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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.

Scientists Respond to the Lone Beluga in Puget Sound

In October 2021 sightings networks in Puget Sound such as Orca Network, have been buzzing with the bizarre sighting of a lone Beluga whale far from his or her family in Arctic homewaters. The whale has dazzled whale watchers on boats and from home viewing live helicopter footage from a news station. The beluga’s brilliant white body is easy to spot and is completely out of place against our urban shorelines. It’s concerning for a whale to be separated and observed outside his or her natural habitat. Scientists are now trying to figure out who this whale is and where he or she came from. Listen to learn more about the methods they are employing to match this whale to an existing population and how you can help. On this episode we’re joined by Barbara Mahoney, NOAA Fisheries Biologist. Barbara works on beluga recovery and is also the acting Marine Mammal Strandings Coordinator for the state of Alaska. She gives us insight into the world of beluga whales to better understand our wayward beluga.

Learn more about the endangered Cook Inlet beluga population.

When whales appear in strange places! Learn more in this informative article.

If you see the beluga in Puget Sound, please give the animal space and notify researchers by calling: Orca Network at 1-360-331-3543 or the West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network Hotline at 1-866-767-6114.

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Bothell and Kenmore Celebrate Orca Recovery Day!

They say that water connects all of us and it couldn’t be more true here in the Pacific Northwest. Rain that falls in our neighborhoods finds its way to the nearest stream or river which then eventually flows to the ocean. Here in the Bothell/Kenmore area, the Sammamish River connects our towns and leads to numerous small streams. Streams like Swamp Creek and North Creek wind their way through our own backyards but are also home to Pacific salmon. Right now these fish are returning from the ocean to spawn and build the next generation of mighty salmon plying the Pacific. We’re growing salmon in Bothell/Kenmore and that’s pretty cool to think about. Salmon are also extremely important and significant to tribes for culture and subsistence.

Many of us delighted in the recent visit of orcas in Seattle waters the second week of September. These endangered Southern Resident killer whales number just 73 individuals. Recent hopeful news was reported by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) that three females in J pod are confirmed to be pregnant. These pregnancies still face challenges and tough odds as approximately 70% of all pregnancies are lost due to lack of food, primarily Chinook salmon according to research by the Center for Conservation Biology at UW. Salmon growing in Bothell and Kenmore are feeding orcas, and they could really use more.

Recognizing this tight connection between local communities, salmon, and orcas shared through our waters, the regional conservation districts created Orca Recovery day in 2018. Initially born out of the fallout from the tragic story of Tahlequah and her dead newborn calf, whom she carried for 17 days and over 1,000 miles, Orca Recovery Day has engaged thousands of people each year in on the ground projects that make a difference. This year local groups in Bothell and Kenmore are joining together to celebrate Orca Recovery Day at four events! Each event will offer families of all ages a variety of hands on stewardship and educational activities.

October 16th

Former Wayne Golf Course with Whale Scout and OneBothell

10am – 1pm

Volunteer to improve habitat! Portions of Bothell’s largest park, the former Wayne Golf Course, are a migratory corridor for Chinook salmon in the Sammamish River and potential habitat for Coho at the confluence of Waynita Creek. As this amazing property transforms from a golf course into a public open space, volunteers are offered the opportunity to help improve the habitat. By controlling non-native and invasive weeds, and protecting native trees and vegetation, we’re able to improve water quality for salmon and down the line provide more prey for killer whales in Puget Sound! Members from OneBothell, a nonprofit that worked tirelessly to preserve this property, will also join the event sharing their story and upcoming projects including monthly educational walks around the park showcasing unique features and stories. Ask a killer whale scientist! Dr. David Bain will lead a short walk sharing recent research about endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

Learn more and sign up.

Wallace Swamp Creek Park with Sno-King Watershed Council

11am – 2pm

Join Sno-King Watershed Council, in partnership with the City of Kenmore, for habitat restoration! From 1997 to 2015, volunteers with the Salmon Watcher Program recorded salmon observations at various locations in Swamp Creek. Volunteers consistently saw coho in the creek. Less commonly spotted were kokanee and sockeye salmon. We’re working on making Swamp Creek a place where salmon are again regularly spotted. We’re not working creek-side just yet, but every bit of the natural open space in the park is valuable as native habitat. Please bring a mask in the event that social distancing is not possible. Please also bring your own work gloves and your favorite tool for digging (both small garden shovels and large digging shovels will be handy) and/or a hand clippers. We will be digging knotweed, clipping blackberry canes, and digging blackberry root balls! We will be working near the parking lot. Questions? Ready to RSVP? Email Tracy at tlbanaszynski@yahoo.com

Learn more and sign up.

North Creek Forest with Friends of North Creek Forest and the City of Bothell

10am – 2pm

Join us for a volunteer Stewardship work party! We are going to be walking up a trail into the inner forest and removing invasive blackberries where they are creeping into a forest clearing Tools and work gloves provided. Dress for the weather. Closed-toe shoes are required. Boots are recommended. Volunteers ages 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteer work parties provide great networking opportunities, an introduction to restoration ecology, and a fun way to spend time in the great outdoors!

Learn more and sign up.

October 17th

Shelton View Forest with Shelton View Forest Stewardship Association

10am – 1pm

oin us in Shelton View Forest in Bothell for trail maintenance, trash and invasive species removal, tree planting, and more. Learn more about this unique urban forest and why it is important to the health of the Swamp Creek Watershed and salmon and orca protection. All participants must pre-register. Volunteers should dress to work outside and bring their own water, snacks, and work gloves. SVFSA will provide clean tools and gloves to those that need them. Face coverings and physical distancing are required. Read our full COVID Safety Plan here: tinyurl.com/COVIDsafetySVFSA Questions? Contact sheltonviewforest@gmail.com.

Learn more and sign up.

Volunteer for Orca Recovery Day!

Volunteer to improve habitat! Portions of Bothell’s largest park, the former Wayne Golf Course, are a migratory corridor for Chinook salmon in the Sammamish River and potential habitat for Coho at the confluence of Waynita Creek. As this amazing property transforms from a golf course into a public open space, volunteers are offered the opportunity to help improve the habitat. By controlling non-native and invasive weeds, and protecting native trees and vegetation, we’re able to improve water quality for salmon and down the line provide more prey for killer whales in Puget Sound!

This special event celebrates Orca Recovery Day! Across Puget Sound and beyond, you will be joined by others volunteering in their local communities to make their own backyards a better place for salmon and orcas. See a full listing of events here. Whale Scout’s event at the former Wayne Golf Course is one of many going on in the Bothell/Kenmore area! Check out the ongoing work with our partners in the region.

Members from OneBothell, a nonprofit that worked tirelessly to preserve this property, will also join the event sharing their story and upcoming projects including monthly educational walks around the park showcasing unique features and stories.

Ask a killer whale scientist! Dr. David Bain will lead a short walk sharing recent research about endangered Southern Resident killer whales. Be sure to come with questions!

Consider signing up your household for a fun, educational, family outing. We ask that you bring a mask for check-in and check-out and when working near young children who are unable to be vaccinated. We will spread out and offer small group activities that are geared for adults only or for families.

Those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, under 18 need a signed release form by a parent.

Interview with Filmmaker Joshua Zeman, ‘The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52’

Dubbed the “loneliest whale in the world,” a whale calling out at a unique 52 hertz was first discovered by the Navy. Years later, intrigued by mystery, filmmaker Joshua Zeman sets out on a quest to find the whale, ’52’ alongside prominent scientists and acousticians. Join their incredible journey as they use new technologies to unravel the secrets of this elusive whale and what he or she just might teach all of us.

View the official trailer.

Read the NY Times review.

Find showtimes near you.

Get involved with the project!

Follow @joshzeman on Twitter.

Restore Habitat at the Former Wayne Golf Course

Volunteer to improve habitat! Portions of Bothell’s largest park, the former Wayne Golf Course, are a migratory corridor for Chinook salmon in the Sammamish River and potential habitat for Coho at the confluence of Waynita Creek. As this amazing property transforms from a golf course into a public open space, volunteers are offered the opportunity to help improve the habitat. By controlling non-native and invasive weeds, and protecting native trees and vegetation, we’re able to improve water quality for salmon and down the line provide more prey for killer whales in Puget Sound!

Join us August 15th. Covid restrictions are now lifted. Masks are no longer required however we will offer separate areas for groups to spread out including families with younger, unvaccinated kids. Consider signing up your household for a fun, educational, family outing.

Those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, under 18 need a signed release form by a parent.

Restore Habitat at the Former Wayne Golf Course

Volunteer to improve habitat! Portions of Bothell’s largest park, the former Wayne Golf Course, are a migratory corridor for Chinook salmon in the Sammamish River and potential habitat for Coho at the confluence of Waynita Creek. As this amazing property transforms from a golf course into a public open space, volunteers are offered the opportunity to help improve the habitat. By controlling non-native and invasive weeds, and protecting native trees and vegetation, we’re able to improve water quality for salmon and down the line provide more prey for killer whales in Puget Sound!

Join us July 18th. Covid restrictions are now lifted. Masks are no longer required however we will offer separate areas for groups to spread out including families with younger, unvaccinated kids. Consider signing up your household for a fun, educational, family outing.

Those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, under 18 need a signed release form by a parent.

Signing up is required at this link.

Spirits of the Coast: Indigenous Media Maker Nikki Sanchez Talks New Book

Celebrating the theme of “We are Family” we’re taking a deep dive into the social interconnectedness of orcas and exploring concepts of culture both in the behavior of whales and our own diverse relationships with the species. This year we’ll be reading the National Geographic magazine “Secrets of the Whales” edition and “Spirits of the Coast” produced by the BC Royal Museum.

“Spirits of the Coast” is a collection of Indigenous stories, scientific perspectives, poems, and visual art, exploring the world or orcas in the Pacific Northwest. Called the “mastermind of the book,” Nikki Sanchez joins Whitney Neugebauer of Whale Scout and Colleen Weiler of Whale and Dolphin Conservation for an emotional conversation about “Spirits of the Coast” and the current issues facing Indigenous communities in British Columbia.

Join us for a live online community conversation where the public can share their perspectives June 17th. Register here.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation

-Subscribe to Whale Scout’s YouTube channel for more!

Orca Culture: Dr. John Ford Shares His Experiences Studying Whales

The recently published National Geographic series Secrets of the Whales takes a deep dive into the cultural lives of whales. On this episode we learn about culture in Pacific Northwest killer whales (orcas) from Dr. John Ford from his 40+ years of experience. What exactly is culture in animals? Why is it such a contentious topic among scientists? How is culture exhibited in orcas? Plus, Ford examines the potential costs and benefits of culture in a population such as the Southern Residents.

June is Orca Action Month in the Pacific Northwest! Whitney Neugebauer from Whale Scout and Colleen Weiler from Whale and Dolphin Conservation host the Orca Month Book Club. For 2021 we’re reading the National Geographic magazine article “Secrets of the Whales” and the book “Spirits of the Coast.”

Join us for live online community conversations June 10th and 17th. Register here.

June is Orca Action Month!

Celebrate the iconic Southern Resident killer whales

Choose from events and activities coordinated by the Orca Salmon Alliance and partner organizations – that bring together researchers, conservation organizations, orca lovers, elected officials, and inspire action and advocacy efforts to protect this highly endangered population. Everyone is invited to get involved and participate throughout this exciting event. Here’s a sampling of events we’re helping to host:

June 6th – Orca Month Kick-off
June 6th & 10th – Orca Month Book Club, Spirits of the Coast
June 13th – Volunteer Work Party in Bothell 
June 13th & 17th – Orca Month Book Club, Secrets of the Whales

Check out the full lineup of events at the Orca Action Month website!

Volunteer to Restore Habitat for Orca Action Month

Celebrate Orca Action Month! It will be a party with ice cream to go around too! Volunteer to improve habitat! Portions of Bothell’s largest park, the former Wayne Golf Course, are a migratory corridor for Chinook salmon in the Sammamish River and potential habitat for Coho at the confluence of Waynita Creek. As this amazing property transforms from a golf course into a public open space, volunteers are offered the opportunity to help improve the habitat. By controlling non-native and invasive weeds, and protecting native trees and vegetation, we’re able to improve water quality for salmon and down the line provide more prey for killer whales in Puget Sound!


Join us June 13th. We’re offering COVID-safe small groups (fewer than ten people total). Consider signing up your household for a fun, educational, family outing.


Due to COVID precautions we ask all volunteers bring their own gloves, food and water, and wear mask. Those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, under 18 need a signed release form by a parent.

Signing up is required at this links:

10am – 12pm

12pm – 2pm

We’re asking for firm, committed RSVP’s only. Upon confirmation, your spot will be held ensuring the group size does not exceed ten people. Work party windows are short, please arrive promptly and stay the full time unless arranged ahead of time. Thank you for your cooperation!