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Southern Resident Orcas - Save Them Before They Are Gone

Only 74 Southern Resident Orcas remain in the wild and they are critically endangered! Something needs to be done to protect and revive this species!

What is the Southern Resident Orca Population?

The Southern Resident orcas are 3 pods of orcas (also known as killer whales) who live in the ocean off the coast of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, and occasionally off Alaska or California. These pods feed almost exclusively on Chinook salmon year-round, but during the colder months in winter and fall they will feed on other salmon species.

The 3 Southern Resident pods (known as pod J, pod K and pod L) all differ in a number of different ways, including pod size, dialect and home ranges. Within each of the pods there are several family units, each descended from a single female ancestor. These units are called matrilines, and are typically each composed of an adult female, the “matriarch”, and her offspring.  In several cases, although the matriarch has died, the family unit has remained together.

You can get more information about Southern Resident Killer Whales here.

Why are they critically endangered?

One of the biggest problems is that more than 50% of their diet comes from salmon produced in the Columbia Basin, half of which were produced in the Snake River System. With the salmon population dwindling the orcas food supply is disappearing and they are starving.

Since 2002, the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has designated dam breaching as the best solution to recover wild salmon on the Snake River. 

The Corps of Engineers can implement breaching the dams now by using the existing 2002 EIS's 'Breach Alternative Four.'

The Impact and Benefits of breaching:

If the lower Snake River dams were breached, it could double or even triple survival rates, restoring many millions of fish to the Columbia Basin. This gives the orcas a fighting chance to recover by increasing their food supply.

Breaching costs the state nothing. The first two dams can be breached for the cost of another EIS estimated at $80 million; 5 years to completion.

The four lower Snake River dams in Eastern Washington do not provide flood control and produce only low value surplus electricity. Savings from these dams can be applied to more efficient dams and/or projects.

"NOTHING else, not more spill across the dams, not more hatchery fish, not less boat traffic, not more studies and a new EIS can achieve this in time to save wild salmon or Southern Resident Orcas."

Southern Resident Killer Whale Chinook Salmon Initiative

Congressional legislation or new appropriations are not needed to start breaching the Snake River dams this year!

Sign the petition to SENATOR PATTY MURRAY AND GOVERNOR JAY INSLEE, asking them to take action today and urge the Army Corps' General Helmlinger and Bonneville Power Administration's Elliot Mainzer to begin breaching dams in December 2018.

Sign The Petition

Thank you to the hundreds of thousands who have petitioned for immediate dam breaching, for those of you who want more information on how to save the salmon and orcas, visit www.damsense.org.

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