December 28, 2016
10 ways to help save Puget Sound’s resident orcas TODAY!
After the most recent decline in the Southern Resident Killer Whale population, many supporters are asking “What can we do, TODAY!?” to help conserve this endangered population.
#1 Support Organizations Protecting Orcas and Salmon
Many regional non-profit organizations support healthy watersheds, salmon, and orca conservation initiatives. Choose to donate monetary funds, or volunteer your time. Computer, writing, and/or trade skills will be put to good use! Non-profits need both resources to have successful campaigns. Orca Network, Long Live the Kings, Save our Wild Salmon, and People for Puget Sound are just a few of the many organizations to inquire with about donating time or funds.
Learn more about the importance of salmon to orca survival.
#2 Whale Watch with a Reputable Operator
Choose a whale watch & wildlife tour company that focuses on responsible wildlife viewing, education, and conservation. A reputable operator will follow all federally mandated laws as well as voluntary viewing guidelines established by the Pacific Whale Watch Association. Ask about the company’s commitment to orca and salmon conservation. Learn more about the Be Whale Wise guidelines.
#3 Speak Up for Wild Salmon
Restoring the wild chinook salmon, the SRKW’s #1 food source, has been identified by the Center for Whale Research as the top priority in saving the endangered orca population. Encourage policy makers to think critically about the removal of the four outdated lower Snake River dams, which are preventing millions of wild chinook salmon from spawning. Learn out the successful dam removal and restoration of the Elwha River.
Learn about our Conservation Initiative.
#4 Say No to Plastic
Single-use plastic products often end up in our world’s oceans, where fragments break down into fine particles and are absorbed into marine life. The accumulation of plastic in the ocean contribute to habitat destruction. Plus, those non-degradable microscopic plastic particles are consumed by organisms at the lowest level of the food chain, and are eventually consumed by apex predators, including killer whales. Make a commitment to use reusable cloth grocery bags, carry a reusable water bottle, and store food in nondisposable containers. The orcas and oceans will thank you!
#5 Learn About the Salish Sea from the Water Level
Get familiar with the Salish Sea eco-system by tidepooling, renting a recreational kayak, or by joining a guided kayak tour. Naturalist guides inform and educate participants about the smallest and most important organism of the Puget Sound that play an integral role in the health of the marine environment.
#6 Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner
Of course we want you and Fido to enjoy the ocean together! But please remember to practice ocean-friendly behavior with your pets. Pet waste is harmful to water supplies. High levels of bacteria found in pet waste can contribute to the destruction of shellfish beds. Keep pets away from marine mammals, such as harbor seal pups, that are resting on beaches. Dogs can transfer canine diseases to marine mammals through direct contact or pet waste. Never purchase wild caught fish or coral harvested from the ocean for your at-home salt water aquarium.
#7 Choose Responsibly Sourced and Sustainable Seafood
Regional and global fish populations are impacted in part by habitat loss and unstainable fishing practices. Learn about farmed fish and its impacts on native wild salmon populations. Resources are available here and here to help with your sustainable seafood purchase decisions.
#8 Choose Natural Products
Many daily household cleaners, such as dishwasher detergent or bathroom cleaners, contain toxic ingredients that can get into groundwater, eventually making its way to the ocean. Phosphates found in laundry detergent cause an overgrowth of algae and aquatic weeds, which choke the oxygen from the bottom of the food chain. NPEs found in all-purpose cleaners are known to be endocrine disruptors, which effect hormone function, impairing the reproductive health of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Natural cleaning products, such as vinegar and baking soda, are great substitutes.
#9 Report Whale Sightings
Each summer, the Southern Resident Orcas predictably return to the waters surrounding San Juan Island following the salmon runs. Up until a few years ago, little was known about their winter travel patterns, however. While researchers now have a good idea of where the Southern Resident Orcas are foraging every November through March, current sightings reports are essential to maintaining up-to-date information of the SRKW’s full travel range. Current information means greater protection for their entire travel range from central California to central Vancouver Island. Report sightings to Orca Network, Whale Museum, and Center for Whale Research.
#10 Small Changes, Big Impacts
Yes, it’s true! Small, every day choices to conserve and reduce energy consumption impacts the health of the oceans and Southern Resident Killer Whales. Switch to compact florescent light bulbs, walk or bike to work, turn off the water while teeth brushing, and only run full loads of dirty laundry or dishes in your appliances. The list is endless!
Since the inception of San Juan Safaris and San Juan Island Outfitters’ Conservation Fund in 2015, over $24,000 has been donated to three organizations: The Center for Whale Research, Save Our Wild Salmon, and Long Live the Kings. Small local organizations including The Whale Museum, San Juan County Land Bank, San Juan Preservation Trust, and the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea also received donations as part of the Conservation Fund.
Brian Goodremont, business owner of San Juan Safaris and San Juan Island Outfitters, says that “after careful research and consultation with government and non-governmental organizations, we have determined that these three recipients of the Conservation Fund would have the greatest ability to make the largest positive impact on the overall health of the Southern Resident Killer Whales and their recovery through research and salmon restoration.”
By choosing San Juan Safaris and San Juan Island Outfitters for their whale watch and sea kayak tour experience, guests contribute to the conservation effort. For every tour ticket sold, $1 was donated to orca and salmon conservation. All donations were collected as a Conservation Fee per each ticket sold.