Yakama Nation Calls for Pollution Clean-Up on Columbia River - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakama Nation Calls for Pollution Clean-Up on Columbia River

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TOPPENISH, Wash. - Yakama Nation Chairman Harry Smiskin says the state and federal governments must act to clean up polluted sections of the Columbia River that are contaminating fish. 

The request comes as the Oregon Health Authority and Washington Department of Health have sent out consumption advisories for fish. 

"The fish advisories confirm what the Yakama Nation has known for decades," he said. "State and federal governments can no longer ignore the inadequacy of their regulatory efforts and the failure to clean up the Columbia River."

In the Treaty of 1855, the Yakama Nation retained fishing rights throughout the river. The Yakama Nation repeatedly identified contaminated sites along the Columbia, expressing concerns for the health and culture of the Yakama people and calling upon the state and federal agencies for cleanup actions that would protect the tribe's resources.

The health departments in Oregon and Washington say people should protect themselves against mercury and PCB contamination by limiting consumption of certain fish species from a 150-mile section of the Columbia River.

The advisory applies to fish that live year-round between the Bonneville and McNary dams, including bass, bluegill, yellow perch, crappie, walleye, carp, catfish, suckers and sturgeon. It does not apply to migratory fish such as salmon and steelhead.

The advisory recommends eating no more than one meal per week of the fish from that area, and not eating any fish from between Bonneville Dam and Ruckel Creek one mile upstream.