For Release:
Contact: Susan Zemek
Washington Recreation and Conservation Office
Cell:  360-764-9349

OLYMPIA–The state’s orca recovery coordinator encourages people to spend Saturday making the environment better for endangered Southern Resident orcas.

“Saturday is Orca Recovery Day,” said Tara Galuska, the Governor’s orca recovery coordinator. “It’s a chance for all of us to take a minute or a few hours doing something that will help orcas. It can be as simple as planting a tree, pulling a few weeds, listening to a lecture or building a rain garden. I encourage everyone to think about what they can do and take action.”

Scientists estimate there are about 50,000 killer whales globally. However, Southern Residents are unique among killer whales and are found only along the coasts of southeast Alaska to central California—nowhere else in the world. Southern Residents also are one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world with only 73 remaining.

There are many reasons for their decline. The Governor’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force identified three major causes: Lack of food, polluted water and noise from boats that disrupts their ability to find food.

The events schedule for Orca Recovery Day help address some of these issues. For example, volunteers in Tacoma will be planting a bioswale that will capture and clean polluted water before it enters Puget Sound. Students in Lynwood will be picking up trash and planting trees. Whatcom County volunteers will be restoring salmon habitat along California Creek and volunteers in Pullman will be restoring Paradise Creek to improve water quality.

“Conservation districts have set the stage for organizations and people around the region to participate in an event. There are lots of choices of activities, and some you can do in your own home,” Galuska said. “It can take as little or as much time as you have, and if you can’t do something on Saturday, many of the event organizers have opportunities throughout the year.”

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More Information

For more information about orca recovery efforts in Washington, visit the orca recovery Web site.