United States District Court For The Western District Of Washington
698 F. Supp. 1504, 1988 U.S. Dist. Decision
July 05, 1988, Decided
Attorney for Plaintiffs: Robert L. Otsea, Jr., Laura Ann Lavi, Office of the Tribal Attorney, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Auburn, Washington, Phillip E. Katzen, Alexandra Harmon, Evergreen Legal Services, Native American Project, Seattle, Washington. Attorneys for Defendants: Susan Barnes, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Seattle, Washington, Attorney for Colonel Philip L. Hall, John O. Marsh, United States Department of the Army Corps of Engineers. G. Richard Hill, John McCullough, Foster, Pepper & Shefelman, Seattle, Washington, Attorneys for Elliott Bay Marina Group. Judith B. Barbour, Seattle City Attorney, Seattle, Washington, Attorney for City of Seattle. Mair, Abercrombie, Camiel & Rummonds, Seattle, Washington, Attorneys for David M. Abercrombie. Amicus - Mason D. Morisset, Terence L. Thatcher, Pirtle, Morisset, Schlosser & Ayer, Seattle, Washington, Attorneys for Tulalip Tribes of Washington. Intervenor - Richard S. White, Helsell Fetterman, Martin Todd, Seattle, Washington, Attorneys for Homeowners.
Thomas S. Zilly, United States District Judge.
ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the motion of plaintiffs Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Suquamish Indian Tribe ("the Tribes") for a preliminary injunction enjoining the construction of a 1200-slip marina, the Elliott Bay Small Craft Harbor (the "Marina"), pending trial of the merits in this case. The Tribes contend that a preliminary injunction is necessary because construction of the Marina would eliminate a portion of one of their usual and accustomed fishing areas in Elliott Bay and thus would interfere with their treaty right to fish at the Marina site.
The Tribes seek an order specifically (1) restraining the defendant partnership Elliott Bay Marina Group ("Marina Group") from building the Marina and from dredging any material or placing any material into Elliott Bay; and (2) requiring defendants the United States Department of the Army Corps of Engineers, Col. Philip L. Hall (District Engineer for the Seattle District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers), John O. Marsh (Secretary of the Army) (collectively referred to herein as "the Corps" or "the federal defendants"), and the City of Seattle ("the City") to suspend any permit or other permission that would allow the Marina Group to proceed with construction or operation of the Marina, and enjoining these defendants from taking any action to permit or allow any further construction.1
Having reviewed the motion, together with all documents and materials
filed in support and in opposition, having heard oral argument and being
fully advised, the Court has concluded that a preliminary injunction should
issue. The Court entered an order granting a preliminary injunction on
June 30, 1988. This order provides the parties with the reasons for the
Court‘s decision. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d).
A. The Marina Project and the Claimed Impact of the Loss to the Tribes’ Usual and Accustomed Fishing AreaThe defendant Marina Group proposes to construct a 1200-slip boat moorage basin at the base of Magnolia Bluff in Seattle, occupying approximately 78 acres on the north side of Elliott Bay in Puget Sound. Final Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS"), at 28. The project site is about 1000 feet west of the existing Pier 91 and fronts about 2800 feet of shoreline. Final EIS, at iii; Record of Decision ("ROD"), at 3.
Elliott Bay is located within two harvest management catch reporting areas designated by the Washington State Department of Fisheries -- Areas 10 (Outer Elliott Bay) and 10A (Inner Elliott Bay). ROD, at 43; Final EIS, at 140; Technical Appendix O, at 0-4. The present boundary between the two areas is a straight line from Pier 91 to Duwamish Head. The proposed Marina site is next to the eastern boundary of Area 10 (Outer Elliott Bay), between Four Mile Rock and Pier 91. ROD, at 38; Final EIS, at 212.
The Muckleshoot and Suquamish Tribes identify the area between Four Mile Rock and Pier 91 as a prime chinook fishing area. The Tribes indicate that they fish for chinook in the kelp beds, as close to the shoreline as possible. Final EIS, at 212. The Tribes also identify the area from West Point to Pier 91 as a productive fishing site. Final EIS, at 212.
The Tribes claim that Area 10 is a usual and accustomed fishing place, reserved for their access and use under the Treaty of Point Elliott, 12 Stat. 927 (1855), and that construction of the Marina, by occupying a portion of Area 10 and eliminating a part of their usual and accustomed fishing places, would irrevocably deny them their federally-protected right of access to this area. The Muckleshoot Tribe indicates that it first notified the developer of its opposition to the Marina in 1983. Administrative Record, at E-371.
The Corps, in its Record of Decision ("ROD"), states that the Marina would eliminate about 130 acres of the area between West Point and Pier 91, about 70 acres of which the Tribes presently use for net retrieval of fish. Final EIS, at 212. According to the Corps, the area to be eliminated represents about 6% of the chinook fishing area from West Point to Pier 91, and about 27% of the prime chinook fishing area between Four Mile Rock and Pier 91. ROD, at 38; Final EIS, at 212, Figure 35. In contrast, the Tribes estimate a loss of over 40% of the fishing area between Four Mile Rock and Pier 91. ROD, Appendix A (Comments on the Final EIS and the District Engineer‘s Responses), at 10-13; Hatch Declaration, para. 36; see also Technical Appendix O, at 0-22 to 0-30.
The Final EIS states that the Tribes’ salmon fishing is limited to a few areas within the combined usual and accustomed fishing places, for numerous reasons, including fishing conditions and interference from traffic in Puget Sound. Final EIS, at 136. The Corps identifies seven major areas of concentrated commercial fishing activity by the Tribes in central Puget Sound, including the area from West Point to Pier 91. Final EIS, at 136; see also Amended Record of Decision ("AROD"), at 50-51. Three of these Puget Sound fishing areas are in Elliott Bay: the area offshore Magnolia Bluff between Pier 91 and Four Mile Rock, where the Marina is to be built; the mouth of the Duwamish; and the area between Duwamish Head and Alki Point. However, the Tribes contend that difficulties with the latter two areas make the first area more important to their fishing. See AROD, at 27; Hatch Declaration, paras. 32-33. The Tribes contend that the area between Pier 91 and Four Mile Rock is "by far the most productive" of the three areas, that fishing in this area is important to their livelihood, subsistence, and culture, and that there are few places other than Elliott Bay where they can now fish for chinook salmon because of conservation and allocation concerns. Hatch Declaration, para. 25. The Corps recognizes that "available fishing places have shrunk through development of Seattle‘s shoreline. Due to this, the Four Mile Rock to Pier 91 area may well have importance now that it did not have at treaty times." AROD, at 49.
The Corps estimates that the proposed development will cause the Tribes
financial loss in the amount of $ 9,335 in lost annual harvest and a $
3,745 minimum average annual increase in gear loss (as a result of increased
boat traffic). Final EIS, at 214-16. Another estimate by the Corps provides
a range of loss from $ 25,000 to $ 40,000 Administrative Record, at H-110.
The Tribes calculate the possible loss to Indian fishers as a result of
the development to be over $ 255,000 annually (based on a partial accounting
of impacts). Meyer Declaration, para. 4.
B. History of the Permit ProcessThe Marina Group began applying for permits from the City of Seattle and the United States Army Corps of Engineers2 in 1983. The entire process has been extensive in time and in efforts to involve all interested parties. See, e.g., Final EIS, at 269; Appendix Q, Public and Agency Review.
On May 19, 1983, the Marina Group applied to the Corps for a permit under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, 33 U.S.C. § 403, and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1977, 33 U.S.C. § 1344, to develop a small craft harbor and marina for approximately 1200 boats. ROD, at 3. The primary purpose and benefit of the Marina would be to meet a documented need for moorage space in King County, a need which is expected to increase during the next decade. Final EIS, at 6, 23 et seq. On June 6, 1983, the Seattle District of the Army Corps of Engineers issued an initial Public Notice of Application for Permit. Final EIS, at 269; ROD, at 3-4.3
After holding meetings and receiving public and agency comments, on June 1, 1984, the Corps issued a revised public notice reflecting a modified proposal. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS") under the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") was published in October 1984.
In light of comments received on the revised proposal from the concerned public, the Tribes, and environmental reviewing agencies, the project was again modified and a new public notice issued on August 15, 1986. ROD, at 4. The NEPA Final EIS was published in January 1987. On July 24, 1987, the Corps issued the Record of Decision and permit for the proposed Marina. By this time, the Corps had held additional meetings and discussions and reviewed a substantial amount of documentation and comments. The ROD explains the District Engineer’s reasoning, summarizes public comment and his responses, and sets forth his conclusions.
The permit included special permit conditions ("SPCs") to mitigate some impacts of the Marina on the Tribes‘ treaty fishing rights. ROD, at 38-40; AROD, at 1-4 (text of SPCs). Some of the conditions allowed the Tribes to fish under specific circumstances within the Marina. For example, SPC "a" required the Marina Group to provide at least two set net locations within the Marina for the Tribes and SPC "d" allowed the Tribes to attach nets to the outside of the breakwater. ROD, at 38-39. The District Engineer determined that the positive aspects of the project far outweighed the negative aspects and that, considering the mitigation measures in the ROD, there would be no abrogation of Indian treaty fishing rights. ROD, at 50.
On July 28, 1987, the Muckleshoot Tribe filed a lawsuit, Muckleshoot v. Hall, No. C87-1013C, concerning issuance of the permit, and on August 20, 1987, the Tribe filed a motion for preliminary injunction. The Suquamish Tribe intervened in that lawsuit. On August 31, 1987, the federal defendants suspended the Marina permit to allow further public comment on the mitigation measures required by the SPCs that were not previously available for public comment, and for discussion concerning the "related controversy" and lawsuit. AROD, at 1.
On September 4, 1987 the Corps issued a public notice to allow comment on the permit conditions. AROD, at 1. The Tribes and the Department of the Interior objected to the special conditions for specific reasons well documented in the record. The Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, stated, "meaningful mitigation to offset the significant loss of usual and accustomed fishing area can not be achieved." AROD, at 7; see also AROD, at 7-10, 16, 18.
After careful consideration and discussion of the material before the Corps, the District Engineer concluded:
On March 16, 1988, the Corps reinstated the permit, deleting several of the special conditions and modifying others. See AROD, at 36 (explaining Corps‘ reasons for changes and deletions).
On March 25, 1988, the Muckleshoot and Suquamish Tribes filed this lawsuit.
The Tribes then brought this motion for preliminary injunction.
C. Opposition of Federal AgenciesIn addition to the Tribes’ objection, the ROD and AROD reflect serious opposition by the United States Department of the Interior (the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Fish and Wildlife Service) and the United States Department of Commerce (the National Marine Fisheries Service).
Following the publication of the Final EIS, on January 23, 1987, the Bureau of Indian Affairs noted its "substantial concerns about the treatment of Indian treaty fishing rights in the FEIS" and stated: "By authorizing a loss of a portion of a usual and accustomed fishing area, the Corps would be destroying treaty fishing rights at that particular portion of the fishing area." Hickey Declaration, Ex. 15. The Department of the Interior, Office of Environmental Project Review, in forwarding this letter to the District Engineer, pointed out "the serious jurisdictional issue of treaty fishing rights, which are protected by this Department for the Tribes." Hickey Declaration, Ex. 15.
The Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, submitted objections on September 15, 1986, and recommended that the permit be withheld:
The National Marine Fisheries Service has responsibilities pertaining to the protection of marine, estuarine, and anadromous commercial and recreational living resources and the habitat sustaining these resources. Declaration of Hickey, Ex. 10 (letter of National Marine Fisheries Service). In a letter to the District Engineer dated July 22, 1987, this agency stated:
The National Marine Fisheries Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and
Bureau of Indian Affairs, due to their significant expertise in their respective
fields of Indian affairs, fish or marine resources, are well able to evaluate
the potential loss to the Tribes. The Court finds the views of these federal
D. Interest of HomeownersAlso interested in the development of the Marina are homeowners whose property is on or near the edge of Magnolia Bluff. The area has had numerous major landslides that have left several homes at the crest of the bluff at risk and have repeatedly caused breaks in a trunk sewer line located at the base of the bluff. Final EIS, at 44. The Marina construction includes the placement of 500,000 cubic yards of fill at the toe of the bluff, which would stabilize the area. The homeowners filed a motion to intervene in the present lawsuit, emphasizing the urgency of their claims. After the hearing on this motion for a preliminary injunction, and after considering all materials submitted in favor of and in opposition to the motion to intervene, the Court granted the homeowners‘ motion to intervene. The Court has considered the homeowners’ memorandum opposing the preliminary injunction.
II. STANDARD FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
The basic function of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo pending a determination of the action on the merits. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Comm‘n v. National Football League, 634 F.2d 1197, 1200 (9th Cir. 1980). To obtain a preliminary injunction,
The Tribes claim that they will be successful at trial on two theories:
(1) construction of the Marina will deny the Tribes their treaty right
of access to a usual and accustomed fishing area; and (2) the EIS prepared
by the federal defendants is inadequate because it fails to discuss, analyze
and evaluate (a) mitigation measures and (b) the cumulative impacts of
the Marina proposal.
III. TREATY FISHING RIGHTS
A. Probable Success on the MeritsThe treaty fishing right of the plaintiff Tribes is established in article V of the Treaty of Point Elliott, 12 Stat. 927 (1855), which provides:1. The Marina Site is Within The Tribes’ Usual and Accustomed Fishing Grounds.
The defendants contend that the Tribes have not shown they have a treaty right to take fish from the Marina site. However, throughout the administrative record, the Corps refers to the Marina site as a tribal usual and accustomed fishing ground or area. The Final EIS concludes:
The issue presented in this case is whether the defendants can eliminate
a part of the Tribes’ usual and accustomed fishing ground (and their right
of access to that ground) under the Treaty of Point Elliott and cases construing
that right, without an act of Congress. In considering this issue, the
Court has reviewed materials submitted outside the administrative record,
in addition to the record. See No Oilport! v. Carter, 520 F. Supp.
334, 346 (W.D. Wash. 1981).
The cases discussed by the parties emphasize a broad protection for treaty fishing rights. See, e.g. Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 679, 61 L. Ed. 2d at 841-42. The following principles in these cases directly govern the Court‘s decision here.2. The Treaty Provides the Tribes a Right of Taking Fish.
By treaty, the Tribes granted rights to the citizens of the United States and reserved rights to themselves, including the right to take fish from their off-reservation usual and accustomed fishing places in common with other citizens. United States v. Winans, 198 U.S. 371, 381-82, 49 L. Ed. 1089, 1092, 25 S. Ct. 662 (1905). The Tribes’ right to take fish is a property right, protected under the fifth amendment. See, e.g., Menominee Tribe of Indians v. United States, 391 U.S. 404, 20 L. Ed. 2d 697, 702 n.12, 703, 88 S. Ct. 1705 (1968) [hereinafter Menominee Tribe ].
The treaty must be interpreted in the sense in which its words would have been understood by the Indians. Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 676, 61 L. Ed. 2d at 839.
The United States has a fiduciary duty and "moral obligations of the highest responsibility and trust" to protect the Indians‘ treaty rights. Seminole Nation v. United States, 316 U.S. 286, 297, 86 L. Ed. 1480, 1490, 62 S. Ct. 1049 (1942).
The right to take fish at all usual and accustomed fishing places may not be abrogated without specific and express Congressional authority. Although the State may not qualify the right, it has authority under its police power to regulate the manner of fishing, the size of the take, the restriction of commercial fishing, and the like, in the interest of conservation. Puyallup Tribe v. Washington Game Dept., 391 U.S. 392, 398, 20 L. Ed. 2d 689, 693-94, 88 S. Ct. 1725 (1968) [hereinafter Puyallup I ].
The right to take fish at all usual and accustomed fishing places has
a "geographic" aspect and a "fair share" aspect. The Tribes’ right to take
a fair share of fish in common with other citizens does not displace their
right of access to fishing places. United States v. Oregon,
718 F.2d 299, 304 & n.6 (9th Cir. 1983) (citing Puyallup I,
391 U.S. at 398, 20 L. Ed. 2d at 693-94, and Fishing Vessel,
443 U.S. at 667, 61 L. Ed. 2d at 834).
Article VI, cl. 2 of the United States Constitution provides that all treaties made under the authority of the United States "shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby . . . ." United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312, 330 (W.D.Wash. 1974) [hereinafter Boldt I ], aff‘d, 520 F.2d 676 (9th Cir. 1975), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 1086, 47 L. Ed. 2d 97, 96 S. Ct. 877 (1976), substantially aff’d sub nom. Washington v. Washington State Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel Ass‘n, 443 U.S. 658, 61 L. Ed. 2d 823, 99 S. Ct. 3055 (1979).3. The Treaty Fishing Right Is A Property Right Which May Not be Taken Without an Act of Congress.
The treaty secures a "right of taking fish." Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 674, 61 L. Ed. 2d at 838. Further, this right of taking fish is reserved at all usual and accustomed grounds. Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 674, 61 L. Ed. 2d at 838; Boldt I, 384 F. Supp. at 332. For purposes of this case, the Tribes have established from the evidence and the defendants concede that the proposed Marina will occupy the Tribes’ usual and accustomed fishing grounds. The Tribes contend that the defendants‘ taking their fishing ground in these circumstances is impermissible without an act of Congress. In footnote 22 of their memorandum, they state:
In Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 676, 61 L. Ed. 2d at 839, the Court recognized that the treaty should not be construed by the technical meaning of its words, but in the sense in which the words would naturally be understood by the Indians. See also Boldt I, 384 F. Supp. at 334. The treaty is essentially a contract between two sovereign nations, the Indians and the United States, and the intention of the parties governs its interpretation. Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 675, 61 L. Ed. 2d at 839. The Court in Fishing Vessel recognized that access to the Indians‘ ancient fishing grounds is protected by the treaty. The Court said:
As a result of substantial litigation concerning the nature and extent of these treaty rights, e.g., Puyallup I, 391 U.S. 392, 20 L. Ed. 2d 689, 88 S. Ct. 1725 (1968); Washington Game Dept. v. Puyallup Tribe, 414 U.S. 44, 38 L. Ed. 2d 254, 94 S. Ct. 330 (1973); Puyallup Tribe v. Washington Game Dept., 433 U.S. 165, 53 L. Ed. 2d 667, 97 S. Ct. 2616 (1977); Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. 658, 61 L. Ed. 2d 823, 99 S. Ct. 3055 (1979); Boldt I, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D.Wash. 1974), the courts have approved the States’ power to regulate off-reservation fishing activities of treaty tribe members "only to the extent necessary to protect the fishery resource." Boldt I, 384 F. Supp. at 401. Regulation of the time and manner of fishing, the size of the take, and the restriction of commercial fishing are all appropriate if necessary for conservation of the fish. Puyallup I, 391 U.S. at 398, 402 n.14, 20 L. Ed. 2d at 693-94, 696 n.14. Indeed, various tribes have voluntarily accepted restrictions on fishing rights. United States v. Oregon, 718 F.2d 299, 304 (9th Cir. 1983). Apart from allowing States to limit fishing rights for purposes of conservation, however, no court has permitted the actual taking of access or taking of fishing grounds without an act of Congress.
In United States v. Winans, 198 U.S. 371, 381-82, 49 L. Ed. 1089, 1092, 25 S. Ct. 662 (1905), the respondent had acquired title to property on the Columbia River and proposed using a "fish wheel" -- a device which would catch salmon by the ton and destroy the Indians‘ right to fish from one of their "usual and accustomed" places. The Winans Court upheld the Indians’ right of access to respondent‘s private property and remanded the case for the lower court to devise relief that would protect the Indians from total exclusion from the fishery. Winans, 198 U.S. at 384, 49 L. Ed. at 1089.
The Court held:
In Menominee Tribe, 391 U.S. at 411 n.12, 412, 20 L. Ed. 2d at 702 n.12, 703 (1968) (citing Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, 187 U.S. 553, 564-67, 47 L. Ed. 299, 305-07, 23 S. Ct. 216 (1903)), the Court confirmed that the treaty right is a property right which may not be abrogated without specific and express Congressional authority. See also Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation v. Alexander, 440 F. Supp. 553, 555 (D. Or. 1977) [hereinafter Umatilla ]; Boldt I, 384 F. Supp. at 337-38 (stating that the treaty fishing right "may be limited or modified in any particular or to any extent by or with authority of Congress", and noting that Congress had never, as of that time, "exercised its prerogative to either limit or abolish Indian treaty right fishing"). Absent explicit statutory language, the United States Supreme Court has been "extremely reluctant to find congressional abrogation of treaty rights . . . ." Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 690, 61 L. Ed. 2d at 849. If Congress does authorize taking the tribes’ treaty rights, that loss must be compensated under the fifth amendment. Menominee Tribe, 391 U.S. at 407, 413, 20 L. Ed. 2d at 700 & n.4, 703; Whitefoot v. United States, 155 Ct. Cl. 127, 293 F.2d 658, 659 & n.1 (Ct. Cl. 1961), cert. denied, 369 U.S. 818, 7 L. Ed. 2d 784, 82 S. Ct. 829 (1962)
In Umatilla, 440 F. Supp. at 553, cited by the Fish and Wildlife Service, ROD, at 8, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, ROD, at 11, the Army Corps of Engineers planned to dam Catherine Creek for flood control, irrigation and recreation purposes. The Umatilla Tribes sought to enjoin the project, claiming that it would infringe on their fishing rights.7 The evidence showed that the Indians ranged along Catherine Creek and fished in holes that were likely to harbor fish, and that the size, shape and location of those holes altered as the bed of the creek was changed by natural erosion and rockfall. However,
Some of these fishing stations on the creek would have been inundated by the reservoir once the dam was created. The Umatilla court found that the flooding would deprive the Indians of their right to occupy the fishing stations and their right of access to the stations. The government had proposed a mitigation program to trap and haul chinook above the dam, but the Umatilla court rejected it: "Whatever the merits of the government‘s mitigation program, the treaty right to fish at all usual and accustomed stations will be destroyed as to those stations within the reservoir." Umatilla, 440 F. Supp. at 555. The court granted the tribes relief in the form of a declaratory judgment requiring specific Congressional authority before the dam could be built.
In United States v. Oregon, 718 F.2d 299 (9th Cir. 1983), the States of Oregon and Washington appealed a preliminary injunction preventing them from restricting treaty fishing in the upper two (out of three) pools of a 130-mile zone of the Columbia River. The proposed restriction would have allowed the Indians to fish in the bottom 21.6 miles of the zone and in one hatchery. Oregon, 718 F.2d at 301-02. The court recognized that the treaty fishing right has two discrete aspects -- the geographical aspect (citing Puyallup I, 391 U.S. at 398, 20 L. Ed. 2d at 693-94), and the guarantee of a proper quota of fish (citing Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. 658, 61 L. Ed. 2d 823, 99 S. Ct. 3055), 99 S. Ct. 3055. Oregon, 718 F.2d at 304 & n.6. Discussing the Supreme Court’s recognition of these two aspects in Fishing Vessel, the Ninth Circuit stated:
Although the Oregon court acknowledged that it could foresee instances in which limitations on the tribes‘ right of geographical access would be proper for conservation purposes without violating the treaty, in the circumstances of that case, the conservation purposes offered by the States did not justify the severe erosion of the tribes’ treaty fishing right. The Ninth Circuit stated that in determining what limits, if any, might be placed on the geographical treaty fishing right to preserve the resource,
The source of the rule that fishing rights may be so limited is Puyallup I, where the Supreme Court stated:
In the present case, none of the defendants contend that the construction of the Marina and the consequent elimination of a portion of the Tribes’ usual and accustomed fishing grounds are reasonable and necessary measures for conservation of the fishery, although the project includes mitigation and habitat enhancement measures. No authority has been cited to this Court suggesting that the defendants in this case have rights or powers that exempt them from the above principles. The federal, City and private defendants here do not have the ability to qualify or limit the Tribes‘ geographical treaty fishing right (or to allow this to occur through permits) by eliminating a portion of an Indian fishing ground for a purpose other than conservation.
Relying on Fishing Vessel, the Marina Group and federal defendants contend that construction of the Marina will not impair the Indians’ treaty rights because they can still attain a "moderate living" by collecting their share of fish elsewhere. Fishing Vessel holds that the treaty right to take fish secures no more than is necessary to provide the Indians with a moderate living. Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 686, 61 L. Ed. 2d at 846. However, as the federal defendants recognize, the Supreme Court, in making this statement, clearly was addressing the "fair share" aspect of the treaty fishing right. The Tribes‘ fishing grounds in Elliott Bay are protected under the treaty right of access to those grounds (the "geographical aspect"), which is not displaced by the right to some share of fish and is not met by supplying the Tribes with a proper portion of fish. Oregon, 718 F.2d at 304 n.6. The District Engineer’s determination that construction of the Marina will not impair the Tribes‘ ability to meet their moderate living needs, AROD, at 50-51, even if accurate, does not circumvent the requirement of congressional authorization for such a taking, nor does it compensate for the conceded loss of the Tribes’ usual and accustomed fishing grounds. Similarly, the existence of other areas in Elliott Bay where the Tribes may fish, the productive value of which is disputed, does not compensate for taking or permitting the taking of the fishing area within the Marina site.
The Marina Group further argues that the Tribes have "meaningful use" of their usual and accustomed fishing areas when they still have the ability to harvest fish from other parts of their usual and accustomed fishing places, to the extent necessary to attain a moderate living. See Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 676, 61 L. Ed. 2d at 840. The Marina Group‘s reliance on the phrase "meaningful use" to support the actual loss of part of a usual and accustomed fishing ground collapses the right of access into the right to a fair share of fish, which this Court may not do. See Oregon, 718 F.2d at 304; Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 667, 675, 61 L. Ed. 2d at 834, 839.
Moreover, the District Engineer admits hardship to the Tribes in that, even if measures are taken to permit them to catch the same number of fish in remaining areas (for example, extending the fishing season), "there would be an increase in the amount to [sic] time required to catch the same number of fish and resultant increased costs." AROD, at 28; see also Final EIS, at 214, 268. The Oregon case and the Supreme Court cases cited therein prohibit such an attempt to compensate for loss of access by supplying more fish.
The Marina Group and the federal defendants contend that the Marina will not preclude the Tribes’ meaningful use of the fishing area because the project will occupy one-eighth of one square mile of Puget Sound, or a fraction of one percent of the Tribes‘ usual and accustomed Puget Sound fishing areas. See AROD, at 51. In support of this argument, the Group cites evidence that the fishing in the area off the Duwamish Head accounts for 80% of the Muckleshoot Tribe’s total catch, Final EIS, at 79, and that this Tribe‘s most successful fishing location is outside of Elliott Bay. Abercrombie Affidavit, at para. 18.
The Tribes dispute the defendants’ assessment of the impact as minimal. Moreover, during the permit proceedings, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Fish and Wildlife Service notified the Corps that they concluded the loss to the Tribes was serious and, as the latter two agencies stated, not authorized by Congress. Even the Corps agrees that fishing is limited to a few areas in Puget Sound, Final EIS, at 136, and that the impact of the proposed elimination will be "substantial." Administrative Record, at H-111 (evaluation dated October 28, 1987).
No case has been presented to this Court holding that it is permissible to take a small portion of a tribal usual and accustomed fishing ground, as opposed to a large portion, without an act of Congress, or to permit limitation of access to a tribal fishing place for a purpose other than conservation. In Umatilla, the court refused to permit an unauthorized taking of some, not all, of the fishing stations which would be flooded by the proposed dam‘s two and one-half mile reservoir on Catherine Creek. 440 F. Supp. at 555. In Oregon, the States’ proposed restriction of treaty fishing would have eliminated two pools in the upper half of the Columbia River zone at issue, and left the tribes access to a 21.6-mile pool and one hatchery. 718 F.2d at 301-02. In Winans, one fishing station on the Columbia River was at issue. 198 U.S. at 371. In each of these cases, the court did not allow the tribes‘ right of access to their usual and accustomed fishing places to be impaired, limited or eliminated and did not indicate that the extent or amount of damage to the property right was a factor to weigh in reaching its decision.
In circumstances similar to those presented here, the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada, recently held that the construction of a proposed marina in a bay on the east coast of the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island "would diminish in extent the fishery (i.e. the fishing ground) contractually reserved" to predecessors of the plaintiff Indian band. Saanichton Marina Ltd. v. Claxton, No. 852872, slip op. at 2, 11 (S. Ct. B.C. Oct. 8, 1987) (Administrative Record, at H-124, H-133). The Canadian court found that the treaty between the Indians and the Hudson Bay Company, acting on behalf of the Crown, slip op. at 12 (H-123), reserved to the Indians "the right to carry on fisheries as formerly. . . . I think the words must mean that the Indians will have resort to traditional fishing grounds." Saanichton Marina, slip op. at 8 (H-127). The court concluded that the treaty (the "Deed") protected the Indians’ right to the whole fishery, not just some part. Saanichton Marina, slip op. at 11, 14 (H-121, H-124).
The Court finds that in the circumstances presented in this case, the
proposed elimination of a portion of the usual and accustomed fishing ground
where the Marina is to be built will deny the Tribes access to their usual
and accustomed fishing ground, and the loss to the Tribes will be substantial.
In the area between Four Mile Rock and Pier 91, where the Marina is to
be constructed, the range of harm is estimated to be from 27% to over 40%.
The Court concludes that the Tribes have demonstrated a strong probability
of success on the merits of their treaty right claim.
B. Irreparable InjuryBased on the above, and considering the strength of the Tribes‘ showing of success on the merits of their treaty right claim, the Court concludes that the Tribes have also satisfied their burden of showing a possibility of irreparable injury to their treaty fishing right. The treaty is "the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby . . ." U.S. Const. art. VI, cl. 2. The treaty clearly secures to the Tribes the right of access and the right to fish in the area now proposed to be eliminated by the construction of the Marina. The treaty fishing right cannot be impaired or limited without an act of Congress. Yet if construction of the Marina proceeds, the right in this case will be lost.
The Court finds the defendants’ suggestion that either the Marina could
later be removed or the Tribes could be compensated in money to be without
merit. The treaty fishing right is a property right protected under the
fifth amendment, and the harm to this right cannot be measured solely in
terms of the amount of lost income the Tribes might suffer. Boldt I,
384 F. Supp. at 404 ("the treaty rights that are asserted are unique and
the damages which have been or will be sustained are not susceptible of
definite monetary determination"). If the Tribes are to be compensated
for a taking of their fishing ground, Congress must first authorize the
taking. Although the Tribes have no adequate remedy for the threatened
injury to their treaty rights, the defendants have the remedy of seeking
Congressional authorization for their proposed actions.
C. Balance of HardshipsHaving demonstrated a strong probability of success on the merits and the possibility of irreparable injury, the Tribes have shown all that is necessary for a preliminary injunction to issue. Nevertheless, the Court has considered and balanced the hardships in this case. See Chalk, 840 F.2d at 710; Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 634 F.2d at 1203-04.
The Court recognizes the substantial desire of the citizens to build
a Marina in Puget Sound, the lengthy process that has already occurred
to evaluate the impact on the environment and the significant harm that
may occur to nearby Magnolia residents if the Marina is not constructed.
The Court also recognizes the tension between the claimed damages and benefits
which will result from the construction or enjoining the construction of
the Marina. The Court acknowledges that the Marina Group will suffer significant
financial harm if a preliminary injunction is entered at this time. This
is highly regrettable, but unlike the loss of rights guaranteed by treaty
and protected under the Constitution, financial harm is not usually considered
irreparable in the equitable sense. See Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum,
634 F.2d at 1202.
D. Public InterestSignificant numbers of individuals are interested in the development of the Marina. However, the enforcement of rights that are reserved by treaty to the Tribes is an important public interest, and it is vital that the courts honor those rights. The Court has determined that the public interest will be served in this instance by granting the preliminary injunction.
IV. NEPA VIOLATIONS
The Tribes contend that the Corps failed to discuss, analyze and evaluate measures to mitigate the adverse impacts of the Marina project on their treaty fishing right. They further claim the Corps failed to discuss, analyze and evaluate the cumulative impacts of the proposed Marina on their fishing activities and on the continuing loss of intertidal habitat. The Tribes contend that these alleged flaws in the EIS render it inadequate under NEPA.
Because the Court has determined that a preliminary injunction should
issue on the Tribes‘ treaty right claim, it is not necessary to address
the allegations of NEPA violations at this time. The remaining claims will
be resolved when this action is determined on the merits.
Under the Treaty of Point Elliott, the Tribes are entitled to a preliminary
injunction to secure to them, pending a final determination of this litigation,
their right of taking fish at their usual and accustomed fishing ground
in the area where the Marina is to be built. The Court concludes that the
Tribes have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits of
their claim of a treaty right violation and a substantial possibility of
irreparable injury, justifying a preliminary injunction to preserve the
status quo. Now, Therefore,
IT IS ORDERED as follows:
1. Plaintiffs have met the applicable legal standard for obtaining a preliminary injunction; therefore, the Court GRANTS the motion for a preliminary injunction.
2. This preliminary injunction is binding on the parties to the action, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and on those persons in active concert or participation with them who receive actual notice of this order. Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d).
3. Defendants Elliott Bay Marina Group and David M. Abercrombie are directed to cease all activities relating to the construction of the Marina.
4. Defendants the City of Seattle, the United States Department of the Army Corps of Engineers, Col. Philip L. Hall (District Engineer for the Seattle District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers), and John O. Marsh (Secretary of the Army) are each enjoined from taking any action to permit or allow any activities related to furthering the construction of the Marina.
5. The preliminary injunction shall remain in effect until a decision on the merits of plaintiffs’ complaint has been reached. The Court will set an early trial date to resolve these issues.
6. The Tribes are required to post a bond. Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(c); Squaxin Island Tribe v. Washington, 781 F.2d 715, 723-24 (9th Cir. 1986). A hearing on the amount of the bond is set for Friday, July 8, 1988, at 2:00 p.m.
7. The Marina Group has begun dredging and filling,
and sediment may have recently been discharged into Elliott Bay. Plaintiffs,
in their motion for a temporary restraining order, filed on June 30, 1988,
ask that the Court order the Marina Group and David M. Abercrombie to halt
dredging and filling and to prevent further sedimentation by stabilizing
the fill placed so far. Plaintiffs have given written notice of their motion
for a temporary restraining order to the parties. The Court DENIES
plaintiffs‘ motion for a temporary restraining order requiring the defendants
to cease any dredging or filling unrelated to the Marina or otherwise to
stabilize the fill, and sets a hearing for the defendants to respond to
this additional relief requested, on Friday, July 8, 1988, at 2:00 p.m.
All briefs and affidavits relating to this issue should be filed by Thursday,
July 7, 1988.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
The Clerk of the Court is directed to forward copies of this order to counsel of record.
DATED at Seattle, Washington, this 5th day of July, 1988.
1 On April 27, 1988, the Court granted leave to Tulalip Tribes to appear as amicus curiae. Tulalip Tribes filed a memorandum in support of the motion for preliminary injunction and appeared at oral argument.
2 The United States Army Corps of Engineers has regulatory authority over all construction activities in navigable waters of the United States. Final Environmental Impact Statement, at iii.
3 The permit process before the City paralleled the Corps proceedings and its history is summarized here. On November 23, 1983, the Marina Group applied to the City for a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit and Variance, required by the Seattle Shoreline Master Program under the Shoreline Management Act of 1971, RCW 90.58. Technical Appendix P. In September 1985, following preparation of a draft EIS under the Washington State Environmental Policy Act ("SEPA") and public review and comment, the City published its SEPA Final EIS. The City issued its Analysis and Decision granting approval of the marina project on certain conditions on March 26, 1986. The decision was appealed to the State Shoreline Hearings Board. After the permit was revised, on November 14, 1986, the City issued a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit and Variance, over the Tribes’ objection.
4 The Muckleshoot Tribe is the successor to tribes or bands which were parties to the Treaty of Point Elliott and the Treaty of Medicine Creek. United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312, 365 (W.D. Wash. 1974) [hereinafter Boldt I ], aff‘d, 520 F.2d 676 (9th Cir. 1975), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 1086, 47 L. Ed. 2d 97, 96 S. Ct. 877 (1976), substantially aff’d sub nom. Washington v. Washington State Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel Ass‘n, 443 U.S. 658, 61 L. Ed. 2d 823, 99 S. Ct. 3055 (1979). The provision regarding fishing rights is the same in both treaties. Boldt I, 384 F. Supp. at 331. The Suquamish Indian Tribe was a party to the Treaty of Point Elliott. United States v. Washington, 459 F. Supp. 1020, 1040 (W.D. Wash. 1978), appeal dismissed, 573 F.2d 1117 (9th Cir. 1978). Amicus Tulalip Tribes is a political successor in interest to tribes, bands or groups of Indians which were parties to the Treaty of Point Elliott. United States v. Washington, 459 F. Supp. 1020, 1039 (W.D. Wash. 1978).
5 The Final EIS states that, if the Marina is constructed as proposed, one probable adverse effect which could not be avoided would be a reduction in area of a portion of one of the fishing areas within the Muckleshoot and Suquamish Tribes’ usual and accustomed fishing areas as defined in United States v. Washington 384 F. Supp. 312 (DCWA 1974). This reduction would increase somewhat the effort necessary to harvest that portion of the fisheries resource allotted to the tribes. As a result of increased recreational boat traffic generated by the marina, there could be increased conflict between recreational boats and Indian fishing activities, which could result in increased net damage. Final EIS, at 268.
6 The Tribes‘ usual and accustomed fishing places are defined in Boldt I, 384 F. Supp. at 367 (Muckleshoot Tribe); 459 F. Supp. at 1049 (Suquamish Tribe). These definitions include Puget Sound as a usual and accustomed fishing place for both Tribes.
Boldt I defines the terms "grounds," "stations," and "usual and accustomed":
"Stations" indicates fixed locations such as the site of a fish wier or a fishing platform or some other narrowly limited area; "grounds" indicates larger areas which may contain numerous stations and other unspecified locations which in the urgency of treaty negotiations could not then have been determined with specific precision and cannot now be so determined. "Usual and accustomed," being closely synonymous words, indicate the exclusion of unfamiliar locations and those used infrequently or at long intervals and extraordinary occasions. Therefore, the court finds and holds that every fishing location where members of a tribe customarily fished from time to time at and before treaty times, however distant from the then usual habitat of the tribe, and whether or not other tribes then also fished in the same waters, is a usual and accustomed ground or station at which the treaty tribe reserved, and its members presently have, the right - to take fish.384 F. Supp. at 353.
7 The treaty at issue gave the tribes fishing rights only in stations, not grounds; however, the court found that the term "stations" in that treaty was intended to designate the same kinds of fishing locations as the phrase "grounds and stations" in the other Northwest Indian treaties. Umatilla, 440 F. Supp. at 555.
8 In Fishing Vessel, the Court reaffirmed that the treaty guarantees Indians more than simply the "equal opportunity" to catch fish along with all other citizens and that treaty fishermen, unlike nontreaty fishermen, are "immune from all regulation save that required for conservation." Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 682, 61 L. Ed. 2d at 843 (citing Puyallup I, 391 U.S. at 398, 20 L. Ed. 2d at 693-94).