Washington State Governor Jay Inslee on May 8 signed five bills to promote salmon recovery and protect the safety and livelihood of the Southern Resident orca.
The bills direct the Washington Department of Ecology to take necessary steps to increase total dissolved gas levels and allow water spill over the Snake and Columbia River dams to help juvenile salmon reach the ocean. This effort will in turn help orcas, as Chinook salmon are their main food source. The bills also focus on protecting the whales from vessel noise and traffic and improving the safety of oil transportation through the Salish Sea.
The state reports that as of March, only 75 Southern Resident orcas remained. Depopulation is attributed to climate change, human population growth, and development and human activity along the Puget Sound and Columbia River.
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