Tag «puget sound»

Washington state bills to help SRKWs

An Associated Press article published here and here reveals the effort being made in Washington state to deal with the threats to southern resident killer whales (SRKW).

One House bill sets aside $1.5 million to produce 10 million more hatchery chinook salmon, a roughly 20 percent boost over current production, so orcas will have more to eat.

“Using smart hatchery production we can still support rebuilding wild fish runs and have hatchery production,” said Rep. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, prime sponsor of House Bill 2417, which unanimously cleared a policy committee and awaits action in a fiscal committee.

State Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, has proposed a package of bills aimed at protecting orcas and the waters they swim in. Senate Bill 6268 would essentially double to 100 the number of days state wildlife officers are on the water to keep boats a safe distance from orcas. This bill would also convene a meeting between experts in British Columbia and Washington to discuss strategies to help the orcas.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed supplemental budget devotes $3 million to helping the whales by increasing enforcement of boat regulations, increasing production of chinook salmon at hatcheries and improving habitat. Inslee is also expected to create a killer whale task force.

In Canada, recent years have seen DFO reduce the funding and stop the permitting of attempts by volunteers to enhance chinook production in the southern Vancouver Island area, presumably in support of a wild fish policy. Yet, somehow, Washington state legislators feel they can have both wild fish and enhanced chinook production.

 

SRKW Famine Connected to Puget Sound’s Poisoned Rivers

A recent article in Focus Magazine points to the connection between secondary sewage treatment effluent poisoning the rivers that flow into Puget Sound, reduced chinook salmon survival, and famine for southern resident killer whales. The article is worth a read.

RIVERS RUNNING INTO PUGET SOUND have perennially low returns of chinook salmon—currently estimated at just 10 percent of their historic levels—even though many of them are enhanced with hatcheries. Last year, scientific research connected this decline to secondary sewage treatment plants discharging partially-treated effluent into Puget Sound.

Having learned of the pollutants’ effects in Puget Sound river estuaries, Washington state has taken action to point to Victoria’s discharge of raw sewage, and to talk about – but not fund – further research.