Washington governor proposes $1.1-billion plan to help starving orcas
In this Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014 photo provided by the Center for Whale Research, a new baby orca whale swims near its mother near Vancouver Island in the Canadian Gulf Islands of British Columbia. (AP/Center for Whale Research, Ken Balcomb)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, December 13, 2018 12:30PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, December 13, 2018 12:31PM PST
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing $1.1 billion in spending - and a partial whale-watching ban - to help support the recovery of Puget Sound's critically endangered orcas.
Inslee detailed the plans as part of his announcement Thursday of his priorities for the 2019-2021 state budget cycle.
He says the money will go toward protecting and restoring habitat for salmon, the orcas' favoured prey; boosting production from salmon hatcheries; storm-water cleanup; and easing noise pollution from vessel traffic.
Inslee also said he intends to ban whale-watching of the local endangered orcas - known as the southern residents - for three years.
He stressed that whale-watching will be allowed for other whales in Washington waters, including other orcas that pass through.
Inslee's proposal followed recommendations from an orca recovery task force he convened last spring.