Saving Salmon

Court Removes Manmade Barriers

Alexander Raths/

A legal challenge in Washington state may require spending nearly $2 billion to restore salmon habitat by removing barriers that block fish migration. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a 2013 ruling ordering the state to fix or replace hundreds of culverts that allow streams to pass beneath roads, but block the salmon.

Lorraine Loomis, chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, states, “This is a win for salmon, treaty rights and everyone that lives here.” The group represents 21 tribes in western Washington that challenged the state over the culverts in 2001, part of decades-long litigation over tribal fishing rights. She advises, “Fixing fish-blocking culverts under state roads will open up hundreds of miles of habitat and result in more salmon.”

This article appears in the October 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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