State must fix hundreds of fish-blocking culverts

Jul 5, 2015 3:33 PM by News Staff

SEATTLE (AP) - 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 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 needed to correct more than 825 culverts - concrete pipes or steel structures that allow streams to flow under roads and highways.

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

Last week, the Legislature approved millions to correct fish barriers statewide. The 16-year transportation revenue bill includes $300 million for fish passage. The House still needs to pass two Senate-approved bills to complete the transportation package.


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