December 10, 2004 No. 94

A WASHINGTON APPEALS COURT HAS UPHELD TO VOTER-APPROVED INITIATIVES that ban most animal trapping and the use of dogs to hunt bears and
cougars. (AP/Seattle Times, Dec. 10) The three-judge panel of the state Court
of Appeals in Tacoma this week rejected arguments by the pro-hunting
Citizens for Responsible Wildlife Management that the initiatives
violated the state's public-trust doctrine by causing the state to relinquish
control over a public resource. Since I-655 was passed in 1996, the
Legislature has amended the law to allow dog-assisted hunting to provide
for public safety. The trapping ban, I-713, approved in 2000, remains in

THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS SAID THURSDAY IT WOULD BEGIN DEEPENING 15 miles of the Columbia River ship channel this spring. (AP/Seattle Times,
Dec. 10) The Corps plans to deepen the 103-mile channel from the
Pacific Ocean to Portland by three feet -- from a current depth of 40 feet -
to allow larger, more efficient ships to reach the Port of Portland.
The recently approved federal budget includes $9 million to begin the
$150 million project.

PUGET SOUND ENERGY HAS AGREED TO SET STRICTER LIMITS ON HOW MUCH water will be released from two hydroelectric dams on the Baker River to
protect salmon. (Seattle Times, Dec. 8) The power company will operate the
dams to avoid wide fluctuation in river levels, reducing high water
levels so salmon don't lay eggs in areas that could go dry, and preventing
low levels that can trap young salmon in small pools of water. PSE also
agreed to pay for expanding a fish hatchery, transporting fish around
the dams, improving wildlife habitat, redeveloping a resort on Baker
Lake, and protecting tribal cultural sites. Two dozen state, federal,
environmental, and tribal organizations signed off on the package, which
PSE said would cost about $360 million over the next 30 years.

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT WAS ASKED THIS WEEK TO DECIDE WHETHER STATES can restrict direct sales to consumers by out-of-state wineries. (Seattle
Post-Intelligencer, Dec. 8) If the court rules against Depression-era
laws in 24 states that require out-of-state wines to be funneled through
in-state distributors and then to retailers, including Washington, it
could open up nationwide Internet and mail-order sales for Washington
wineries. However, lawyers for New York and Michigan, whose laws are
being challenged before the Supreme Court, argued the 21st Amendment, which
ended Prohibition in 1933, gives states the explicit right to regulate
the sale of alcohol. Washington is the country's second-largest wine
producer. A decision is not expected until next summer.

Columbia River has found 81 non-native species of aquatic life. (Greenwire,
Dec. 8) Many of the species were introduced intentionally in the late
1800s and early 1900s, while others apparently arrived via ballast water
from international ships or on smaller recreational boats. Over the
past decade, researchers have discovered a new, non-native animal species
in the river on an average of once every five months.

THE STATE SALMON RECOVERY FUNDING BOARD THIS WEEK ANNOUNCED THAT organizations in 27 counties across the state would receive $26.7 million to
protect and restore salmon habit in the most recent round of grants.
(Columbia Basin Bulletin, Dec. 10) The funding board has awarded $214.7
million for 591 projects since 2000. For a complete list of projects, go
to www.iac.wa.gov <http://www.iac.wa.gov>.



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