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I'm not going to count them to zero, at least not quietly.

- Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research Founder & Senior Scientist

A question we’re commonly asked: “What can I do to help?” 

Our answer: Speak out in support of hydroelectric dam removal. In particular, champion removal of the four Lower Snake River dams.


Thank you for caring about the Southern Resident orcas and all the other species that inhabit the waters of the Pacific Northwest and the natural environment in general.

Salmon everywhere around the whales foraging range are in a death spiral toward extinction, and our leaders dissemble. Humans have focused on fish as a benefit for humans as their only value, and they have allowed ecosystems and fisheries to collapse due to anthropogenic forces. It reminds me of the statement by Floyd Dominy, a pro dam titan, who famously said of the fishermen when appraised that the salmon will go extinct as a result of dam construction: “They can eat cake.”

The whales, however, cannot eat cake. They require salmon.

- Ken Balcomb, CWR Founder and Senior Scientist



For three decades, the Center for Whale Research (CWR) has been advocating the relatively tame issue of salmon recovery based on science and rational management of fisheries in the Pacific Northwest. We have been championing with facts the impacts of dwindling fish stocks on the Southern Resident killer whales [SRKW orcas] and Salish Sea fishers.

Recently, federal government agencies decided not to remove the salmon-killing Lower Snake River dams immediately. These four dams have caused catastrophic environmental damage, damning the Snake River ecosystem’s salmon to extinction, thereby threatening our beloved Southern Resident killer whales with the same fate. Before the government’s decision, CWR spent over $250,000 on a campaign of truth (thanks to generous grant support) about the fiscal and environmental disaster of the Snake River debacle. These truths were met with propaganda from the U.S. government and ineffectual courses of action by the Washington State government’s Orca Task Force.


Learn the facts about how the Southern Resident orcas will benefit from the breaching of the four Lower Snake River dams. Read DAMSENSE'S Dam Breaching Essentials​ and Steven Hawley's book Recovering A Lost River. Watch three videos: Why the Four Lower Snake River Dams Should Be Breached, an interview with DAMSENSE's Jim Waddell, retired civil engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers, Steven Hawley and Michael Peterson's DAMMED TO EXTINCTION (download or disc), and Patagonia’s “Free the Snake: Restoring America’s Greatest Salmon River.” The videos provide an overview of the numerous reasons why the dams should be removed, in turn giving the best chance of saving the Chinook salmon who reproduce in this area and providing necessary food for the remaining seventy-four Southern Resident killer whales.

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Why the Four Lower Snake River Dams Should Be Breached.

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Patagonia’s “Free the Snake: Restoring America’s Greatest Salmon River.”

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SIGN the SOUTHERN RESIDENT KILLER WHALE CHINOOK SALMON INITIATIVE​ petition Dammed to extinction, Southern Resident Orcas are starving. Time is running out! The petition will be sent to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and United States Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.


Breaching the lower Snake River dams will double or triple survival rates of Chinook salmon, restoring millions of fish to the Columbia Basin. By increasing the Southern Resident orcas food supply, it will give them a fighting chance to recover.


The petition currently totals 790,000+ names. The original goal was 50,000; the new goal is 1,000,000 signatures! Add your name to this petition today!

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CONNECT with the Center for Whale Research and our followers through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Share your thoughts. We regularly comment and share information on our social media channels about the whales that inhabit the Pacific Northwest waters along with what is happening around the globe in the extraordinary world of whales. 

Speak OUT

CONNECT with state and federal politicians and agency officials who have a say in breaching the four lower Snake River dams — Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite — and demand they remove these dams . . . NOW! Find out where to CONTACT the right politicians/representatives and agency officials. Find social media links on their websites. 


Speak to your elected politicians/representatives and federal agency officials and ask them to support breaching the Lower Snake River dams. RIGHT NOW! Public demand for action is needed before change happens. Find out where to CONTACT the right politicians/representatives and officials. Don't wait, speak up NOW! 


In his 2019 State of the State Address, Washington Governor Jay Inslee affirmed that protecting the embattled Southern Resident orca population is a priority. 

ASK FOR CHANGE! The Talking Points page on the DAMSENSE website provides helpful content for calling and messaging elected leaders, federal agency officials, and their staff.

You can contact your legislators in many ways: personal visit, attend a town hall meeting, write a letter, send an email message, place a phone call, and testify before a committee. Find your Washington State legislator. During the 2019 legislative session, legislators voted on several bills and a budget that included a substantial amount of money allocated to orca recovery ($1.1 billion). It is imperative to spend this money wisely. Therefore, a critical mass of people need to speak with their legislators on an ONGOING BASIS about the NUMBER ONE ISSUE facing the Southern Resident orcas, Chinook salmon abundance; that the only solution to the salmon and orcas grim situation is the immediate breaching of the four lower Snake River dams . . . NOW!​ 

PARTICIPATE IN A RALLY! Like March 4 The Dams, where a crowd of people was to demand  that the Army Corps of Engineers “Free the Snake!” March 4 The Dams was POSTPONED because of COVID-19.


THANK YOU Governor Kate Brown

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Oregon Governor Kate Brown, sent a letter to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee in mid-February, offering her support for removing the lower Snake River dams.

Excerpt from Brown's letter, February 11, 2020:

"The science is clear that removing the earthen portions of the four lower Snake River dams is the most certain and robust solution to Snake River salmon and steelhead recovery. No other action has the potential to improve overall survival two-to three-fold and simultaneously address both the orca and salmon recovery dilemma while providing certainty in the legal challenge that has complicated operations for decades. This option would likely provide a dramatic increase in salmon available for orca forage, particularly during the late winter when vulnerable gestating orcas may be foraging off the mouth of the Columbia River."

Please let Governor Brown know we support her actions. Here is a link to Governor Brown’s website that makes it simple to thank her.

speak out

EDUCATE your family and friends

EDUCATE your friends and family. A mighty voice for the Southern Resident orcas is a grassroots effort. The more people who become informed and involved, and speak out, the better chance the orcas have of living another day.

Suggest that friends and family:

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ORCA SURVEY Outreach & Education Center's Katie Jones showing a visitor a graph about Chinook returns.

"I've traveled across the state and even to Canada learning about solutions and meeting the people who are pushing them forward. A year later, I've come to a conclusion, and it's one I don't make lightly. There is no question: This is the last generation. Humans — who are responsible for putting these mammals in such a critical state — need to act now if there's any chance at turning around the killer whales' decline."

Last Generation

Q13 News' Simone Del Rosario reports:

Q13 News Special Report
The Last Generation: Southern resident orcas in danger of extinction


Together we can help

Become a CWR Member or make a DONATION

The Center for Whale Research has been studying the amazing Southern Resident orcas since 1976. But our work is far from done. We need your help to continue our studies, and to speak out on behalf of the SRKW population.


CONTACT Elected Politicians/Representatives

President Donald Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500, Phone: 202-456-1111

Email a message


Washington Governor Jay Inslee 

PO Box 40002, Olympia, WA 98504-0002, Phone: 360-902-4111  

Email a message

Website: Jay Inslee // Twitter: @govinslee


United States Senator for Washington, Patty Murray

2988 Jackson Federal Building, 915 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98174, Phone: 206-553-5545  

Email a message

Website: // Twitter: @MurrayCampaign


United States Senator for Washington, Senator Maria Cantwell

511 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510, Phone: 202-224-3441

Email a message

Website: Maria Cantwell // Twitter: @Senator Cantwell

Find the legislator representing your area of Washington State


Idaho Governor Brad Little
State Capitol, PO Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720, Phone: 208-334-2100
Email a message

Website: IDAHO Office of the Governor // Twitter: @GovernorLittle


Oregon Governor Kate Brown
State Capitol Building, 900 Court Street NE, 160, Salem, OR 97301, Phone: 503-378-4582
Email a message

Website: Meet The Governor // Twitter: @OregonGovBrown


Federal Agency Officials


Elliot Mainzer, Administrator

Bonneville Power Administration, 905 NE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97232, Phone: 800-282-3713


Lieutenant General Todd T Semonite

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Phone: 202-761-0011

Email a message choosing “Civil Works”


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
441 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20314-1000, Phone: 202-761-1878

Email a message choosing “Civil Works”



U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District Public Affairs
201 North 3rd Avenue Walla Walla, WA 99362-1876, Phone: 509-527-7020

Email a message choosing “Civil Works”


NOAA/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Western Regional Center

7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, Phone: 206-526-6150

Website: NOAA Western Regional Center



There is no more important issue facing the future survival of J, K, and L pods than ensuring that they have enough salmon to survive and reproduce. Restoration of the Snake River system to normative flow is essential for this to happen on a scale that is meaningful for the salmon and the whales,

and for the fishermen.
- Ken Balcomb, CWR Founder and Senior Scientist

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