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Nisqually Tribe, Washington

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The tribe is near completion of a $2.4 million deal to buy Ken Braget's 420-acre farm next to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Congress authorized $850,000 to help wrap up the purchase. The tribe must enter into a 25-year lease with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to manage the 315-acre lowland portion as part of the refuge, a congressional staff person said. Managing the lowland portion of the farm as part of the neighboring refuge is consistent with the tribe's long-term plan for the property, said George Walter, the tribe's environmental program manager. The tribe wants to breach some diked pastures which would turn the delta property back into a saltwater marsh where the Nisqually River meets Puget Sound. Restoring the Nisqually Delta should be a big boost for salmon, which can use the area to feed and grow strong before migrating to sea. To complete financing, the tribe is selling property development rights to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. It reserved the right to build a tribal interpretive center and possibly a tribal natural resources office, on a portion of the 95-acre upland section of the farm. Braget can stay on the farm for the rest of his life.