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Now that the legislative session is over, where do the Orca Task Force recommendations stand? Has progress been made? The BOLD team has the answers in this easy-to-read scorecard.

Now that the legislative session is over, where do the Orca Task Force recommendations stand? Has progress been made? The BOLD team has the answers in this easy-to-read scorecard.

Thank you to everyone who’s been following and engaging with their legislators to help critical bills get passed! There is still more work to be done in a lot of areas as you will find out in this report particularly in funding salmon habitat projects.

Help Salmon in Bear Creek

Volunteer to make a difference for orcas in Redmond! Join us at a private property site located along Bear Creek to plant native trees and remove non-native and invasive vegetation. Restoring this riparian zone is fun and helps the salmon that feed whales! Please meet at PCC in Redmond (11435 Avondale Rd NE, Redmond, WA 98052) and we will walk to the property together. This is about a 6 minute walk. Please email us if you have accessibility concerns.

Help Salmon in Bear Creek

Volunteer to make a difference for orcas in Redmond! Join us at a private property site located along Bear Creek to plant native trees and remove non-native and invasive vegetation. Restoring this riparian zone is fun and helps the salmon that feed whales! Please meet at PCC in Redmond (11435 Avondale Rd NE, Redmond, WA 98052) and we will walk to the property together. This is about a 6 minute walk. Please email us if you have accessibility concerns.

Plant Trees at the Maury Island Marine Park

Spend a fun-filled day at a beautiful park with other orca and salmon enthusiasts! The Maury Island Marine Park was once a former gravel mine the large sections of the surface including all vegetation removed. Whale Scout volunteers have helped King County Parks reforest this site over the last several years but there are still more trees to be planted! Adding trees will restore the natural erosional processes that bring just the right about of sediment down into the nearshore for small fish to grow up and become orca food. For full event details, click here.

Are Pink Salmon a Threat to Southern Resident Orcas? Salmon Scientist Dr. Greg Ruggerone weighs in.

Photo Courtesy of Natural Resources Consultants

Dr. Greg Ruggerone joins us in-studio to discuss interesting biennial trends related to the boom and bust abundance levels of pink salmon and Southern Resident killer whale births and deaths. Since Southern Resident killer whales don’t directly prey upon pink salmon in a significant way, what’s the connection here? Dr. Greg Ruggerone walks us through how he has tried to answer this question and explains other biennial trends seen throughout marine ecosystems in the Pacific.

Dr. Greg Ruggerone is President of Natural Resources Consultants with over 35 years of experience studying salmon. His recent paper on possible interactions between pink salmon and killer whales caught the attention of the media earlier this year.

3 minutes to tell us how we are doing and you could win $100 on Kenmore Air and a mug!

Whale Scout wants to know how we’re making an impact so we can make improvements in the future. Could you take just three minutes of your time to tell us how we’re doing? Please complete this survey by July 24th to be entered into the drawing for prizes. Must be 18 and older, one entry per person.

Southern Residents Finally Return!

On July 5th J and K pods finally returned to the inland waters of Washington after an unprecedented absence. Thrilling whale watchers on boats and on shore, the killer whales spent most of the day shuffling back and forth on the west side of San Juan Island before making a trip north towards the mouth of the Fraser River.

A long-time Whale Scout volunteer naturalist named Michelle Borsz Kuntz, who moved home to Ohio but happened to be on San Juan Island for her honeymoon, captured this video taken from shore at Lime Kiln State Park.

Those of us who follow the whales’ movements and stories excitedly awaited news of any new calves, and to hear how all the members of each pod were doing. The Center for Whale Research announced that the newest J pod calf originally spotted off Tofino was present and is in fact a female! J31 Tsuchi was determined to be the mother. Sadly, J17 Princess Angeline and K25 Scoter, who both had been in poor physical condition, were not seen by the Center or other observers with their respective pods. While they have not been pronounced dead, their outlook was reported as “grim.”

J31 Tsuchi and her ~2 month old daughter J56 on July 7 passing Lime Kiln Lighthouse. Photo taken from shore and cropped.http://www.orcabehaviorinstitute.org

J and K pods left the inland waters after only a couple days. Without enough salmon in the area to sustain them, the whales must move on to find the fish. This area of the San Juan Islands is where the whales would typically be feeding on salmon returning to spawn in the Fraser River in B.C. Those runs have suffered significant losses over the years.

Salmon habitat restoration continues to be an important factor in keeping these whales alive, healthy, and returning to their “usual” habitats. We anxiously await the return of L pod, and with them we hope for more good news to share.

Q13 News: Southern Resident killer whales missing from the Salish Sea

Unprecedented – no Southern Resident killer whales seen in the inland waters of WA or B.C. for eight weeks. That’s most of May and all of June which is branded Orca Action Month.

“The absence of Southern Residents tells us that the ecosystem is out of balance,” Said Whitney Neugebauer, the director of Whale Scout. “We should be listening and responding appropriately. If the whales can’t make a living in our inland waters, we, too, are in trouble.”

Read and watch the full story with Simone Del Rosario here.

Lime Kiln Lighthouse Centennial Celebration!

Erin Corra from FOLKS (Friends of Lime Kiln Society) gives us all the details for the party of the century on San Juan Island. The final event of Orca Month, June 30th, 2019 will mark exactly 100 years since the Lime Kiln Lighthouse was first lit June 30th, 1919! More information from the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau. More information from FOLKS.