Tribes End Objections to Water Settlementby Associated Press
Capital Press, November 4, 2005
LEWISTON, Idaho -- The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes are ending their legal objections to a massive water rights settlement between the state of Idaho and the Nez Perce Tribe.
The Southern Idaho tribes reached an agreement with the state last week ensuring they will be consulted if minimum stream flow standards are altered, and will be included in discussions about fish habitat restoration projects.
The agreement allows tribal leaders to get behind the settlement that they've long said will help threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.
"We are happy we can now lend our full support to implementation of this agreement," said Bill Bacon, lead attorney for the Shoshone-Bannock at Fort Hall.
The tribe was not a party to the agreement between the Nez Perce, Idaho and the federal government that resolves the Nez Perce claims to water rights in the Snake River basin.
The Nez Perce made the water rights claims based on treaties with the federal government that allow them to fish for salmon and steelhead. Last year, they agreed to drop most of their claims in exchange for more than 11,000 acres of land, $90 million, a management stake in two fish hatcheries, promises from the state to provide minimum flows in hundreds of streams, and several other conservation measures. The settlement also sets up a trust fund to pay for fish habitat restoration.
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