Seattle City Council
6/12/2006 2:26:00 PM
Phyllis Shulman (206) 684-8805
CEDAR RIVER: MUCKLESHOOTS & CITY OF SEATTLE AGREE
Complex agreement balances water security, tribal rights and environmental protection
SEATTLE –Today, a series of historic issues between the Muckleshoot Tribe and the City of Seattle are resolved with the Council’s approval for funding for the Cedar River Settlement Agreement. This agreement enhances the protection of natural resources in Seattle’s Cedar River Watershed—an important goal shared by both sides.
“This Agreement marks a great moment for the region,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin, chair of the Council’s committee on the environment. “It strengthens protection for fish, establishes a greater certainty for the region’s water supply, supports exercise of tribal rights reserved by treaties and creates a cooperative and collaborative framework for the future. We will now all go forward with the goal of preserving the watershed’s natural habitats.”
In 2000, the City of Seattle was issued permits to operate its water supply and hydroelectric facilities on the Cedar River without incurring liability under the federal Endangered Species Act. The City agreed to maintain specific water levels for the benefit of fish, plus a number of other conservation measures.
In 2003, the Muckleshoot Tribe challenged those federal permits. The City, the Tribe and the federal agencies worked to mediate the dispute. Mediation addressed additional concerns between the Tribe and the City and resolved issues related to the rights the Tribe reserved under existing treaties and their effect on the City’s operation of fish runs. Committed to creating a cooperative long-term relationship, both the City and the Tribe have now formally agreed on this settlement which includes:
- Guaranteed water levels for fish (in perpetuity);
- Certainty for Cedar River water supply and system operations;
- Protocols supporting the exercise of rights the Tribe reserved under treaties;
- Plan for ten year wildlife research program;
- Protection of water quality for the region and continuing water conservation efforts;
- Creating of City-Tribe framework to resolve future issues.