocking culverts

In this 2008 photo provided by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, NWIFC Chairman Billy Frank Jr. surveys a state-owned culvert near the North Fork of the Nooksack River in northwest Washington. The commission says the culvert blocks salmon passage.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
In this 2008 photo provided by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, NWIFC Chairman Billy Frank Jr. surveys a state-owned culvert near the North Fork of the Nooksack River in northwest Washington. The commission says the culvert blocks salmon passage. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
FISHERIES – Federal appeals judges say the state of Washington has violated the treaty rights of tribes to fish by building and maintaining large pipes that allow streams to pass beneath roads but also block migrating salmon, according to the Associated Press.

A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on today affirmed a lower court ruling ordering Washington to replace hundreds of culverts – at a cost that officials peg at $2.4 billion.

The case stems from the landmark 1974 Boldt decision, which affirmed the rights of 21 Washington tribes to half the salmon harvest. The tribes, backed by the U.S. Justice Department, sued the state in 2001, trying to force the state to replace the culverts with structures that better allow fish to pass.

A federal judge in Seattle held that fish-blocking culverts contribute to diminished salmon runs and in 2013 ordered the state to replace hundreds of culverts.

 



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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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