State attorney general appeals culvert ruling

May 28, 2013

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson is appealing a federal ruling ordering the state to fix culverts that block salmon passages.

Ferguson says that the state on Tuesday filed a notice of appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the March 29 U.S. District Court ruling by Judge Ricardo S. Martinez.

The Martinez ruling is part of a decades-old legal battle tied to treaties dating back to the mid-1800s. Tribes say the state has blocked salmon passage and contributed to the decline of fish harvests.

Culverts are often built under roadways to allow streams to flow under them.

State officials have said the ruling could cost billions of dollars.

Martinez ordered the state to fix approximately 180 culverts on recreational lands by 2016 and more than 800 culverts under the Department of Transportation by 2030.