Please select your home edition
Edition
SWC newsletters (top)

Pacific Northwest celebrates Orca Action Month

by NOAA Fisheries 4 Aug 2019 07:50 UTC
A Southern Resident killer whale breaches in Puget Sound. © Monika Wieland Shields

The story of Southern Resident killer whale J35 carrying her dead calf for two weeks last summer attracted worldwide attention, prompting Orca Network to rename June "Orca Action Month," from the former "Orca Awareness Month," signaling the immediate action needed to recover the critically endangered whales.

NOAA Fisheries' West Coast Region applauds the change, and the collaboration between Orca Network and the Orca Salmon Alliance that brought advocates together to take even more action for the Southern Residents.

"Thirteen years ago Orca Network began celebrating Orca Awareness Month in Washington State and had recently expanded to Oregon and British Columbia," said Cindy Hansen, Education and Events Coordinator for Orca Network. "Also adding to this momentum and expansion has been the partnership with the Orca Salmon Alliance for the past several years. This year we decided that since J35 raised so much awareness with her story, we would change the name from Orca Awareness Month to Orca Action Month."

Partners in action

The month rallied support for actions everyone can take to recover the Southern Resident killer whales. For example, Friends of North Creek Forest organized a river restoration party in Bothell, Washington. This work party saw people using shovels to plant native plants and remove invasive species, all to benefit salmon, the primary prey of the Southern Residents.

On June 9, the day after World Oceans Day, Orca Network, Whale Scout, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation led a coordinated beach cleanup at 15 locations in Washington and Oregon. The Seattle Aquarium, Washington State Parks, and Port Townsend Marine Science Center also held Orca Action Month events that educated people about killer whales and called people in the Northwest to action.

"Visitors often ask us what they can do to help save our local orcas," said Nora Nickum, Ocean Policy Advisor for the Seattle Aquarium. "The Seattle Aquarium aspires to turn knowledge into inspiration and provide tangible actions, from things that people can do at home to policies that they can support in the Legislature. We know that our future, the future of our Southern Resident orcas, and the future of the Salish Sea are all inextricably linked.

"Our annual Orca Weekend celebration is an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the orcas, hear from researchers in the field, do fun hands-on activities, and learn about ways we can all help the orcas recover. We are excited to also be joined by many of our Orca Salmon Alliance partners who are doing great work around the region."

What can you do?

Just a few changes in your daily activities and outlook can add up to meaningful action to help the whales and the salmon they eat. For example:

  • Prevent toxic runoff into streams and the ocean from car oils and fluids by fixing car leaks.
  • Conserving water by watering your lawn less.
  • Landscape with native plants to avoid fertilizer and pesticide runoff into streams and the coastal waters.
  • Plant native plants and trees along creeks and streams to provide shade and nutrients.
  • Boaters and kayakers can follow Be Whale Wise guidelines at org to prevent disturbing the whales when they are foraging and resting.

Check out this page for more groups and volunteer opportunities to help promote recovery of the Southern Residents.

Orca Action Month's official website also remains a resource for people who want to get involved. Even if you missed some events, you can still contact organizations that pursue action throughout the year.

For more ways to help recover Southern Resident killer whales and improve the health of the ocean, follow the links provided. It's not too late to make a difference!

Links:

Related Articles

Little relief in the deep for heat-stressed corals
New research shows coral reefs in deeper water aren't immune to warming seas and coral bleaching A team of NOAA scientists recently examined more than a thousand hot water events on coral reefs across the Pacific Ocean. Posted on 16 Jan
How to help free entangled whales in Hawaii
Course helps to better assist trained responders disentangle large whales Entanglement in ropes, nets, and other marine debris is a major threat to the humpbacks and other large whales of Hawaii. But attempting to free an entangled, multi-ton whale is inherently dangerous. Posted on 16 Jan
Introducing Pacific Islands feature stories 2019
A recent study used machine learning to examine vocalizations of false killer whale populations Over the past decade, researchers have determined that false killer whales around the Hawaiian Islands have three distinct populations, one of which is endangered. Posted on 13 Jan
Announcing Mission: Iconic Reefs
A large-scale coral reef restoration effort in the Florida Keys I'm excited to let you know that NOAA Fisheries, along with NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and other partners, have launched a coral reef restoration effort titled Mission: Iconic Reefs. Posted on 12 Jan
Pacific Islands Must-Reads of 2019
The 10 stories that resonated the most with readers In 2019, we brought you science and conservation stories covering a wide range of topics important to the Pacific Islands region. Posted on 12 Jan
Top photos of 2019 from NOAA Fisheries
The longest-running ocean monitoring program on the planet Those of us fortunate enough to live on the West Coast know that the Pacific Ocean changes constantly, with dramatic effects on our weather, fisheries, and species from sardines to sharks that populate the California Current Ecosystem. Posted on 11 Jan
Top photos of 2019 from NOAA Fisheries
Five most liked Instagram photos of 2019 A very large flatfish, flying squid, and grumpy lumpfish are among our five most liked Instagram photos of 2019. Posted on 22 Dec 2019
Resilient New England Coral
The northern star coral is uniquely able to live in a variety of environments and climates The northern star coral is uniquely able to live in a variety of environments and climates, including New England. The secrets of its adaptability may help tropical coral reefs. Posted on 21 Dec 2019
Your favorite features of 2019
See our list of the top 5 feature stories of 2019 Sharks, sea turtles, and whales—oh my! See our list of the top 5 feature stories of 2019. Posted on 21 Dec 2019
Lava flow time portals
Understanding the development of deep-water coral communities Deep-water coral communities are some of the most diverse and productive environments in the deep ocean. They provide habitat for an array of organisms including some not yet known to science. Posted on 20 Dec 2019
MBW newsletters (top)