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Suit against Elwha hatchery tossed

February 18th, 2013 - 6:14am

(Tacoma) -- A federal suit against a plan to stock the Elwha river with hatchery fish has been thrown out of court.

But the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe has now decided it won't stock the river with non-native steelhead.

US District Court Judge Benjamin Settle last week tossed parts of a lawsuit filed by wild fish supporters who sued over the tribe's new hatchery built as part of the Elwha dam-removal project.

Settle said the suit is irrelevant because the tribe has since gotten permits from federal agencies to carry out its plans for the hatchery.

The tribe plans to use the hatchery to help returning native fish as the two dams on the river come out, both as supplements to the runs but also using the hatchery as a shelter when sediment levels are too high for the fish.

But the tribe has decided it now won't stock a non-native breed of steelhead in the river. Wild-fish supporters had argued putting non-native stocks in the river would harm the native runs.

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