Taking Action

With each and every opportunity, the Center for Whale Research stands up and speaks out for actions that we believe, based on our 43 years of study, give the Southern Resident killer whales the best chance of survival and their habitat to become healthier. 

"... We could fund a seal cull, or we could let an organism that has evolved for millions of years to kill seals very efficiently do what they are already doing ... while we're talking about potentially scapegoating an
entire species of animals within the Salish Sea." 

CWR's Michael Weiss speaking about a potential pinniped cull in the Salish Sea during the public comment portion of Meeting #4 of the Orca Task Force (Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force).

The Center for Whale Research continues to be relentless in demanding immediate action by politicians and government agencies to reverse the substantial decline of Chinook salmon stocks in Southern Resident killer whale habitat. Chinook salmon is the SRKW's prey of choice. We also reach out to as many people as we can with a focused educational message through the Orca Survey Outreach & Education Center, WhaleRearch.com, and through several social media channels. We ask people, like you, to take personal action to push positive change on the issue of extinction facing the Southern Resident orcas and Chinook salmon. See the Take Action page for some ideas about other things that you can do to help.​​

CWR Taking Action/Speaking Out - 2019

Ad in The Seattle Times

The Center for Whale Research and DAMASENSE ran the GOVERNOR INSLEE, IS THIS HOW YOU'LL BE REMEMBERED? ad on February 23 in a special nine-page section in The Seattle Times about the Southern Resident orcas. CWR paid for this ad placement. CWR gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Jarret Matlock, Molly Costin, and other members of the team at Publicis North America in Seattle for their work in designing this ad.  

On January 15, Washington Governor Jay Inslee delivered his 2019 State of the State Address, where he affirmed that protecting the embattled Southern Resident orca population was a priority. 

Orca Task Force (OTF)

UPDATE

CWR Ken Balcomb's letter to WA Governor Jay Inslee:

Orca Task Force's year one Report and Recommendations

 

Dear Governor Inslee,

     Thank you for your good faith effort to convene a Task Force to make recommendations to you regarding how to recover the Southern Resident Killer Whale population, and for the honor of inviting my participation in the process. You have before you the list of recommendations that were discussed at length among the Task Force members, and I herein submit my minority report ...

 

Read full letter

Balcomb's letter tfederal agencies involved in the restoration of the SRKW population:

Memorandum of Facts regarding Orca Demographics

 

 

I have conducted research on the “Southern Resident” population of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the eastern North Pacific Ocean and adjacent inland marine waters since 1976, following the ending of captures of these animals for the public display industry. Approximately fifty killer whales had been removed from this population in a ten year period prior to my research and seventy remained. I have kept records of all births and deaths determined for this population from April 1976 to date. 

 

Read full document

Based on the year one Report and Recommendations of the Orca Task Force (Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force), Governor Inslee has chosen to focus on "three key problems impacting the health of orcas":

 

  • Lack of food

  • Toxics in the water

  • Noise disturbance from boats and other vessels

​​

The Orca Task Force identified these as the most significant threats to the SRKW's survival.

 

A policy brief updated this month (January 2019), outlines some details and funding for specific actions to be taken.

 

On January 23, several bills that support Inslee's proposed actions to save the Southern Residents were introduced in the state Legislature:

 

  • House Bill 1579 and Senate Bill 5580 intends to increase habitat for Chinook salmon and other forage fish (related to OTF recommendations 3, 4, & 5)

  • House Bill 1578 and Senate Bill 5578 intends to reduce threats to Southern Residents by improving the safety of oil transportation (related to OTF recommendations 24)

  • House Bill 1580 and Senate Bill 5577 aims to protect Southern Resident orcas from vessel noise and disturbance (related to OTF recommendations 17, 18, 26, & 28).

Orca Task Force Background

On March 14, 2018, Governor Jay Inslee signed Executive Order 18-02: “. . . designating state agencies to take several immediate actions to benefit Southern Residents [killer whales], and establishing a Task Force to develop longer-term action recommendations for orca recovery and future sustainability.”

     The Orca Task Force (Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force) include representatives from the state legislature; officials from tribal, federal, local, and other state governments and the Government of Canada; and spokespersons for the non-profit sector and private sectors.

     The Task Force was “charged with preparing a comprehensive report and recommendations for recovering Southern Residents, with a full draft due by October 1, 2018, and a final report by November 1, 2018. The report should detail actions that will address all of the major threats to Southern Residents, including prey availability, toxic contaminants, and disturbance from noise and vessel traffic. A second report outlining the progress made, lessons learned, and outstanding needs will be completed by October 1, 2019.”

Ad in The Seattle Times

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 8.07.06 AM.jpg

Ken Balcomb in a January 2019 interview with explore.org: Amazing! Lucky is The First Orca Calf to Survive in 5 Years! talking about the recent birth of L124 and the need for humans to act now to try and save the Southern Resident killer whales from extinction. 

UPDATE

Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force

November 16, 2018
Task Force submits recommendations to Governor Inslee

Today, the Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force delivered its year one Report and Recommendations to Washington Governor Jay Inslee. The report outlines "potential options to address the major threats to [the] Southern Residents [orcas], including prey availability, toxic contaminants and disturbance from noise and vessel traffic."

Co-chair of the Task Force, Stephanie Solien, announcing the release of the year one report and recommendations (Q13 broadcast via Facebook)

Ken Balcomb also wrote to Alison Morrow (KING5 News) and Lynda Mapes (The Seattle Times) about his decision to abstain from the consensus vote on final Orca Task Force recommendations: 

 

"Frankly, I am embarrassed for the conveners and participants of OTF [Orca Task Force] who had to endure blatant and ill-informed political manipulation of a process launched with the good intention of doing something bold to help recover the Southern Resident killer whales. The laundry list of recommendations and the 'bold' last-minute introduction and passage of wording proposing a meaningless moratorium of a benign activity while skirting THE major problem for these whales - salmon population crashes throughout their range - is appalling. Honesty was crushed by politics and vested interests, even within agencies whose responsibility it is to manage natural resources sustainably. The whales are on their own in their downward spiral toward extinction along with the natural wild runs of Chinook salmon that we used to call 'King'. To find the root causes of this devious manipulation, one has to simply follow the money - first, look at the BPA Columbia Basin Fish accords for clues, and then look at the industries that have prevented and are preventing natural salmon recovery."

CWR Ken Balcomb's letter to Governor Inslee about Task Force's year one Report and Recommendations

 

Dear Governor Inslee,

     Thank you for your good faith effort to convene a Task Force to make recommendations to you regarding how to recover the Southern Resident Killer Whale population, and for the honor of inviting my participation in the process. You have before you the list of recommendations that were discussed at length among the Task Force members, and I herein submit my minority report ...

 

Read full letter

Memorandum of Facts regarding Orca Demographics

To: Federal Agencies involved in Restoration of the population called Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW), listed as Endangered under the ESA

 

I have conducted research on the “Southern Resident” population of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the eastern North Pacific Ocean and adjacent inland marine waters since 1976, following the ending of captures of these animals for the public display industry. Approximately fifty killer whales had been removed from this population in a ten year period prior to my research and seventy remained. I have kept records of all births and deaths determined for this population from April 1976 to date. 

 

Read full document

SRKW Task Force Background

On March 14, 2018, State of Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed Executive Order 18-02: “. . . designating state agencies to take several immediate actions to benefit Southern Residents [killer whales], and establishing a Task Force to develop longer-term action recommendations for orca recovery and future sustainability.”

     The Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force include representatives from the state legislature; officials from tribal, federal, local, and other state governments and the Government of Canada; and spokespersons for the non-profit sector and private sectors.

     The Task Force was “charged with preparing a comprehensive report and recommendations for recovering Southern Residents, with a full draft due by October 1, 2018, and a final report by November 1, 2018. The report should detail actions that will address all of the major threats to Southern Residents, including prey availability, toxic contaminants, and disturbance from noise and vessel traffic. A second report outlining the progress made, lessons learned, and outstanding needs will be completed by October 1, 2019.”

taskforce.jpg

Watch TVW’s video broadcasts of the meeting:

 

CWR Actions in 2018 (Dec 2018 newsletter)

TVW coverage of the November 6 Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force meeting included public comment and the Task Force's Consensus Vote on Final Package of Recommendations to be submitted by November 16 to Washington Governor, Jay Inslee.

The Center for Whale Research worked tirelessly and relentlessly advocating for immediate action by politicians to reverse the dramatic decline of Chinook salmon stocks (SRKWs prey of choice). CWR was front and center at each of the six meetings of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force (Ken Balcomb is a Task Force member); presented solutions to the plight of the SRKW at numerous events; and spoke out boldly in the media concerning the sick and starving animals within the Southern Resident orca community. Also, we reached out to as many people as we could with a focused educational message: through the Orca Survey Outreach & Education Center, through whalerearch.com, and through social media channels. We asked these individuals, like you, to take personal action to push positive change on the salmon issue for the benefit of the Southern Resident orcas. See What other action can you take? and MEMBERSHIP news for some ideas about other things that you can do to help.​​

Speaking Out:
Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force 

 

Event & Conference Presentations 

​​

In The Media

What other action can you take?
In addition to your financial support of CWR, you can do the following:

 

From the United States & other parts of the world:
 
  • CONNECT with state and federal politicians through CWR's Facebook page and Twitter feed, demanding that they breach the four lower Snake River dams ... in 2019! Learn the facts about how the Southern Residents will benefit from this act: Dam Breaching Essentials.

  • SIGN the DAMSENSE petition that will be sent to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Senator Patty Murray: Dammed to extinction, Southern Resident Orcas are starving. Time is running out! The petition stands at 690,000+ names. The original goal was 50,000; the new goal is 1,000,000 signatures.

  • ASK FOR CHANGE! Contact your elected representatives through the DAMSENSE website and ask state and federal officials to support the breaching of the four lower Snake River dams... in 2019! The Talking Points page on the DAMSENSE website provides helpful content for calling and messaging elected leaders and their staff.

  • Visit the GET INVOLVED webpage at DAMSENSE for other ways to take action. 

  • Support United States organizations who are making real progress on the issues of salmon and orca health and recovery:

Center for Whale Research

DAMSENSE

NRDC (National Resources Defense Council)

Earthjustice

  • 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.
 
From Canada & other parts of the world:
 
  • Send a letter, phone, or e-mail the Minister of Environment & Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Jonathan Wilkinson, to demand the federal government comply with the law: the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has no discretion when it comes to protecting the critical habitat of the Southern Resident orcas.

Contact: The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment & Climate Change Canada, 200 Sacre-Coeur Boulevard, Gatineau, Quebec, KlA 0H3; 819-938-3813; ec.ministre-minister.ec@canada.ca

Contact: The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 200 Kent Street, Station 15N100, Ottawa, Ontario, KlA 0E6; 866-266-6603 (Aquatic Species at Risk/Let's Talk Whales; min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca)

  • Visit the David Suzuki Foundation for Talking Points in planning your letter, call, or e-mail to Minister McKenna and Minister Wilkinson. And #JoinThePod.

  • Support Canadian organizations who are making real progress on the issues of salmon and orca health and recovery:

Raincoast Conservation Foundation

David Suzuki Foundation

Ecojustice Canada

  • 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. 

current CWR Action (Sept 2018 Newsletter)

The Center for Whale Research's number one priority is the continuation of the Orca Survey project. However, we are working very hard advocating for immediate action on the Chinook salmon recovery front. Also, we are actively reaching out to as many people as we can with a focused educational message, asking these individuals, like you, to take personal action to push positive change on the salmon issue, for the benefit of the Southern Resident orcas. See Members news (i.e., What other action can you take?) for some ideas about other things that you can do to help.​​

Speaking Out: During the summer months, CWR spoke tirelessly and relentlessly to what we believe could save the Southern Resident orca community: Partial recovery of regional Chinook salmon stocks. The following are a sampling of the CWR message.
 
  • June 14: CWR's Ken Balcomb attended Meeting #2 of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force in Olympia, Washington (Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force Meeting #2: Summary).
    Note. Ken Balcomb is a Task Force member.
     

  • July 18: Ken Balcomb spoke at Superpod 6 in the San Juan Community Theatre in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. Those in attendance at Superpod 6, July 16-20, listened to an international group of scientists, filmmakers, authors, journalists, and orca advocates who want to see killer whales thrive in their natural habitat. Balcomb spoke on the subject of salmon abundance. View his and other Superpod 6 presentations on YouTube.  

​​

 

"The activities of the past two weeks are just the whales telling the story that I could never tell..." 

Ken Balcomb referring to the death of J35's calf while speaking at Meeting #3 of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force on August 7.

Ken Balcomb's comments (above) on "hard choices ... made easier" during the first meeting of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force (May 1)  

Ken Balcomb's presentation (above) at Hope for Orcas (May 17) 

ACTION: Ours and yours (June 2018 Newsletter)


Speaking Out: During the past three months, the Center for Whale Research has been actively involved in these initiatives impacting the Southern Resident orcas: 

 

 

What action can you take?
ACTION: Ours and yours (March 2018 Newsletter)


During the first two months of 2018, the Center for Whale Research has again been active in Chinook salmon advocacy:

 

  • With assistance from Florian Graner, CWR produced a 15-second video that ran for the entire month of January on Washington State Ferries' onboard information monitors. The footage communicated the critical importance of Chinook salmon in the survival of the Southern Resident killer whales.

  • CWR participated with DAMSENSE.org in a campaign asking federal and state governments to immediately remove the Lower Snake River dam to hasten the recovery of the Chinook salmon that spawn in the Snake River. The action campaign included a full-page ad in The Seattle Times and petition to be sent to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, and Senators Patty Murray and Marie Cantwell.

 

What action can you take?

  • Sign the DAMSENSE petition  that will be sent to Governor Jay Inslee, Senator Patty Murray, and Senator Marie Cantwell: Dammed to extinction, Southern Resident Orcas are starving. Time is running out! The petition stands at 41,000+ names . . . on its way to a goal of 50,000.

  • Support organizations who are making real progress on the issues of salmon and orca health and recovery:

  • And as important as any of the above: 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.

Updated Draft Recommendations and Public Comment

 

The Draft Recommendations portion of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force report were revised October 24. The draft recommendations were amended following the October 17 and 18 Task Force meeting (details further down this page).

 

Public Comment Survey on the new draft recommendations MUST be made before midnight on October 29, 2018. This is one of the last opportunities for you to speak directly to the Task Force prior to submitting their final report and recommendations to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee sometime in November following Task Force Meeting #6 (November 6, 9:30 am-5:30 pm, at the Washington State Fair Events Center, Puyallup, WA).

 

The Task Force co-chairs have stated that all public comments are being reviewed and that public involvement is a critical element of the Task Force process. Public comments collected and reviewed by task force members will be made available to the public. Please read the Draft Recommendations report and comment by completing the linked Public Comment Survey before midnight on October 29, 2018.

Most Recent Task Force Meeting

October 17 & 18 (Tacoma, Washington)

Materials presented at the meeting included:

Watch TVW’s video broadcasts of the meeting:

SRKW Task Force Background

On March 14, 2018, State of Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed Executive Order 18-02: “. . . designating state agencies to take several immediate actions to benefit Southern Residents [killer whales], and establishing a Task Force to develop longer-term action recommendations for orca recovery and future sustainability.”

     The Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force include representatives from the state legislature; officials from tribal, federal, local, and other state governments and the Government of Canada; and spokespersons for the non-profit sector and private sectors.

     The Task Force was “charged with preparing a comprehensive report and recommendations for recovering Southern Residents, with a full draft due by October 1, 2018, and a final report by November 1, 2018. The report should detail actions that will address all of the major threats to Southern Residents, including prey availability, toxic contaminants, and disturbance from noise and vessel traffic. A second report outlining the progress made, lessons learned, and outstanding needs will be completed by October 1, 2019.”

Informational Webinars

On September 27, the Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force hosted the fourth of its informational webinars: Lower Snake River dams panel discussion; recording of the panel discussion.

Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force - 

The Task Force is charged with preparing a comprehensive report and recommendations for recovering Southern Residents, with a full draft due by October 1, 2018, and a final report by November 1, 2018. The report should detail actions that will address all of the major threats to Southern Residents, including prey availability, toxic contaminants, and disturbance from noise and vessel traffic. A second report outlining the progress made, lessons learned, and outstanding needs will be completed by October 1, 2019.

Link for more information.

Ken Balcomb, CWR Founder, and Senior Scientist, speaking at the Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force meeting on August 7, 2018 

Meeting #2 - June 14, 2018

Summary of Meeting

Meeting #4 - August 28, 2018

Agenda

Survey Results

More information

 

current CWR Action

The Center for Whale Research's number one priority is the continuation of the Orca Survey project. However, we are working very hard advocating for immediate action on the Chinook salmon recovery front. Also, we are actively reaching out to as many people as we can with a focused educational message, asking these individuals, like you, to take personal action to push positive change on the salmon issue, for the benefit of the Southern Resident orcas. See Members news (i.e., What other action can you take?) for some ideas about other things that you can do to help.​​

Speaking Out: During the summer months, CWR spoke tirelessly and relentlessly to what we believe could save the Southern Resident orca community: Partial recovery of regional Chinook salmon stocks. The following are a sampling of the CWR message.
 
  • June 14: CWR's Ken Balcomb attended Meeting #2 of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force in Olympia, Washington (Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force Meeting #2: Summary).
    Note. Ken Balcomb is a Task Force member.
     

  • July 18: Ken Balcomb spoke at Superpod 6 in the San Juan Community Theatre in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. Those in attendance at Superpod 6, July 16-20, listened to an international group of scientists, filmmakers, authors, journalists, and orca advocates who want to see killer whales thrive in their natural habitat. Balcomb spoke on the subject of salmon abundance. View his and other Superpod 6 presentations on YouTube.  

​​

 

"The activities of the past two weeks are just the whales telling the story that I could never tell..." 

Ken Balcomb referring to the death of J35's calf while speaking at Meeting #3 of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force on August 7.

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