Cedar River Deal Moves on to Full Council
Ruby de Luna
THE SETTLEMENT RESOLVES A LEGAL DISPUTE OVER FISHING AND HUNTING RIGHTS NEAR THE CEDAR RIVER WATERSHED, SEATTLE'S MAIN WATER SOURCE. FOR YEARS THE MUCKLESHOOT TRIBE CONTENDED THAT SEATTLE'S WATERFLOW MANAGEMENT WASN'T ADEQUATE TO PROTECT DWINDLING SALMON RUNS. THE SETTLEMENT PUTS A CAP ON HOW MUCH WATER THE CITY COULD DRAW ON A GIVEN DAY-124 MILLION GALLONS. COMMITTEE CHAIR RICHARD CONLIN SAYS IT ALSO GIVES THE TRIBE A SAY ON THE WATERSHED'S FUTURE.
CONLIN: "What it does is simply bring to the table the Muckleshoot nation as a party to that mitigation agreement. And I think from my perspective at least, sort of a fundamental principle of democratic decision-making that when you've got an interested party, having them at the table is a good thing."
ON TUESDAY THE COMMITTEE VOTED TO TRANSFER MORE THAN 12-HUNDRED ACRES OF LAND TO THE TRIBE. IT ALSO AUTHORIZED 18 MILLION DOLLARS FOR RESEARCH AND MANAGEMENT OF THE WATERSHED. THE MONEY WILL ALSO HELP RESTART THE TRIBE'S EFFORTS TO BUILD A SALMON HATCHERY. THE SETTLEMENT ALSO MEANS THE TRIBE HAS ACCESS TO HUNTING GROUNDS NEAR THE RIVER. JOHN HALLADAY, THE CITY'S TRIBAL LIAISON, DOESN'T EXPECT HUNTING TO RESUME RIGHT AWAY.
HALLADAY: "The tribal government, just as the state government would, would do an analysis, would pass legislation, enacting regulations that they say they feel there is a potential for surplus there and a potential for harvest and their members or the people who have licenses would have to abide by those regulations."
THAT MAY PROVIDE SOME RELIEF TO CITY EMPLOYEES WHO WORRY ABOUT THEIR SAFETY WHILE WORKING NEAR THE WATERSHED. ALSO, PUBLIC UTILITIES IS DRAFTING SAFETY PRACTICES TO PROTECT WORKERS. THE SETTLEMENT NOW GOES TO THE FULL COUNCIL IN JUNE FOR FINAL APPROVAL. I'M RUBY DE LUNA, KUOW NEWS.
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