Court Ruling Mandates Culvert Improvements in Washington

In the state of Washington, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals delivered what some are calling the "most important ruling on treaty fishing rights since 1974."
September 20, 2016, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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US Fish and Wildlife Service - Recovery Act Team

“[T]he 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided the state [of Washington] must do more toward fixing its hundreds of culverts,” reports Daniel Jack Chasan.

“The court affirmed a lower court decision ordering the state to replace its worst salmon-killing culverts that block passage upstream for the fish. A unanimous three-judge panel held that the culverts violate federal treaties signed with Washington tribes,” adds Chasan.

The court decided the state had drastically overstated the estimated cost of replacing the culverts—at $1.9 billion. Chasan also notes that the case has legal underpinnings that go back over a century. The decision could also impact the future of four lower Snake River Dams.

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Published on Monday, September 19, 2016 in Crosscut
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