Oral arguments in Squaxin Island Tribe v. Gregoire this Friday

This Friday, oral arguments will be heard in Squaxin Island Tribe v. Gregoire, a lawsuit the tribe filed last year to protect Johns Creek. For years the tribe has been urging the state to do the right thing and halt new well drilling in the Johns Creek basin.

Last year, the tribe asked the governor to step in, but she didn’t. Here’s the story from the time:

The Squaxin Island Tribe is appealing to Gov. Chris Gregoire the decision by the state Department of Ecology to reject a petition to protect Johns Creek. “Ecology’s inaction does further harm to our treaty-based fisheries,” said Andy Whitener, natural resources director for the Tribe. “Salmon recovery should not have to bear a disproportionate share of the fallout from tough economic times.”

This is the second time in two years that Ecology has rejected the Tribe’s request to protect Johns Creek, citing the need for study on the connection between ground and surface water in the Johns Creek watershed. The Tribe’s petitions were based on a state law that closes a watershed to new well drilling activity if not enough information exists to establish that water is legally available.

Here are the various court filings for this lawsuit. First, the tribe’s opening brief:

Then a response from Mason County:

Department of Ecology’s response:

Then, the tribe’s reply:

Tribe takes a close look at mushrooms and water quality

Squaxin Island natural resources staff, along with the Mason Conservation District, are exploring whether mushrooms can help fight water pollution in Puget Sound:

Mushrooms might help treat one of the most widespread causes of water pollution — fecal bacteria from human and livestock waste in stormwater runoff. And if it works, the system can be used to protect the rich shellfish heritage of Puget Sound.

The Squaxin Island Tribe is teaming up with Mason Conservation District and Fungi Perfecti to test how well the vegetative growth (mycelia) of fungi filters fecal coliform bacteria out of running water.

“Several field studies have demonstrated that mushroom mycelia can capture and remove bacteria in running water,” said John Konovsky, environmental program manager for the Squaxin Island Tribe. “The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe worked with Battelle Labratories on a large treatment system and found that fungi mycelia can reduce bacteria concentrations. We’re trying to figure out just how well it works on a smaller scale.”

Here is a King 5 report on the project: