News from the Pacific Northwest
Columbia River tribes support lethal removal of predatory sea lions
PORTLAND, Ore. - Leaders of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission have expressed support for a plan to kill on a limited basis California sea lions that are preying on endangered Columbia River salmon at the Bonneville Dam fish ladder.
The National Marine Fisheries Service recommends approval of the plan, requested by three states and the Columbia River tribes: Nez Perce, Warm Springs, Umatilla and Yakama.
''Lack of action toward the real and immediate threat of sea lion predation is unacceptable,'' Commission Chairwoman Fidelia Andy, Yakama, said in a press release.
''We refuse to allow Columbia River spring chinook to be driven into extinction as the Lake Washington steelhead were in the 1990s ... Salmon has always been the lifeblood to our tribal culture. Our tribes have and always will be here to fight for their survival.''
The states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington requested permission for limited lethal removal of the sea lions after attempts to deter them through hazing demonstrated little success. State and tribal fisheries managers estimate the lower Columbia River sea lion population to be approaching 2,000.
The National Marine Fisheries Service estimates the coastal California sea lion population to be more than 300,000, up from 50,000 in the early 1970s.
Spokane joins Colville, state in partnership to boost water supplies
OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Spokane Tribe of Indians has joined a partnership that will provide more water for irrigation in the Columbia River Basin and support stream flows for endangered salmon.
Other partners are The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Washington state.
Colville and Spokane agree to release 132,500 acre feet of water each year from Lake Roosevelt behind Grand Coulee Dam to irrigators of 10,000 acres east of Moses Lake. Those irrigators now rely on a groundwater aquifer that has been dropping an average of 7 feet per year for decades. Loss of irrigation water in the area served by the dropping aquifer could cost the agricultural region $600 million a year in revenue and the elimination of 7,500 jobs, according to the state.
In exchange, Spokane would receive annual payments of $2.25 million and Colville would receive $3.8 million the first year and $3.6 million in subsequent years for economic development and to mitigate the environmental and recreational impacts of the water release, which would lower the lake level about 1.5 feet.
Stream flows for salmon would be improved by the release of additional water during the critical late-summer period on the river, according to the state.
''Grand Coulee Dam and Lake Roosevelt inundate our boundary rivers and other lands within the Spokane Reservation,'' Spokane Chairman Richard Sherwood said in a press release. ''This partnership with the state of Washington recognizes our interests and respects our culture. Until now, we have borne the burden that resulted from the storage and use of the Columbia River on our lands without any recognition of our legitimate stake in this resource.''
New chairman, council members for Lummi Nation
LUMMI, Wash. - Former Lummi chairman Henry Cagey was returned to the tribal council Jan. 26 and elected chairman by his council colleagues Feb. 4.
In the election in January, Cagey received 65.34 percent of the vote to defeat Chairwoman Evelyn Jefferson in her reelection bid.
Ted Solomon defeated William Jones Sr., the vice chairman, with 63.18 percent of the vote. James Scott Sr. was elected with 59.31 percent of the vote over Timothy Ballew II. Gordon Adams edged by Timothy Ballew Sr. with 55.3 percent of the vote to win a council position.
For Position H, Candice Wilson was the sole incumbent reelected, with 64.13 percent of the vote over Elden Hillaire.
On Feb. 4, the 11-member council elected Cagey chairman; Adams, vice chairman, and Council member James Wilson, secretary. Council member Nadine Wilbur was reelected treasurer.
Outgoing chairwoman Jefferson's tenure was a busy one. In 2007, the Silver Reef Hotel and Spa was completed and Lummi hosted the Intertribal Canoe Journey, which included Lummi's largest public potlatch in 70 years.
Kalispel Fire Department included in latest round of FEMA grants
SEATTLE - The Kalispel Fire Department will receive $12,471 for operations and safety needs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.
All told, FEMA awarded $1.24 million in grants to fire departments in Washington State; the largest grant was for $463,140 to Whatcom County Fire Protection District No. 21 for operations and safety. Seven departments received grants.
Nationwide, more than $490 million was expected to be awarded to fire departments and emergency medical service organizations.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant program helps fire departments and emergency medical service organizations purchase or receive training, conduct first responder health and safety programs, and buy equipment and response vehicles.
From 2001 - '07, more than $3.3 billion in Assistance to Firefighters grants had been distributed, FEMA reported.
Jefferson, Lummi, named DSHS Indian Policy regional manager
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Julie Jefferson, Lummi, has been named regional manager of Indian Policy and Support Services for the state Department of Social and Health Services.
Jefferson's area of responsibility includes Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties. She will work closely with Lummi, Nooksack, Samish, Sauk-Suiattle Tribe, Stillaguamish, Swinomish, Tulalip and Upper Skagit, as well as various state agencies and other organizations.
''I am honored to be in this DSHS position, which advocates for Indian people and supports positive working relationships with tribes and DSHS administrations,'' Jefferson said in a press release.
Her background includes working with DSHS for the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe and the Lummi Indian Business Council. She has a bachelor's degree in law and diversity from Western Washington University.
''This education and work experience will be a tremendous asset for Ms. Jefferson as she embarks on this new career opportunity,'' said Colleen F. Cawston, director of the DSHS Office of Indian Policy and Support Services.
Richard Walker is a correspondent reporting from San Juan Island, Wash. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.