There are two recent pieces of welcome news affecting the Pacific Northwest’s beleaguered salmon populations — battered by dams, habitat loss, timid government agencies and global warming.

In one, a federal court in Seattle found that 150-year-old treaties guaranteeing Native American tribes a permanent right to fish for salmon had been gravely compromised by hundreds of roadway culverts and pipelines that blocked the fish from reaching traditional spawning grounds.

The original treaties did not envision “such a cynical and disingenuous promise,” Judge William Fletcher, of the federal appeals court for the Ninth Circuit, ruled last week. He upheld a lower court’s order requiring Washington State to replace hundreds of culverts with bridges that restore the natural flow of the salmon runs.

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