Reactions to Inslee’s Budget and Plan to Recover Orcas from Monika Wieland-Shields and Whitney Neugebauer

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announces is budget and plans to save endangered Southern Resident killer whales. The 1.1 Billion dollar packaged surprised many, but take a closer look at where the money will be spent. Whitney and Monika will break down the major line items and how those choices may impact orcas. Inslee’s proposed budget will still need to go through the legislature and gain support from Washingtonians, but would it be money well spent for orcas? We were surprised to hear that nearly a third of this budget would go to culvert replacement. While important in it’s own right for many reasons, replacing culverts won’t be the most efficient action to help Chinook and therefore orcas. Plus, Inslee decided to include a whale watching moratorium and increase the approach distance from 200 yards to 400 yards. Monika also shares some of her recently published work with Orca Behavior Institute on transient killer whale predation on pinnipeds. Could future policies endanger the healthy population of transient killer whales in Puget Sound? Learn more!

Jacques White from Long Live the Kings Talks Salmon, Orca Task Force, and Pinnipeds

Jacques White is the Executive Director of Long Live the Kings, a group with the mission to restore wild salmon and steelhead and to support sustainable fishing. On this episode of the Whale Scout Podcast we discuss his experience serving on the Orca Task Force, whether or not the recommendations go far enough to save endangered Southern Resident killer whales, and how hatcheries, Snake River dams, and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) are connected to the larger ecosystem interactions that impact whales.

Erin Corra from FOLKS shares Lime Kiln Lighthouse Centennial Event and more!

Erin Corra, FOLKS (Friends of Lime Kiln Society) Founder and Executive Director shares the magic of Lime Kiln State Park, also known as “whale watch park” and how her team of volunteers can make your next visit a spectacular one. The FOLKS team also has great events lined up this winter and summer including a very special event celebrating the centennial of the Lime Kiln Lighthouse!
Image result for erin corra folks
More about Erin:
Erin grew up sailing the great lakes of Michigan, where her love of lighthouses and the great outdoors began.  At the end if her sophomore year at Northern Michigan University in 1995, she moved to Washington to complete her degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation from Huxley College at Western Washington University.  Erin then sailed out to the San Juan Islands in 2002 and rooted down.  In 2007, Erin served as Interpretive Specialist at Lime Kiln Point State Park until budget cuts eliminated the position in 2010. Currently, she serves as Founder and Executive Director of Friends of Lime Kiln Society (FOLKS), a 501c3 established in 2011 to fundraise for park needs along with keeping Interpretive, Stewardship and Volunteer Programs thriving in the park.  Erin also serves as the Interpretive and Educational component on the San Juan National Monument Advisory Committee and has formerly served as President/VicePresident on the Keepers of Patos Light.  Erin continues her passion to bring natural and cultural history to life and inspire awe into action by advocating through educational platforms like Lime Kiln Point State Park and other fabulous public lands.

Monika Wieland-Shields Talks Urgent Need for Task Force Comments, Writing, and Research

President of Orca Behavior Institute (OBI), Monika Wieland-Shields shares her thoughts on the 2018 Orca Task Force in Washington State and discusses the urgent need for the public to submit comments on the final Draft Recommendations Report. She also shares some of the important research OBI is doing to inform policy decisions being discussed at the Task Force meetings including a controversial cull of pinnipeds (seals and sea lions). Plus, hear about a book Monika is self-publishing!

For more information on how to craft BOLD comments to submit to the Task Force, please check out our Guide to BOLD Commenting document. This was a collaborative project between Whale Scout, Orca Behavior Institute, Salish SEA, and Orca Network.  Please note that the most powerful comments are informed and personal, so please consider using our personal words and thoughts in communications with the Task Force.

A Guide for BOLD Commenting on the final draft Orca Task Force Report

This is our last chance to tell the Task Force to go BOLD in Year 1 with their final recommendations to Governor Inslee to save the Southern Resident orcas. Earlier this month we came out with a simplified guide to the initial draft recommendations and public comment survey. Once again the four of us—Monika, Cindy, Whitney, and Susan—have been working together while pondering the question raised by some of the task force members at the end of the last meeting: are these recommendations BOLD enough? We have been told the task force is paying attention to public comment and we cannot stress enough how important it is for all of us as individuals to comment. We’d like to encourage you to advocate for the BOLDEST possible actions on behalf of the Southern Residents in this final draft commenting process and have developed this guide to help you.

Send your comments here by October 29th at midnight!

Simplified Guide To the Draft Orca Task Force Report

Commenting on the recent draft Orca Task Force Recommendations is important however the language makes it fairly difficult for the public to adequately engage with the process, BUT HELP IS HERE! We’ve been working working with our partners very quickly to pull together a simplified version of the report for you to use as a guide when commenting via the Survey Monkey. We also identified actions that we feel are most impactful. You will be asked towards the end of the survey to list the top FIVE actions you feel are most important so keep that in mind as you go through the sections.

Here at Whale Scout, we’re very concerned about ecosystem recovery and habitat protection/restoration.

Please share widely to help generate as much public input as possible. Thank you!

Alexandra Morton talks killer whale, wild salmon research and activism

Killer whale researcher turned salmon scientist and wild salmon advocate Alexandra Morton joins the Whale Scout podcast to share about her work. Beginning with studies of captive killer whale acoustics, Corky the orca lead her to British Columbia to the rest of her wild pod. From there, salmon farms moved in and Alexandra Morton stepped up to study the impacts on wild fish. Learn more about the related impacts for orcas and how you can help.

Photo: Sea Shepherd

Learn more about Alexandra’s work here.

Read about Krisiti Miller’s research here.

Take action: write a letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan.

Learn why famed salmon are harmful in the documentary Salmon Confidential.

Meet the Directors of Coextinction: a Documentary Series on a Mission

Meet the Directors of the new documentary series, Coextinction. Elena Jean and Gloria Pancrazi describe the film and the movement they’re hoping to create saving endangered Southern Resident orcas and the salmon they depend on.

Photo: Doug Wortley, Arrowsmith Media

Veterinarian Dr. Nollens discusses J50’s condition and treatment plan

Dr. Hendrik Nollens is a Veterinarian at SeaWorld and member of the NOAA-lead operation to assess and treat J50, also known as Scarlet, an ailing Southern Resident killer whale. J50 has been deteriorating in health over the summer and teams have stepped in to help. This almost 4 year old whale is looking very thin and is possibly sick. Dr. Nollens discusses how she is doing and how the team plans to treat J50 for potential parasites.

Lean more about the effort to treat J50 at the NOAA website.

Other news:

Find information on Inslee’s Task Force and submit your comments here.

Scientist answers the question: How might J35 be doing physiologically?

Sixteen days after the birth and death of her calf, J35 continues to carry the body of the deceased orca as she travels with the rest of her pod. The unprecedented length of time this behavior has continued has begged the question, how might J35 be doing physiologically? At the same time, an operation to try and save J50, another J pod whale who appears in very poor body condition is underway. Learn more with Dawn Noren, Physiological Ecologist at NOAA.