Young whale finds its way out of Southern California harbor

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/wayward-humpback-whale-stuck-in-california-harbor/2017/05/20/ce924696-3dc8-11e7-a59b-26e0451a96fd_story.html?utm_term=.419b5e375c0b
May 21 at 3:00 PM
VENTURA, Calif. — A humpback whale that made a big splash with boaters after wandering into a Southern California harbor was on the move again Sunday after finding its way back to the open ocean.

“We have great news,” an ecstatic Ventura Harbormaster John Higgins told The Associated Press. “The whale was able to find its way out.”

Authorities may have helped it on its way by playing a continuous loop of humpback whale feeding sounds overnight near the harbor’s entrance-exit point.

The idea was to draw the whale toward the open water under the belief there would be something good to eat.

The 40-foot-long creature had wowed boaters and passers-by on shore for hours Saturday after it arrived in the small fishing harbor north of Los Angeles.

People stood on small boats and docks watching it swim back and forth and occasionally surface.

Whale experts told Higgins it appeared to be a healthy juvenile, although he didn’t know its age.

The Coast Guard, National Parks Service, authorities and volunteers spent hours trying unsuccessfully to shepherd it back to the ocean.

After blocking its path with boats and banging on pipes failed to work, they tried the whale feeding sounds. The tactic finally succeeded after they cleared everyone out of the area and moved the underwater speakers closer to the ocean.

Authorities discovered the whale had left on its own when they returned in the morning, Higgins said.

As far as he knows, the young humpback was the first to pay a visit to Ventura Harbor.

“We’ve had California grey whales just peek into the harbor as they’re going up and down the coast,” he said. “But none have ever gone into the harbor.”

Humpback whale babies ‘whisper’ to their moms to avoid detection by predators

Researchers have found that newborn humpbacks communicate quietly while nursing, resting

By Brandie Weikle, CBC News <http://www.cbc.ca/news/cbc-news-online-news-staff-list-1.1294364> Posted: Apr 28, 2017 12:19 PM ET Last Updated: Apr 28, 2017 1:02 PM ET

Baby humpback whales use quiet sounds to keep close to their mothers on the long migration to feeding grounds in cooler waters, according to research published Thursday in the journal Functional Ecology. <https://i.cbc.ca/1.4090405.1493397595%21/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/16x9_620/humpback-whale-whisper.jpg>

Baby humpback whales use quiet sounds to keep close to their mothers on the long migration to feeding grounds in cooler waters, according to research published Thursday in the journal Functional Ecology. (David Gray/Reuters)

Newborn humpback whales “whisper” to their mothers to avoid being detected by predators such as killer whales, new research suggests.

Never captured before, the baby whale call recordings were collected using tags placed temporarily on the whales by a team of ecologists in Denmark, Australia and Scotland. Their findings were published Thursday in the journal Functional Ecology <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2435.12871/full> .

Lead author Simone Videsen, a marine biologist from Aarhus University in Denmark — along with colleagues from Murdoch University in Australia and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland — tagged eight humpback calves and two mothers with suction-cup-like devices that record sound and movement for 48 hours before floating to the surface.

They found that the young whales communicated with their moms using quiet grunts and squeaks much different than the long, haunting songs heard in previous humpback recordings.

“We know humpback whales are known for their long songs. These are short and sporadic compared to these long songs,” said Videsen in an interview with CBC News.

The calls are used to keep the mother and calf together in the murky waters of their breeding ground in the Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia, where visibility is only two to three metres, she said.

Videsen said the quiet calls may be used to prevent detection by predators.

Killer whales hunt young humpback calves in this region. “One hypothesis could be that they produce weaker signals to avoid predation by killer whales,” she said.

Dead-beat whale dads

The low-volume communication may also help the mother-and-child pairs avoid another problematic interruption of baby’s nursing time: the approach of male humpbacks who want to mate with the nursing females.

Male humpback whales are opportunistic breeders who compete for mating partners and don’t play a role in the lives of their young. In fact, they get in the way of newborn whales who need to suckle.

Humpback whales spend their summers in the food-rich waters of the Antarctic or Arctic. In the winter they migrate to the tropics to breed.

The migration out of the tropics is demanding for the young calves, who must travel more than 8,000 kilometres through rough seas.

Tracking the behaviour patterns of the newborns, particularly their nursing relationships with their mothers, will help scientists to better target conservation efforts, says Videsen.

humpback-whale-whisper <https://i.cbc.ca/1.4090433.1493397990%21/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/original_620/humpback-whale-whisper.jpg>

Shipping traffic in busy seaways can disrupt whale migration and potentially separate calves from their mothers by masking the sounds they use to stay together, according to the research by ecologists in Denmark, Australia and Scotland. (Mathieu Belanger/Reuters)

“From our research, we have learned that mother-calf pairs are likely to be sensitive to increases in ship noise. Because mother and calf communicate in whispers, shipping noise could easily mask these quiet calls.”

Humpbacks are slow to reproduce. Pregnancy lasts for about a year and calves stay with their mothers for their first year of life.

‘It’s crucial for them to gain a lot of weight to be able to survive the migration back.’ – Simone Videsen, marine biologist

While in tropical waters, the babies must gain as much weight as possible — growing as much as a metre per month — in order to endure their first long swim to cooler waters.

“It’s crucial for them to gain a lot of weight to be able to survive the migration back,” said Videsen.

There are two major humpback whale populations, one in each hemisphere.

Shipping problems

The humpback whale population that feeds in North Atlantic waters each summer was removed from the Endangered Species Act last year.

Still, the whales remain vulnerable to boat traffic.

U.S. government scientists launched an investigation on Thursday into an unusually large number of humpback whale deaths from North Carolina to Maine, the first such “unusual mortality event” declaration in a decade.

Forty-one whales have died in the region in 2016 and so far in 2017, far exceeding the average of about 14 per year, said Deborah Fauquier, a veterinary medical officer with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries in Maryland.

Ten of the 20 whales that have been examined so far were killed by collisions with boats, something scientists are currently at a loss to explain because there’s been no corresponding spike in ship traffic.

The investigation will focus on possible common threads like toxins and illness, prey movement that could bring whales into shipping lanes, or other factors, officials said.

Videsen said that moms and their calves often lie on the surface of the water where they can be prone to ship collision, adding she hopes research like theirs can be used to help inform the shipping industry.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/humpback-whale-whisper-1.4088625

Save Bryde’s whales from extinction

What this message is about
from HSUS.org

The fragile population of Bryde’s whales in the Gulf of Mexico declined by almost 20 percent in the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and another 20 percent are estimated to have suffered health and reproductive effects as a result. Fewer than 100 of these whales are believed to be alive in the region.

Their limited year-round habitat is once again being targeted by oil and gas developers, putting them at risk of extinction if more isn’t done to protect them.

Please urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to list Bryde’s whales in the Gulf of Mexico as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act in order to safeguard their future.

Humpback whale “anchored” by fishing gear rescued off Boston

Read more at http://www.grindtv.com/wildlife/humpback-whale-anchored-fishing-gear-rescued-off-boston/#1XMtfstShYiBILVH.99

A juvenile humpback whale that had become “anchored” to the sea floor by fishing ropes has been rescued off the Boston area.

Ropes attached to submerged fishing traps were wrapped around the base of the whale’s fluke, or tail. While the mammal could surface to breathe, it struggled to swim.

The whale had been in this perilous situation since at least last Thursday, when it was discovered by commercial fishermen. “The whale had likely been anchored by its entanglement for the better part of a week,” the Center for Coastal Studies said in a statement posted Monday.

Rough weather hampered the rescue effort until the weekend, but on Sunday a team involving the CCS, Massachusetts Environmental Police, and U.S. Coast Guard completed a successful disentanglement.

RELATED: Humpback whale calf isn’t about to let stranded mom die; video

Rescue work was performed from an inflatable vessel. The team used a hook-shaped knife attached to a 30-foot pole to remove ropes from the whale’s injured fluke

After the 30-foot whale was freed, the team followed the cetacean for two hours and reported, “While the prognosis for the whale is now much better, it will take time for it to heal.”

Last week off Northern California, commercial fishermen took matters into their own hands and cut loose a humpback whale that had become badly entangled in crab-fishing gear.
Read more at http://www.grindtv.com/wildlife/humpback-whale-anchored-fishing-gear-rescued-off-boston/#1XMtfstShYiBILVH.99

British Columbia Humpbacks May Soon Lose Ocean Quiet

Off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, humpbacks are making a comeback. A proposed supertanker highway, however, could change that. ©From the video “Whale Haven” by Pacific Wild

Off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, humpbacks are making a comeback. A proposed supertanker highway, however, could change that. ©From the video “Whale Haven” by Pacific Wild

by Candice Gaukel Andrews August 4, 2016

Video: British Columbia Humpbacks May Soon Lose Ocean Quiet

In some of the last quiet, pristine waters on the British Columbia Coast, humpback whales are making a comeback. In the mid 1960s, when Canada stopped whaling on its West Coast, there were only about 1,500 of them left in the North Pacific. Ten years ago, a study estimated that their numbers had multiplied to about 22,000.

Today, however, these whales are facing another huge menace: a proposed supertanker highway through one of their few remaining peaceful havens. A massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) project that’s being planned for the northern part of the province and possible bitumen oil pipelines from the Alberta tar sands to the B.C. Coast would route a potential 2,000 to 3,000 tankers through the Great Bear Sea per year, putting whales in daily risk of ship strikes.

A quiet ocean is essential for humpbacks; they largely use sound instead of sight to navigate, avoid predators, forage for food and find mates. ©From the video “Whale Haven” by Pacific Wild

A quiet ocean is essential for humpbacks; they largely use sound instead of sight to navigate, avoid predators, forage for food and find mates. ©From the video “Whale Haven” by Pacific Wild

That’s not the only danger the tankers would pose. If the pipelines are approved, each ship would carry over two million barrels of oil—the equivalent of 127, Olympic-size swimming pools. These colossal quantities of oil traveling along one of the world’s most dangerous shipping routes means that there’s a high risk of spillage. Smaller leaks and spills and the introduction of invasive, exotic species are additional threats these huge boats would bring to the waters of the Great Bear Sea. And, supertankers are the loudest marine vessels on Earth. Here, where current low noise levels allow the whales to communicate and forage successfully, the thunder of these carriers could displace the whales again.

Video: British Columbia Humpbacks May Soon Lose Ocean Quiet

Federal Court: Navy Must Limit Long-Range Sonar Use to Protect Marine Mammal

https://www.nrdc.org/media/2016/160718

Siding with NGOs for 3rd time, Court tells Navy that protecting marine mammal habitat is “of paramount importance”

SAN FRANCISCO – In a unanimous rebuke, the Ninth Circuit court ruled Friday that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) had illegally approved a permit authorizing the Navy to use its high-intensity long-range sonar – called low-frequency active sonar (or LFA) – in more than 70 percent of the world’s oceans. Designed for submarine detection over vast expanses of deep sea, LFA has the capacity to expose thousands of square miles – and everything in it – to dangerous levels of noise.

The case against the Fisheries Service was brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), The Humane Society of the United States, Cetacean Society International, League for Coastal Protection, Ocean Futures Society and its President Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Michael Stocker, a bioacoustician and director of Ocean Conservation Research in California.

In its decision, the three-judge panel found that the Fisheries Service had unlawfully ignored reasonable safeguards recommended by the government’s own scientists to reduce or prevent harm from the sonar system, resulting in a “systematic underprotection of marine mammals” throughout “most of the oceans of the world.” Experts had recommended that the Fisheries Service protect the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off of Hawaii, Challenger Bank off of Bermuda, and other areas around the world important to whales, dolphins, seals, and other marine mammals. But the Fisheries Service went ahead and gave the Navy the greenlight to operate its intense sonar in the vast majority of these areas.

Among other things, the court also found that:

  • Protecting marine mammal habitat from Navy sonar is “of paramount importance” under the law.
  • The Fisheries Service has an independent responsibility to ensure the “least practicable impact on marine mammals” (i.e., the lowest possible level of harm)before giving the Navy – or anyone else – permission to harm these protected species; and that the Fisheries Service must err on the side of overprotection rather than underprotection.
  • The Fisheries Service had given “mere lip service” to the requirement to minimize impacts during Navy sonar training.
  • The law requires the Fisheries Service to mitigate harm to individual marine mammals and their habitat, rather than ignore its statutory responsibility until species as a whole are threatened.
Photo @ Jim Robertson

Photo @ Jim Robertson

Video: Sea Shepherd Saved a Life Today‏

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE
From Captain Oona Layolle

————————————-

Dear Friends,

While patrolling the vaquita refuge for illegal gillnets this weekend, we discovered a humpback whale hopelessly entangled in a gillnet. We knew that it was a race against time to save this exhausted humpback. Our crew jumped into action to rescue the whale from drowning and I notified the Mexican Navy and the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA).

Since mid-January, the crews of the R/V Martin Sheen and M/V Farley Mowat have worked tirelessly to find illegal gillnets and remove them from the Vaquita Refuge in the Gulf of California. Removing gillnets is vital to the survival of both the vaquita and the totoaba bass.

Gillnets are nets of death, trapping any marine life that comes into contact with them. The crew of both vessels have worked to develop net retrieval devices that uncover the sunken gillnets. Search teams from the ships, drag the net retrieval devices in search patterns to find nets daily. Once a net is located by the search teams, I notify the Mexican Navy so that we can remove the nets and the Navy can seize the illegal fishing gear.

With your continued support, the life-saving work of our crews, and our continued partnership with the Mexican Navy, we can save the vaquita from the brink of extinction.

For the oceans,

Captain Oona Layolle

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WATCH THE COMPELLING VIDEO
Sea Shepherd Saves Humpback Whale

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READ CAPTAIN OONA’S FULL REPORT
Learn More About the Rescue

Marine mammal strandings concern experts

http://www.dailyastorian.com/Local_News/20160218/marine-mammal-strandings-concern-experts?utm_source=Daily+Astorian+Updates&utm_campaign=451026f0b5-TEMPLATE_Daily_Astorian_Newsletter_Update&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e787c9ed3c-451026f0b5-109860249

 By Lyra Fontaine

EO Media Group

Published:February 18, 2016 9:01AM
Last changed:February 18, 2016 9:35AM

Daily Astorian/File Photo People stop to look at the dead humpback whale calf that washed ashore on the Seaside beach.

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Neal Maine/For EO Media Group
Workmen move the humpback whale that washed ashore in Seaside.

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A humpback whale that washed ashore in Seaside was one of several strandings

CANNON BEACH — The humpback whale stranded in Seaside in January may have become entangled or struck by a boat, according to Debbie Duffield, a Portland State University biology professor.

More than 30 people gathered for a lecture, “Marine Mammals, the Marine Mammal Stranding Network and Marine Reserves,” last week at the Cannon Beach Library.

The topic was particularly timely. In the past few weeks, a humpback whale washed ashore in Seaside, and a harbor porpoise and two striped dolphins were found on the North Coast. Experts are still waiting on necropsy results for the whale to see whether it was infected or if it had an accident.

The humpback has bruising that could have been from entanglement or a boat strike, Duffield said. It also carried a fairly heavy parasite load for a whale not more than 2 years old.

The presentation — a partnership between Duffield and Keith Chandler, the Seaside Aquarium general manager — was part of Haystack Rock Awareness Program’s lecture series.

The Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which Duffield and Chandler belong to, responds to mammal strandings from Tillamook to Long Beach, Washington. They see 149 stranded animals a year on average. The most common animals include California sea lions, harbor seals and Steller sea lions.

Strandings allow researchers to evaluate otherwise inaccessible animals, and necropsies tell scientists vital physiological and biological information. Marine mammals’ tissues are sampled and used for studies on ocean pollution, biotoxins and other environmental changes.

Once they evaluate a stranded animal, researchers take samples back to the university to study it in a controlled area and test for infections. After they finish the necropsies, they might prepare the bones for students to piece together.

“Every once in awhile we have species that, because of their charismatic value, are of great interest to everybody,” Duffield said.

For example, a killer whale was stranded in Long Beach several years ago, drawing veterinaries, researchers and onlookers alike. Duffield also recalls when a Baird’s beaked whale came in live in Seaside during a volleyball tournament. “Luckily, people weren’t around it when it started to die and thrash, because it could have killed somebody,” she said.

Why do these animals appear on shores? Seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins and porpoises are primarily stranded due to human interaction, such as gunshots, fisheries interaction and net entanglement. Bacterial disease, cancer and infections also cause strandings.

Sometimes the human-related interactions are extreme. Duffield displayed a jarring photo of a California sea lion that had part of its face destroyed by an explosive device.

She also showed a picture of plastics and debris on the Seaside beach. Sea lions get entangled in plastic bands, but since they bite, it’s difficult for humans to help them remove bands and recover from wounds. In 2010, a dead whale stranded in Washington’s Puget Sound beach had 50 gallons of material in its stomach that was mostly algae, but also human debris, such as sweatpants, plastic bags, duct tape and towels.

The Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network works to improve treatment and disentangle marine mammals from debris and fishery gear.

Duffield said that the animals are resilient. Seals and sea lions often carry worms in their stomach that can form ulcers. “They just live with that,” she said. “Their parasite loads are tremendous.”

The strandings may also point to larger forces at work. The El Niño climate pattern that’s increasing coastal temperatures, along with the warm “blob” of water in the north Pacific Ocean, affect the animals’ prey.

“We’re at the apex of these changes that we can actually follow annually,” Duffield said. “It’s a fascinating change that we’re living through.”

Marine experts seek answers in death of humpback whale

A whale washed up Sunday evening on the beach in Seaside. — Kyle Spurr/The Daily Astorian

 

SEASIDE — The dead 24-foot humpback whale that washed ashore on the north end of Seaside’s beach Sunday caused quite a stir.

A couple of dozen onlookers stopped to watch Tuesday as a team of marine experts from Portland State University and Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network volunteers performed a necropsy on the animal, which had been moved slightly inland and north on the beach. Some came to town specifically to see the whale.

The team collected biological samples that will be used to help determine a cause of death. If there are no “smoking guns,” such as bullet holes or something stuck in the mammal’s throat, then it can take days or weeks to determine a cause of death, said Keith Chandler, the general manager of Seaside Aquarium.

It was clear the animal did not die from old age, as it was only about a year old, Chandler said. He said it is not unusual to see a whale wash ashore on the North Coast, but they tend to be gray whales. Humpbacks are rare — Chandler said he has only see a few in his 20 years with the stranding network — but the species was spotted in nearby waters recently.

“There were a few humpbacks hanging out in the mouth of the Columbia River last year,” he said. “They are usually further offshore. It could have died offshore and with the storm, washed in.”

The whale was one of at least five cetaceans to wash up in the area in three days. A harbor porpoise and two striped dolphins were found Saturday. One dolphin was found in Cannon Beach and the other in Ocean Park, Washington. A third striped dolphin washed ashore in Seaside Monday. Chandler said it is “quite unusual to get them all together,” especially the striped dolphins.

The Ocean Park dolphin showed signs of being entangled in a net and had a hole in its tail that appeared to be from a gaff, Chandler said. The dolphin from Seaside had a similar hole in the same area, but it had not undergone a necropsy by Tuesday. Chandler said it could be a single event — getting caught in the net — that caused the unusual occurrence of killing multiple dolphins at once. If a single event is the cause of death, Chandler said, then “we know it’s just an accident,” as opposed to persistent conditions impacting a species, like disease.

City crews planned to bury the whale at the beach by Wednesday morning.

http://www.dailyastorian.com/Local_News/20160203/marine-experts-seek-answers-in-death-of-humpback-whale?utm_source=Daily+Astorian+Updates&utm_campaign=b5c32b3710-TEMPLATE_Daily_Astorian_Newsletter_Update&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e787c9ed3c-b5c32b3710-109860249

Orca Expert says: Breach the Snake River Dams

Breach the Snake River Dams

Posted here:http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/15/breach-the-snake-river-dams/ by Carl Safina of The Safina Center on June 15, 2015

By Kenneth Balcomb, guest essayist

Note: In this guest essay, long-time killer whale researcher Ken Balcomb shows how obsolete but still salmon-killing dams are helping cause the decline of killer whales due to food shortage in the Northwest. The dams do feed us one thing: propaganda. As Ken wrote to me, “I was flabbergasted that the dams are closed to photography, and that their wasteful secret is downplayed in the mainstream propaganda fed to the public.” For more on the dams, see my book Song for the Blue Ocean. For more on Ken and the whales he has spent his life loving and studying, see my soon-to-be-released book Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel, which will hit bookstores on July 14. — Carl Safina

I have studied the majestic southern resident killer whales of the Pacific Northwest for forty years (approximately one productive lifespan – whale or human), during which time much has been learned and shared with the world about this iconic endangered population. They are now arguably the best known whales in the world! But, that was not always the case. The common response in the 1960‘s and 1970‘s to my announcement that I was studying whales was, “Why?” “What good are they?”

My best response was to point out that as top marine predators whales are indicators of the health of that environment in which they live – the ocean – and that is also an environment upon which humans depend. Now, with growing numbers of people appreciating the whales’ natural role in the marine environment, and better understanding their ecological requirement for specific food—Chinook salmon in this case—to survive, the conversation has moved toward a strategy of how best to provide that food. There is currently an active discussion about removal of the Snake River dams to save fish, or whales. The issue of whether dams should be breached to provide this food for the whales has now arrived. Would that be reasonable? Are we sure that will work?

I don’t consider this lightly. I tend to consider the status quo of institutions and structures to be enduring and worthy of protection, even if only as displays of the truly amazing feats our species has achieved in the course of human evolution and ingenuity. Not all of our feats have been without unforeseen consequence, however; and, most tend to crumble over time anyway. Dams require maintenance, and they eventually fill with sediment.

Until recently, dam removal was against my conservative nature. And it still seems to be counter to our government’s intent. This is in spite of clear evidence that the salmon-eating population of “killer” whales that I am studying is on a path to extinction along with significant populations of their main food resource—Chinook salmon—huge numbers of which formerly spawned and returned to the Snake River, and fed whales in the Pacific Ocean and humans, before the dams were built.

I had to see for myself what was going on in the Snake River watershed currently. So last week my brother and I drove up the highway to visit the dams on the Columbia River and upstream, sightseeing and taking photos and videos along the way and learning about the current passage of remnant populations of salmon.

But when we got to the McNary and Ice Harbor dams just below the Snake River and on it, it seemed as if an iron curtain had come down and we were prevented from taking any photographs, or even carrying cameras and cell phones behind the fences surrounding the dam structures. It was as if something was being hidden from view. And, it was. There was no point in our continuing upstream to Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite dams to take photographs and videos of fish passage, because that was not allowed.

Lower Monumental Dam, Snake River
Lower Monumental Dam, Snake River, Photo: USACE

In truth, already well known to others but not to me, these four Snake River dams are obsolete for their intended purposes and are being maintained at huge taxpayer expense for the benefit of a very few users. Plus, they are salmon-killers in a former river (now a series of lakes) that historically provided spawning and rearing habitat for millions of Chinook salmon. And, they now doom all technological attempts to bolster these salmon populations to expensive failure.

Even many of the Army Corps of Engineers’ internal documents recommend that returning the river to natural or normative conditions may be the only recovery scenario for Snake River fall Chinook salmon, and it will also benefit other salmon populations.

You and I are paying for this economic and ecological blemish with our tax dollars spent to maintain structures and negative return on investment in power generation, “barge” transportation, and recreation. The question I would now ask is “Why?” and “What good are they?”

Killer Whales off San Juan Island
Killer whales off San Juan Island, Photo by Carl Safina

Removal can be done inexpensively and doing so makes perfect ecological sense. The technological fixes for the dams have not improved wild salmon runs, and there is nothing left to try. There are no fixes for the deadly lakes behind the dams. As a nation, we are dangerously close to managing the beloved southern resident killer whale population to quasi-extinction (less than 30 breeding animals) as a result of diminishing populations of Chinook salmon upon which they depend. There are only about eighty of these whales now remaining (including juveniles and post-reproductive animals), down from nearly 100 two decades ago and down from 87 when they were listed as “Endangered” in 2005.

If you really want to have healthy ecosystems with salmon and whales in the Pacific Northwest future, and save tax/rate payer money at the same time, please contact or mail your thoughts to your elected representatives in support of a Presidential mandate to begin the return of the Snake River ecosystem to natural or normative conditions by the end of the current presidential administration. The time is now!

When they are gone it will be forever. Returning the Snake River to natural condition will help salmon and whales, and save money. Please do not wait until all are gone. Call or write your representatives today!

 

Ken Balcomb, 11 June 2015

Senior Scientist, Center for Whale Research