Sen. Jerry Moran sees support for re-election from American Indian tribes

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, Pete Marovich - Pete Marovich/MCT
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, Pete Marovich – Pete Marovich/MCT

By Bryan Lowry, The Wichita Eagle

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran has nearly $30,000 from 12 different American Indian tribes since January in support of his re-election bid.

Moran, a Hays Republican who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, received $1.43 million from January through June for his re-election campaign, according to his most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission. So far $1,000 of that has come from Kansas’ Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.

Moran has also received money from Oklahoma’s Chickasaw Nation; Louisiana’s Tunica-Biloxi Tribe; Washington State’s Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Snoqualmie Tribe and Lummi Indian Business Council; Arizona’s Gila River Indian Community; California’s Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and Shingle Springs Band Miwok Indians; Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians; and New York’s Seneca Nation of Indians.

The donations from the various tribes add up to $29,700.

The support from the tribes shouldn’t come as a surprise. Moran, a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, has championed legislation to strengthen the autonomy of tribal governments in recent years.

He co-sponsored the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act, which broadened tax exemptions for tribes and was signed into law in 2014. He has also sponsored and pushed for the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, which would have exempted tribal governments from the National Labor Relations Act.

“These Native American tribes are part of a diverse group of individuals and organizations who support Senator Moran – including Kansans in each of our state’s 105 counties,” Moran for Kansas spokeswoman Elizabeth Patton said in an e-mailed statement.

Moran has also received money from Kansas born billionaire Phillip Anschutz and his wife, Nancy, for $2,700 each. Anschutz, a native of Russell and alum of the University of Kansas, helped found Major League Soccer.

Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries, gave Moran $2,700. His son, Chase Koch, president of Koch Fertilizer, and Chase’s wife, Anna, also each gave Moran $2,700.

Moran’s most recent report also includes contributions from state Rep. Mark Hutton, R-Wichita, who gave $2,700, and Kansas Secretary of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Robin Jennison, who gave $1,000.

Read more here:


Sea Star Wasting Syndrome Perplexes Scientists

George Stearns, shellfish biologist for the Puyallup Tribe, inspects a sick sea star caught during the tribe’s crab monitoring study.
George Stearns, shellfish biologist for the Puyallup Tribe, inspects a sick sea star caught during the tribe’s crab monitoring study.


Puyallup Tribe Observes Disease Affecting Sea Stars

E. O’Connell, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

As part of its regular crab population monitoring, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians is tracking the impact of a myste-rious ailment that is killing sea stars.

An outbreak of sea star wasting syndrome was first noticed last fall in British Columbia. The syndrome starts as small lesions and eventually the infected sea stars disintegrate. Since symptoms were first noticed, the syndrome has quickly spread throughout the Salish Sea and along the Pacific coast.

While there have been previously documented outbreaks, nothing on this scale has ever been recorded. There is no known cause.

“After we started conducting crab surveys in April last year, we started seeing a lot of sea star by catch,” said George Stearns, the tribe’s shellfish bi-ologist. “One pot near the north

point of Vashon Island was full of sea stars.”

The tribe regularly monitors eight stations between the north end of Vashon Island and the Tacoma Narrows. Each station includes nine crab pots.

During the tribe’s early surveys, the sea star population seemed healthy. But Puyallup tribal scientists recorded a sharp die-off in October.

“We saw one monitoring site go from four sea stars per pot in April to 12 in September to zero in October,” Stearns said.

When a diseased sea star catches a ride on a tribal crab pot, it deflates quickly. Within a few minutes, a normally rigid sea star will be hanging on the pot like a wet rag.

“Some of the sea stars we are finding are literally melting in front of us,” Stearns said.


Tribe Narrowing Locations Where Crabs Molt

The Puyallup Tribe monitors crab to pinpoint exactly when the shellfish in the tribe’s harvest area molt, or shed their shells.

“Crabbing during the middle of molting, which makes them soft and vulnerable, can increase the handling mortality,” said George Stearns, the tribe’s shellfish biologist. “It’s a common practice to shut down harvest during the molt. But we’ve

only had a general idea of when that occurs down here.” The data collected will also

help the fisheries managers put together a more complete picture of crab populations in South Sound.

“We GPS the locations so we’re at the same spots and put the pots in for the same length of time,” Stearns said. “So we know we’re comparing apples to apples each month.”



Clarks Creek may provide clues to Puget Sound restoration


Source: Northwest Indian Fisheries

PUYALLUP – The Puyallup Tribe of Indians working to decrease sediment in Clarks Creek, an important salmon tributary to the Puyallup River.

“Clarks Creek is important because it supports several different species of salmon, some listed under the federal Endangered Species Act,” said Char Naylor, water quality program manager for the tribe. Clarks Creek also supports the highest salmon spawning densities in the Puyallup watershed as well as the most significant number and variety of spawning salmon within a city limits in the watershed.

“Its also important because it can be an example of how we can restore hundreds of small urban streams in Puget Sound,” Naylor said. The problems facing the Clarks Creek watershed are endemic to most Puget Sound lowland streams. The principal non-point pollutants causing degradation are excessive sediment, nuisance weed growth, nutrient enrichment and excessive bacteria loading.

“If we can tackle these issues in Clarks Creek, we can show other Puget Sound communities how to heal their streams,” Naylor said.

The tribe is leading a regional effort to clean up the creek by reducing the amount of sediment flowing into it. Too much sediment in a stream drives down salmon productivity because it impacts the fish’s ability to find clean spawning gravel in which to spawn or rear. The goal of the project is to reduce sediment loads by half and nutrient and bacteria by a third by lowering flows and stabilizing banks to reducing channel erosion.

The tribe recently finished a two-year study of sediment sources throughout Clarks Creek. The study found that if 23 major sources of sediment were repaired, over 50 percent of the creek’s sediment problem would go away. Yet by doing just the top eight bank stabilization projects, a huge amount of sediment can be removed from the stream very cost-effectively.

The tribe is putting together plans to restore two those major sources of sediment in the creek. The tribal projects would stabilize the banks of two Clarks Creek tributaries. “We would literally be changing the shapes of their banks and channels, adding gravel and planting vegetation along their banks,” Naylor said.

Other sorts of projects suggested by the study include stormwater retrofits, low impact development, and stormwater detention ponds.

Most of the creek’s sediment actually start with the river it flows into. “The Puyallup River is diked through most of its lower reach,” Naylor said. “This caused the river bed itself to drop, which means the creeks flowing into it also drop.” This down-cutting action puts more sediment into the creek than would be there otherwise.

Clarks Creek is just 4 miles long and flows through suburban neighborhoods of the city of Puyallup before joining the Puyallup River. Because it is largely spring-fed, the creek has a consistent level of water throughout the year, making it great rearing habitat for juvenile salmon. The Puyallup Tribe also operates a chinook hatchery on the creek.

“We have already begun working on implementing several of the identified sediment projects to restore the watershed almost before the ink was dry on the report,,” Naylor said. “It is satisfying to have changed the status quo, the way things have been done in this watershed over the last several decades.”

Puyallup Tribe of Indians adds environmentally friendly housing

Annette Bryan, director of the Puyallup Tribal Housing Authority, and Ted Franzen, a resident at “The Place of Hidden” waters chat outside the new environmentally friendly building.
Annette Bryan, director of the Puyallup Tribal Housing Authority, and Ted Franzen, a resident at “The Place of Hidden” waters chat outside the new environmentally friendly building.

Source: Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is building environmentally friendly housing that also reflects their culture. This year the tribe’s housing authority opened The Place of Hidden Waters, an environmentally friendly 10-unit housing complex that emulates the traditional longhouse design.

“It was important that the building be culturally relevant to the tribe,” said Annette Bryan, executive director for the housing authority. “Another important part of the tribe’s culture is reliance on natural resources, which this project goes a long way toward protecting.”

“The energy efficient design of the building literally includes hidden waters,” Bryan said. The building’s temperature control system uses the moderate soil temperatures to cool the building in the summer and warm it in the winter.

The longhouse project also used recycled and local sustainable construction material. Rainwater from paved areas of the development are filtered through a rain garden, instead of into a traditional stormwater drainage system.

“We kept in mind the existing trees and natural habitat of the site before we started construction,” Bryan said. The building is built toward the eastern edge of a parcel, leaving the western side wooded. The preserved area connects to a 60-acre area that is being restored by the Nature Conservancy and the Port of Tacoma. The housing authority was also able to preserve several mature maple trees on the property.

The Puyallup Tribal Housing Authority provides housing opportunities to enrolled members of Indian tribes. Their mission includes building new affordable housing and revitalizing older housing developments.

The Place of Hidden Waters was preceded six years ago by another green tribal project called the Elder Healthy Home. The 1,300 square foot single family home was a demonstration project that included passive radiant solar heat, native plants and pervious pavements. It was also was constructed with local and certified sustainable wood.

Many of the environmental issues faced by the tribe stem from impacts of poorly thought-out development. For example, the acres of impervious surface in the Puyallup River watershed increased from 47,000 acres in 1986 to over 70,000 acres in 2006. “Because it is an important mission for the tribe, we’re trying to do things here in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way,” Bryan said.

Puyallup Tribe’s $150 million expansion of Emerald Queen includes gaming area, parking

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians announced Tuesday that it will break ground this summer on a 2,500-stall parking structure near its Portland Avenue casino. When completed, the structure will be followed by construction of a new, full-service gaming facility.

Artist's rendering of the Emerald Queen Casino on 29th Street near Portland Avenue. (Courtesy photo)Read more here:
Artist’s rendering of the Emerald Queen Casino on 29th Street near Portland Avenue. (Courtesy photo)
Read more here:

C.R. ROBERTS; Staff writer

Updated: April 10, 2013 at 9:34 a.m. PDT  in The News Tribune

 The Queen is about to get more than a facelift.

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians announced Tuesday that it will break ground this summer on a 2,500-stall parking structure near its Portland Avenue casino.

When completed, the structure will be followed by construction of a new, full-service gaming facility.

Think ponds and fountains outdoors.

New restaurants inside. Table games, machines.

And nearby, perhaps a station serving Tacoma’s light rail.

Total cost: between $150 million and $200 million.

“We’ve been leading up to this,” said Emerald Queen Casinos General Manager Frank Wright on Tuesday.

Sewer, water and electrical infrastructure is ready to accommodate the new facility. Soil studies have been completed. The tribe has purchased the necessary land.

The current casino – comprising a Bingo hall built in the 1980s and three large tents – will continue in business until the new casino opens, and will then be disassembled or demolished.

Initial future plans for the space occupied by the present casino call for a mixed-use project that could include office, residential and retail properties.

“We want to establish a permanent facility,” Wright said. “As time has gone by, we’ve had time to see what the market desires. We’ve listened to what people want.”

At the Fife Emerald Queen, which offers play on gaming machines only, customers wanted low ceilings, low lighting and an unhurried atmosphere.

At the new Tacoma Emerald Queen, Wright said, “we’ll have brighter colors, flashing lights, things that excite the (younger) gamers.”

The main casino will contain about the same space as the current facility, but a new showroom will be about 20 percent larger, he said.

Final plans are not complete, but Wright said there will be “four or five restaurants, two fine-dining and one buffet, a noodle bar, a deli, coffee shop and a cigar lounge.”

The full cost for design and construction will be borne by the tribe with funds derived from cash flow, Wright said.

The parking structure should be complete within 18 months of groundbreaking, he said. The entire project may be ready to welcome guests a year or 18 months after that.

Once the current casino is deconstructed, the tribe’s economic development arm, Marine View Ventures, will plan and market the mixed-use project, Wright said.

He said the tribe was making the announcement now “to assist local government in making their development plans.”

One of those plans concerns the extension of light rail from its downtown-only route.

“The tribe has offered to establish a landing for light rail,” said tribal spokesman John Weymer.

One of the proposed routes of Tacoma’s light rail network has tracks extending into East Tacoma, which could include a stop on tribal land at the casino complex.

“We feel it would be an asset to the city,” Weymer said.

The tribe has offered to allow the city free use of its parking structure for commuters or other drivers.

“It’s our way of trying to assist the public,” Wright said. “There are times in the day when we don’t need extensive parking. The tribe is willing to partner with the city and Sound Transit. What’s good for Tacoma is good for us. We have to take care of each other.”

The anticipated increase in traffic would also mean that those people who park might also avail themselves of the services offered at the casino, which would benefit the tribe.

“If light rail doesn’t come, it won’t be the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Wright said. “We feel that we’re just doing the right thing.”

The Tacoma City Council will recommend a final extension route to Sound Transit later this month.

Tacoma City Councilmember David Boe said Tuesday, of the tribe’s light rail proposal, “That’s an interesting possibility.”

Councilmember Marty Campbell said, “I’m excited to have a $150 million investment in my district. Any time we can have a development that brings new jobs, it helps all of Tacoma. I’m glad to see that the tribe is considering future transit operations in considering their new development.”

C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535

Puyallup Tribe Helps Spring Chinook Program Continue

Source: Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is making sure juvenile spring chinook will still find their way to the upper White River each year.

The tribe is raising 250,000 spring chinook at their hatchery so they can stock acclimation ponds in the upper White. Legislative budget cuts forced the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to cease their White River spring chinook program.

“We used to get these fish from the state, but now the Muckleshoot Tribe is allowing us to have some of their excess spring chinook,” said Blake Smith, enhancement manager for the Puyallup Tribe. The Muckleshoot Tribe also raises White River springers at one of their hatchery.

Before picking up the state’s effort completely this year, the Puyallup Tribe has chipped in with the cost of clipping the spring chinook.

The state’s White River spring chinook program had been one of the oldest salmon recovery projects in the state. The effort began almost 40 years ago when the state began capturing fish for broodstock from the weak early run. “Probably the only reason we have White River springers to protect is because of the state’s early action,” said Russ Ladley, resource protection manager for the tribe.

In 1986 only six spring chinook returned to the White River, putting the viability of the run in question. “At the time, there was a chance that so few fish would return that the run would blink out,” Ladley said.

When the Muckleshoot Tribe opened their hatchery on the White River, fisheries managers began releasing the spring chinook back to the river to supplement the run. Because of diligent hatchery management, the spring chinook population on the White River has slowly increased since, with returns now normally in the thousands.

After being transported to the acclimation ponds, the juvenile spring chinook will be fed by the tribe for eight weeks. Once they are imprinted on the upper watershed creeks, they’ll be released to begin their journey to the ocean.

The acclimation pond program has played a large role in the recovery of the spring stock. “More and more springers are coming back each year to the upper tributaries,” Smith said. “Some creeks went from zero spawners to dozens in the last decade.”