"Washington State Must Fix Salmon-Blocking Pipes: Appeals Court"

"Washington state must repair road culverts that are blocking salmon from swimming to spawning areas because the pipes violate fishing rights protected by tribal treaties, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday.

The ruling marks a major victory for 21 tribes joined by the U.S. government that sued Washington state in 2001, arguing that hundreds of culverts block salmon from more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of streams in western Washington.

"The Indians did not understand the Treaties to promise that they would have access to their usual and accustomed fishing places, but with a qualification that would allow the government to diminish or destroy the fish runs," Judge William Fletcher, of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote in a 59-page opinion on Monday."

Eric M. Johnson reports for Reuters June 27, 2016.

Source: Reuters, 06/28/2016