[MARMAM] To share: scientist sign-on letter for Southern Resident killer whale critical habitat

Colleen Weiler cmweiler77 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 10 15:35:34 PST 2019


Dear MARMAM community,

The Southern Resident killer whales (SRKWs) are one of the most endangered
marine mammal populations in the world and are continuing to decline with
only 73 individuals left in the wild.  After being listed under the US
Endangered Species Act in 2005, critical habitat was designated in the
population's typical spring/summer habitat - the inland waters of the
Salish Sea.  A designation for the coastal portion of their range (Northern
California through Washington coastal waters) was deferred due to lack of
data.  The information compiled since then overwhelmingly shows the
importance of coastal habitat for the SRKWs.  They rely on seasonal salmon
runs as far south as the Central Valley in California, and spend a
significant portion of the year off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and
California.  The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the National
Marine Fisheries Service to revise critical habitat and include coastal
waters in 2014, and the proposed rule was finally released this fall.  The
SRKW community has continued to decline since their 2005 ESA listing, and
are in dire need of additional protective measures.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Whale and Dolphin Conservation have
collaborated to draft this scientist support letter for expanding SRKW
critical habitat,
<https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdEkWckdGUNiRFNwps-q-KtCpsoroUqbJdIxqT5QkqhUaiTug/viewform?usp=sf_link>
and we hope the MARMAM scientific community can show strong support for
this revision and urge NMFS to finalize this proposal ASAP.  The support of
expert scientists will help ensure that the essential things SRKWs need to
survive - available prey, better water quality, and safe passage conditions
- are protected in their coastal range, and helps confirm the strength of
the science this rule is based on.

The letter and sign-on detail can be viewed/accessed here
<https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdEkWckdGUNiRFNwps-q-KtCpsoroUqbJdIxqT5QkqhUaiTug/viewform?usp=sf_link>

Please contact colleen.weiler at whales.org with any questions, comments, or
minor edits.

Cheers,
-Colleen

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