A final environmental report on the tribe's White River Amphitheater has been delayed because of rules on threatened chinook salmon and bull trout. The 20,000-seat outdoor concert venue will need further review under the Endangered Species Act, a BIA spokeswoman said. It's another delay for tribal officials, who had hoped to resume construction this summer on the theater two miles east of Auburn. The National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raised requirements for their review of the project." The agencies decided to complete a "formal consultation'' - a more complex and time-consuming process. Tribal officials said the BIA apparently is being cautious. No construction work has been done on the $30 million project for the past two years while the environmental review process has been underway. Now 40 percent complete, the amphitheater along State Route 164 would offer 30 to 40 outdoor music concerts between May and October. Tribal events would also be held there. Tribal officials had hoped to open next spring if the needed permits could be obtained. A draft environmental statement issued last summer found no significant harm. However, it drew objections from local residents who have fought the project since it was proposed four years ago.
A exceptionally strong run of sockeye returning to Lake Washington is allowing the first recreational salmon season here in four years, state and tribal officials said June 30. The season opened the Fourth of July. The Lake Washington sockeye season traditionally attracts thousands of anglers a day, the state Department of Fish and Game said in a news release. About 70,000 fish were caught the last time the fishery was opened, in 1996, when about 450,000 sockeye returned to the lake. Biologists say this summer's big return is the result of a large escapement of parent stock that year, as well as improved ocean conditions and other factors. The sockeye season will not affect efforts to restore Puget Sound chinook salmon populations, considered threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, along with several other West Coast runs. A total of 350,000 sockeye must survive to spawn to keep the run at healthy levels for harvest. More than 167,000 fish have returned so far. The run has been monitored since June by state and tribal biologists stationed at the Ballard Locks.