Terry Willams Receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Salmon Habitat and Puget Sound Preservation

Tulalip Tribes Board of Director, Bonnie Juneau, presented Terry Williams with the award, custom-made with spawning salmon design, created by Camano Island artist, Molly LeMaster.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

On a gorgeous evening in Mukilteo, a considerable amount of conservationists attended the annual Snohomish Conservation District’s Better Ground Showcase on April 12. The showcase was held at the Rosehill Community Center, providing a beautiful view of Possession Sound where Washington State ferries were traveling from Mukilteo to Clinton. The Conservation District works with farmers, city residents as well as rural and suburban landowners to promote and encourage conservation and responsible use of natural resources. During the showcase, the Conservation District honored a number of Snohomish County citizens for their work in protecting the environment, presenting awards for Conservation Leaders of the Year, Youth Conservation Leaders of the Year and Volunteer of the Year as well as Lifetime Achievement Awards. Among the evening’s honored guests was Tulalip tribal member, Terry Williams. 

Terry received a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his decades of dedication to protecting our Mother Earth and preserving the salmon habitat. Since the early ‘80’s, Terry has been an advocate for the conservation of natural resources for future generations. He has led the Tulalip Natural Resources department in a variety of positions including Tribal Liaison to the Environmental Protection Agency as well as his current position as Commissioner of Fisheries and Natural Resources. Terry has built strong partnerships with local environmentalists and has also created a number of commissions and committees within the county. 

Tulalip Board of Director Bonnie Juneau presented Terry with a unique award that was constructed from tile and depicted spawning salmon. The handmade award was created by Camano Island artist, Molly LeMaster, and did not leave Terry’s possession for the rest of the entire evening. 

“This whole event was really wonderful,” Terry beamed. “Working with all of these folk has been extremely educational not only for me but also for the Tribe. I think it’s terrific. I’m really glad to see everybody here, it shows that community support. We’ve got so many problems to fix and everyone does a wonderful job when we all work together.”

Daryl Williams accepted an award for his work with Qualco Energy.

Terry was also essential in helping establish Qualco Energy, a local company that also received an award at the showcase for Conservation Leader of the Year. Accepting the award, along with his business partners, was Tulalip tribal member and Terry’s brother, Daryl Williams. 

“Qualco Energy is three-way partnership between the Tulalip Tribes, Northwest Chinook Recovery and the Sno/Sky Agriculture Alliance,” explains Daryl. “The partners came together to create a bio-digestive project where we collect cow-manure from Werkhoven Dairy. We capture methane that comes off of it and use that to create electricity and we store the liquids that come out for irrigating the fields during the growing season. Our main goal is for water quality purposes to get the raw manure off the fields. Over the last year we built a large rain garden at our facility to treat roof water coming off the farm, plus some of the runoff on the driveways. So, we’re just trying to clean up the water that’s coming off the farm.”

Daryl also shared his excitement for his brother stating, “I started working for the Tribe in ’77, so he must’ve started in ’82 or ’83. We’ve worked together for a long time. I’ve stayed on the habitat side of things, but Terry has done a blend of everything that encompasses Natural Resources. He’s done whatever it took to allow our fisherman enough time to harvest what they need and to protect the habitat so the fish have somewhere to go when they head upriver.”

“My dad always used to say treat your neighbors like you’d have them treat you. It’s the same with the environment,” expressed Terry. “To produce all the things that we really love and enjoy, we need to take care of it. And the more we take care of the environment, the better we’re going to be.”

Recycling: It’s our way of looking out for our great-great-grandkids

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling benefits your community and the environment. As a sovereign tribal nation, the Tulalip Tribes’ core values includes conserving natural resources and sustaining our surrounding environment for future generations. That is why two years ago the Tulalip Tribes set out to implement a tribal wide recycling initiative.

The Solid Waste department was renamed the Solid Waste and Recycling department and was put in charge of the step-by-step process to bring a recycle, reduce, and reuse mantra to the reservation.

The first step took place on the tribal government level. The Tulalip and Quil Ceda Village (QCV) administration buildings received new recycling bins that separated cans, paper, and plastic into their own compartments. These bins were placed in specific common areas of each floor within the Tulalip Administration Building. In some cases, like the commonly populated first floor reception area and second floor lunch area, more specific type of recycling collection bins were used. These bins designated trash/organic, cans, plastic, and white paper only into their compartment.

What started out as voluntary program with the larger, more specific recycling bins on each floor had to evolve as it was observed employees were continuing to put their recyclables in their desk-side garbage bin. The bottom line was that it was more convenient to put recyclables in the desk-side garbage, rather than getting up and walking to the end of isle recycling bins.

“When we started our recycling program about two years ago it was a very small program. Mostly only our tribal government buildings were participating,” says Sam Davis, Solid Waste and Recycling Manager. “There wasn’t a lot of participation. People weren’t getting up and going to the end of the isles to dispose of their recycling, so last year I decided to make it easier and more convenient for everyone. We got these little desk-side recycling bins. We put the recycling bins at each and every desk. In all, we put over 700 desk-side recycling bins in tribal government buildings and Quil Ceda Village.”

Staff at Solid Waste and Recycling noticed a huge increase of recycling output once the smaller bins were put desk-side. It showed that Tulalip employees were consciously aware of what they could and couldn’t recycle, but the recycling program has to be convenient as well.

In 2014, with the larger end-of-isle bins and smaller desk-side bins in place, the Tribal Government collected and recycled 40.76 tons (81,520 pounds) of recyclable materials. Before the implementation of the tribal wide recycling initiative all of that 40.76 tons of recyclable materials would have gone the way of garbage and sent to landfills.

“It’s great to see the Tribal Government recycled 40.76 tons of paper, cardboard, plastic and aluminum,” says Davis. “In the next two years I’d like to double that amount. If you were to walk around and look in employee’s’ garbage you’ll still find recyclables in there. In 2014, the Tribal Government had an output of 726,820 pounds of garbage. I’d say that a 100,000 pounds of that is probably recyclable.”

The second step of the tribal wide recycling initiative took place on the residential level. The Solid Waste and Recycling department made life easier for community members by providing curbside recycling pickup services. They proveded a single-stream recycling bin that allows for community members to put all their recyclables into one bin without sorting. You have an easy way to reduce your impact on the environment and these materials are diverted from going into a landfill. The recycling collection crews come around on one of two days depending on your area and empty all curbside recycling bins. For Silver Village and Battle Creek residents, the pickup day is Thursday afternoon. For Y-site and Mission Highlands residents, the pickup day is Friday afternoon.

“Now, we have moved on to our tribal housing homes. We have put recycling bins at every single one of our housing homes except for the homes on the Quil, which is our next step,” continues Davis. “It’s been a step-by-step process because of the cost of each bin. It’s a onetime cost of $95 for each residential recycling bin, so it’ll take a while to recoup that cost, but in my eyes it’s worth it to not see all that recyclable material go to a landfill.

“It’s starting to get to where we want it to. Last month (February 2015) housing recycling did 4.41 tons, which is over 8,000 pounds. My goal is to get to 10,000 pounds a month for housing recycling.”

The residential housing recycling program started very slowly as recycling was a new concept for many in the Tulalip community, but, as the program continues to build momentum, more and more materials once considered garbage are now being recycled. In fact, Tulalip housing members are recycling nearly three times as much as they were only months ago. In October and November of 2014 there was an average of 1.81 tons of recycling collected, whereas in February 2015 there was 4.41 tons of recycling collected.

“I think it’s just people getting used to the program and us being consistent with our pickup. Knowing that we are actually doing something with it,” Davis says of the surge in residential recycling. “Follow through: I think that’s a big thing is knowing that if they put in that little bit of extra time to sort thru and fill their recyclable bin that we are going to be there to pick it up. We want to continue to educate our tribal members so that everything that can be recycled is being recycled.

“Recycling is not just a cost savings for us, it’s our way of looking out for our great-great-grandkids. The future generations.”





Contact Micheal Rios, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov





















Empowering Tribes to Address Energy Needs and Development Opportunities

U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, April 30, 2014

U.S. SENATE – Today at a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing Chairman Jon Tester and Vice Chairman John Barrasso called for increased energy development on tribal lands.

The hearing was held to consider ways to improve the ability of Indian tribes to responsibly develop their natural resources, including the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2014 (S. 2132).  This bill is intended to remove the burdensome and lengthy approval processes that currently cause potential development partners to look elsewhere for energy projects.

In 2005, Congress enacted legislation to allow tribes to develop their energy resources without the Secretary of the Interior’s approval of individual projects, provided the tribe had an approved Tribal Energy Resource Agreement (TERA).

“Sadly, however, the Energy Policy Act has not been successful,” said Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior.   Washburn added that since promulgation of the Department’s TERA regulations in 2008, the Department has not received a single TERA application.

Tester, who is working to revive the recently expired Indian Coal Production tax credit said, “Energy development has the potential to provide stable economic environments for tribes, their members and surrounding communities.   There is no entity better qualified to oversee and manage tribal resources than the tribes themselves.  We need to simplify and expedite the TERA process, but also further promote the development of alternative energy sources such as solar, biomass and hydroelectric projects.”

Barrasso said, “Energy development on tribal lands is critical for economic growth and job creation in Indian Country. By streamlining the approval process, this bill will give folks in Indian Country the tools they need to spur economic growth and create good paying jobs in their communities.”

James M. “Mike” Olguin, Acting Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council, said, “The tragic consequence of no approved TERAs and a continued reliance upon federal supervision has been the incredible lost opportunities to develop Indian energy resources during the period between 2005 and today.”

Michael O. Finley, Chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, said, “Potential partners and development capital sit on the sidelines because it takes years to get anything approved by the Department of the Interior.  Indian Country needs an institutionalized answer to the ongoing challenge of burdensome bureaucratic processes and delay of tribal energy leasing and permitting.”


Nature Conservancy Raises $33.3 Million for Conservation

Private donations transform work to restore natural systems in Washington and around the world


Source: The Nature Conservancy

Seattle — The Nature Conservancy’s three-year Forces of Nature campaignhas raised $33.3 million in private dollars for conservation in Washington and internationally. The campaign, the largest in the chapter’s history and one of the largest campaigns for conservation ever in Washington, was focused on conserving and restoring natural systems while enhancing the well-being of people.

“Our economy and quality of life are intertwined with our state’s clean water, abundant natural resources and astounding beauty,” said Mike Stevens, the Conservancy’s Washington director. “Through their generosity to this campaign, the people of Washington have shown they understand and value what we have and are willing to work to steward it.”

“We are grateful to our donors who have demonstrated their passion and commitment to conservation even during difficult economic times,” said Campaign Chair Elaine French, a volunteer and member of the state chapter’s board of trustees.

In all, the Conservancy raised nearly $18 million for acquisitions, $10 million for on-the-ground work, and more than $6 million for international programs.

Funds raised through the Forces of Nature Campaign are already bringing results.

  • Puget Sound: Partnership-driven, high-impact projects are blending flood protection, salmon habitat, stormwater reduction and agricultural preservation across more than 1,000 acres of floodplains along eight major rivers.
  • East Cascade Forests: Critical timberlands have been brought into public ownership and we are partnering to restore forests to reduce the risks of catastrophic megafires, while promoting ways to ensure the economic viability of forest-dependent communities.
  • Olympic Rainforest: We are working hand in hand with coastal communities to conserve and restore forests along our most important coast salmon rivers.
  • Marine Waters: A new program focuses on conserving Washington’s 28,000 square miles of  marine waters and fisheries in Puget Sound and off the coast.
  • Emerald Edge: A new international program conserves habitat, restores forests and fisheries and builds sustainable economies across 70 million acres in the world’s largest temperate rainforest, stretching from the Washington coast through British Columbia and into Southeast Alaska.
  • International: Support from Washington allows Conservancy programs around the world to benefit nature and people, for example protecting elephant habitat in Africa through indigenous communities.


Forty-five donors gave gifts of $100,000 or more. The campaign was also supported by corporations and private foundations, including Boeing, Harriet Bullit’s Icicle Fund, and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

“What makes this campaign so special is our work with people—farmers, fishermen, loggers, business owners, tribal communities—to develop projects that will have the biggest impact on people’s lives and on our future,” said Mary Ruckelshaus, chair of the chapter’s board of trustees. “Using innovative, science-based solutions, we are making life better for people and communities while protecting the natural resources on which we all depend.”

Lummi Nation harvests hatchery fish, releases natural origin chinook

Lummi Natural Resources staffers Tony George, left, and Ralph Phair collect a hatchery chinook salmon from a tangle net in the Nooksack River.
Lummi Natural Resources staffers Tony George, left, and Ralph Phair collect a hatchery chinook salmon from a tangle net in the Nooksack River.

Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

The Lummi Nation Natural Resources Department is conducting a pilot tangle net fishery for hatchery chinook salmon that allows natural origin fish to be released without harm.

Nooksack River early chinook are part of a major population group that must be recovering before the Puget Sound chinook listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) can be delisted.

“We’re trying to conserve all the natural origin fish by using a smaller mesh net,” said Alan Chapman, ESA coordinator for the tribe. “The fish tangle by the snout, rather than the gills or body, so they can be safely released.”

Fish from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s North Fork Nooksack early chinook hatchery program are marked with a clipped adipose fin and/or coded-wire tag. When a tangle net is used, tribal fishermen can harvest those fish, while releasing the wild ones.

The Lummi Nation contracted with tribal fishermen Rab Washington and Johnny Olsen to fish the small mesh net, with the assistance of natural resources staff who sort the fish, take tissue and scale samples from natural origin fish before releasing them, and take scale samples and coded-wire tag information from the retained hatchery salmon.

“We hope this pilot program will lead to a closely supervised tribal fishery so we can get back to the days our elder fishers reminisce about,” said Merle Jefferson, director of Lummi Natural Resources. “Eventually, we could use the tangle net to harvest pink salmon that haven’t been available to tribal fishermen because of chinook bycatch concerns. This will also increase fishing opportunities during the spring and summer months, and help protect the fall chinook fishery from bycatch concerns.”

The decline in salmon runs has come at a great cost to Lummi fishermen, who make up one of the largest tribal fishing fleets in the country. Increasing fishing opportunities is crucial to supporting their Schelangen, or way of life, and retaining their tribal identity.

“We need to get our kids out fishing so they can understand the way it used to be and why we do what we do,” said Randy Kinley, fisherman and Lummi policy representative. “Future leaders need to remember where we came from, as it was taught to us.”

The tangle net fishery helped the tribe get one step closer to that goal by providing all of the salmon served at the Lummi Nation’s First Salmon Ceremony in May.

“Everyone in our community had an opportunity to feast on the salmon and celebrate our culture and connection to our fishing heritage at our First Salmon Ceremony,” Jefferson said.