Our Work With Tribes
CELP has a long history of collaborations with Washington’s tribes by supporting tribal water rights in legal challenges over the years and working alongside them on water policy advocacy. Our partnership with tribes is vital to our mission, and it continues to be a priority in all our work. Our current board has several tribal members, and several other board members work for or closely with tribes. We include representatives from serval tribes on our board advisory committees as well.
CELP is committed to respecting and supporting Tribal sovereignty, co-management responsibilities, authorities, and rights, that foster a healthy, productive environment for all. We specifically work to support tribal treaty and reserve water rights by protecting instream flows set by rule from impairment and by working with our tribal partners to make Washington Water Law more equitable and sustainable.
Legislature Funds Nooksak River Basin Adjudication
In support of Lummi Nation and the Nooksack Indian Tribe, CELP wrote a letter to the Washington Department of Ecology urging them to select the Nooksack River for the next basin to be adjudicated. We also lobbied the state legislature in support of the Governor’s proposed operating budget (SB 5092), which included the funding needed critical to starting the adjudication process.
In April 2021, the State Legislature appropriated funds for Ecology to begin the adjudication process. As stated in response by Chairman Ross Cline Sr. of the Nooksack Tribe, “We thank the Governor and legislators; this is a good step and is the only legal path we have in Washington to make sure there’s enough water in the Nooksack River for salmon, farming, and people. Climate change is upon us and the sooner we get started, the sooner we can find solutions for water.”
CELP Supports Quinault Indian Nation and the Chehalis tribe in opposing a potential Chehalis River dam project.
CELP supports the Quinault Indian Nation and the Chehalis tribe in protecting and restoring salmon runs on the Chehalis by opposing the proposed Chehalis River Dam Project.