State loses culvert case appeal


Sculpin Enterprises
The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case brought the Steven Treaty Tribes against the State of Washington was released today. The decision was 4-4 with Justice Kennedy recusing himself from this case. When there is a tie, the lower court ruling, for the tribes in this case, carries the day but the ruling does not become legal precedent. You can read more about the decision here: The lower courts had ordered the state to complete the culvert repairs/reengineering by 2030. The state estimates the cost at $2.4 billion.
What are your opinions on the impact of this decision on the survival of wild salmon and steelhead stocks?

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Active Member
It’s not going to fix every ill that plagues the anadromous fish. It is a necessary step. Also an important step, for a lot of reasons. I approve.
Waste of time, its not going to fix anything.We might see a very small increase if anything at all.
if we are serious about fixing the runs its time to address the elephant in the room that you all want to ignore.


Saved by the buoyancy of citrus
I'm for it. Any help we can give our salmon stocks if a good thing.
Check this one off and move on to the next item on the long list of things hurting the salmon and steelhead populations!

Old Man

Just an Old Man
-What is a Steelhead Salmon? Never heard of one. And all the Steelhead they net they get to eat. What's up with that? Eating all the Steelhead they net they get to keep. While we who fish for them can only eat the hatchery kind. No wonder all the Wild Steelhead numbers are declining.


Active Member
Yes, we should take the opportunity to restore as much habitat as possible. It's sad that it takes a court order to even put it on the table. My concern has always been (and still is) that until we stop killing every last salmonid we theorize that we can, no additional spawners will be made available to use the restored habitat. Sure, the productivity of the pathetic spawning populations may improve slightly, but if it does, that will only mean more fish in totes and cargo holds, because management will PLAN to harvest to the same escapements. That's essentially an assurance that while this may create more harvestable salmon, it won't recover spawning, wild salmon populations in any meaningful way. If they planned to increase escapement goals so that the restored habitat could be fully utilized, we might really get somewhere.

I just don't think the will to reduce fisheries impacts is anywhere near strong enough to allow for meaningful recovery. Doesn't mean we shouldn't take steps to improve the habitat, though I must interject that a 10% reduction in fishing quotas, across the board, could achieve the perceived benefit here much more quickly and at much less cost to taxpayers.

Rob Allen

Active Member
Thinking about just the habitat issue. I'd like to see some study on the issue before spending a bunch of money. I want the productivity of our habitats analyzed then do targeted habitat restoration on the portions of habitat that we find are underperforming. Our habitat work in the past has been like Britains night time bombing raids of Berlin. I think we should have more of the laser guided missile strategy.
This battle has been going on for over 20 years. Washington has already been improving some culverts during most of that time. I wonder how much was spent on legal fees by both the tribes and the state during those 20 years. Probably a good sized down payment toward what must be spent now...

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
The state fought it not only for financial reasons but because the AG thought that the tribes would gain enormous power over nearly every facet of life in Washington if it was lost. As it was decided I don't think the precedent was set although the state lost the case.

Rob McKenna explained it well on KUOW a few weeks back. He wand the present AG were fighting it but not because of the fish. There were bigger issues regarding power. I'm sure someone here will explain it better.

It can't really be bad for fish or even other habitat. That part is good.

Go Sox,
Expanding population, increase in pollution, increase in fishing pressure by all sides, all are a part of the problem. While addressing the culvert is a step in the direction, it looks to me to be a journey of a thousand miles if we do not address the other issues.
This is a win for improving habitat, but not sure the benefit to fish (or select few who will be harvesting any surplus of fish) per dollar spent is the most efficient use of state resources. This feels like we spent the entire remodel budget for the house and only get to finish one bathroom.

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