Washington lagging on court order to clear fish passage barriers on state land

Removing barriers to fish passage has been a major project across Washington, but the state government is far behind on this critical work, according to the Seattle Times.

From the Times article:

Washington state is under a federal court order to fix hundreds of barriers built under state roads and highways that block access for migrating salmon and thus interfere with Washington tribes’ treaty-backed right to catch fish.

But it’s not clear how the state is going to come up with the estimated $2.4 billion it will take to correct more than 825 culverts — concrete pipes or steel structures that allow streams to flow under state roads and highways.

The state says it would need to fix an average 30 to 40 culverts a year by 2030, spending $310 million every biennium, to comply with the 2013 court injunction.

Private forest landowners have been working hard to ensure that barriers to fish passage on those lands are cleared. It’s been costly work, but very important in maintaining vital salmon populations. So far, more than 5,600 impediments have been removed to restore nearly 3,900 miles of historic fish habitat on private forestland.

Read more in the full article at the Seattle Times >>