Washington Tribes Win Ruling In Salmon Case

Thursday, August 23, 2007
Filed Under: Environment | Law  
Indianz.Com. In Print.

The state of Washington has a duty to ensure salmon can access spawning grounds, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.

Under the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot, the state has an obligation to protect salmon habitat, Judge Ricardo Martinez said. "?[T]his Court finds that the Treaties do impose a duty upon the State to refrain from building or maintaining culverts in such a manner as to block the passage of fish upstream or down, to or from the Tribes’ usual and accustomed fishing places," the 12-page decision stated.

"This duty arises directly from the right of taking fish that was assured to the Tribes in the Treaties, and is necessary to fulfill the promises made to the Tribes regarding the extent of that right," Martinez continued.

The Tulalip Tribes and other treaty tribes say the state is endangering salmon by failing to maintain water culverts.

Get the Story:
Culvert ruling backs tribes (The Seattle Times 8/23)
Tribes win ruling on salmon (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 8/23)
Tribes win federal suit against state over salmon (The Everett Herald 8/23)

Get the Decision:
US v. Washington (August 22, 2007)