Tulalips sue over loss of salmon

By Kate Reardon

Herald Writer

TULALIP — The Tulalip Tribes has filed claims for $36 million over the loss of treaty rights when more than one million salmon and trout were allegedly lost during a 45-year period after dams were built on the Sultan River.

Before a lawsuit can be filed against the city of Everett, Snohomish County and the Snohomish County PUD, the agencies have 60 days to respond to the claims received by the agencies on Monday.

Officials from the three agencies said Monday they still need to review the claims but would be willing to meet with the tribes.

Everett City Attorney Mark Soine said one outcome to the case could mean higher water rates.

"If the city pays out any money on this, it will have an impact on water rates not only for the folks who live in the city of Everett, but for the folks who live outside the city (and buy city water). Who else is going to pay for it?"

The hope is that the issue can be resolved through meetings that the tribes requested be scheduled within the next two to three weeks, said John McCoy, governmental affairs director for the tribes.

The Tulalips are seeking relief for damages for the loss of rights to catch, use and harvest fish in the Puget Sound area.

"We want to resolve this issue," McCoy said. "We know we’ve lost salmon resources, and we just want this property right resolved."

The claims stem from earlier talks among the tribes, Everett and the PUD. In 1980, the PUD paid the tribes $1 million for destruction of fish runs for a 50-year period beginning in 1961. The parties were not able to come to agreement on the pre-1961 fish claims.

In the early 1980s, the Tulalips submitted claims to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Department of Justice for review and prosecution. After years of studies, BIA took no action on behalf of the tribes, McCoy said.

The tribes believes it is time to act on its own behalf, he said. The tribes have hired the Holland and Hart law firm of Denver, which has been successful in prosecuting similar treaty-based fishing claims for the Nez Perce Tribe against utilities in Idaho and this state.

When the diversion dams were built to glean water and later electricity, no fish ladders were installed so migratory fish have not been able to make their way up river as they once had. Based on a study, the tribes estimate that it lost as many as 1.5 million fish from its tribal catch during the years of 1916 to 1961, McCoy said.

Bruce Jones, attorney with Newton-Kight law firm in Everett, worked for the city during the 1980 discussions with the tribes.

From his past experiences, he said he believes the tribes claim has no merit because the city built the dams with permission from the state.

"Any time you’re touching the water in Everett, you are in to fisheries issues and certainly into issues which the Tulalips have a voice so you have to work things out with them," he said.

"Personally, I think it’s not a claim for which the city should pay damages. I believe the city did everything it needed to do and wasn’t pulling any fast ones on anybody."

You can call Herald Writer Kate Reardon at 425-339-3455 or send e-mail to reardon@ >

heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Marysville
1 pedestrian dead after car crash on I-5 south of Marysville

Around 5 p.m., a car crashed into a pedestrian along I-5. Investigators believed a man had parked on the shoulder to refuel.

FILE - A person walks near the Legislative Building, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington's redistricting commission failed to meet its deadline and on Tuesday, Nov. 16, kicked the job of creating new political maps to the state Supreme Court. The bipartisan commission had a deadline of 11:59 p.m. Monday to approve new boundaries for congressional and legislative districts following the 2020 census. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Do Snohomish County lawmakers want a 2020 presidential rematch?

The Herald contacted seven Republican legislators representing parts of Snohomish County about their primary choice. Five did not respond.

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. Pfizer will spend about $43 billion to buy Seagen and broaden its reach into cancer treatments, the pharmaceutical giant said. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, File)
Pfizer backs out of Everett manufacturing plant after $43B Seagen deal

Pfizer finalized the acquisition of the Bothell-based cancer drug developer in December.

Photo provided by 
Economic Alliance
Economic Alliance presented one of the Washington Rising Stem Awards to Katie Larios, a senior at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Mountlake Terrace High School senior wins state STEM award

Katie Larios was honored at an Economic Alliance gathering: “A champion for other young women of color in STEM.”

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

Kathy Purviance-Snow poses for a photo in her computer lab at Snohomish High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Snohomish, WA. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
To ban or embrace ChatGPT? Local teachers fight AI with AI — or don’t

“It has fundamentally changed my teaching in really stressful and exciting ways,” an EvCC teacher said. At all levels of education, ChatGPT poses a tricky question.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

Firefighters respond to a report of a smoke alarm going off in the 100 block of West Main Street in Monroe on Monday morning. Fire officials confirmed the fire was coming from living quarters above Good Brewing Co. (Provided by Snohomish County Regional Fire and Rescue).
Fire damages apartment above Monroe brewery

Good Brewing Co. on West Main Street was listed as permanently closed Monday.

Tom Ceurvorst picks up his food order at Big Chicken on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Free ice cream Wednesday for Shaq’s birthday at Big Chicken in Mukilteo

Sign a card for the NBA Hall of Famer and restaurant founder. Shaquille O’Neal turns 52 on March 6.

Flowers for slain trooper Chris Gadd begin to collect outside Washington State Patrol District 7 Headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Police: Lynnwood man consumed cannabis, beer before crash into trooper

Trooper Chris Gadd, 27, was stopped along I-5 when he was hit and killed early Saturday. Troopers suspect Raul Benitez Santana was impaired.

Madi Humphries, 9, Rose Austin, 13, and Eirene Ritting, 8, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No grades, no teachers: Inside a Bothell school run by student vote

Each day at The Clearwater School, 60 students choose their own lessons. It’s one vote per person, whether you’re staff or student.

SonShine Preschool inside First Baptist Church Monroe is pictured Friday, March 1, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
SonShine preschool in Monroe to close at the end of the year

The preschool, operated by First Baptist Church, served kids for 25 years. School leadership did not explain the reason behind the closure.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.