Dear Members of Congress,
Southern Resident orcas are not only iconic symbols of our region but are also one of the most endangered marine mammal populations in the world. We have made incredible progress in the last year toward a safer, more protected home for Southern Resident orcas, but we can’t let the momentum stop now, or be limited to the Pacific Northwest. The orcas need clean and quiet waters, reduced disturbance, and most importantly, more of their primary food source – Chinook salmon – throughout their range, from the Salish Sea to California.
Our hard work here in the Pacific Northwest must be supported by funds and programs operating at the federal level. That is why we the undersigned are asking you to support funding for essential programs that support the recovery of Southern Resident orcas, salmon, and our shared marine ecosystems.
- Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Fund: a key program that supports local and state efforts for salmon recovery throughout the range of the Southern Residents, from the Salish Sea to California.
- National Estuary Program: protects and restores water quality and ecosystem functions in estuaries, vital habitat for juvenile salmon.
- Marine Mammal Commission: the only independent government agency charged with overseeing the conservation and protection of marine mammals, the Marine Mammal Commission has made Southern Resident orcas a priority.
- Sea Grant: the national Sea Grant program encourages on-the-ground work with and through local state universities, supporting outreach efforts and increasing knowledge to further long-term stewardship and responsible use of coastal and aquatic resources.
Please ensure that federal funding for these programs is not eliminated and that they are funded at—or above—FY2019 levels. The future of the Southern Resident orcas and our shared Pacific Northwest home depends on it.