Mind Your Boat Speed, Leave Drone At Home Around Endangered Killer Whales
In Olympia, state lawmakers are considering stronger protections for the critically endangered population of resident killer whales.
A proposal to require boaters to slow down to no more than seven knots within 400 yards of orcas drew universal praise during an initial public hearing Tuesday.
Democratic Senator Kevin Ranker, the bill’s prime sponsor, said slower boats equal quieter boats.
“We know conclusively now—and we didn’t 10 years ago—that noise pollution has an incredible impact on these whales,” Ranker sad. “These whales communicate and hunt through echolocation and other forms of basically, sonar. When vessels are going by they create a tremendous amount of noise which causes increased stress for these animals and also makes them have a far more difficult time hunting for salmon.”
Ranker’s proposal would also forbid recreational aircraft and drones from approaching closer than 200 yards to an endangered orca. That’s the same standoff distance required of whale watching boats.
The state Senate bill also proposes to increase spending on marine patrols to enforce the distance and speed limits.
“While I am tremendously heartened about this bill, my only concern is it doesn’t go far enough fast enough,” said Donna Sandstrom, founder and director of the Seattle-based education and conservation nonprofit The Whale Trail. “Distance requirements alone are not working. The status quo is not working. I think and I hope the Department of Fish and Wildlife will consider a permitting system that limits the number of (whale watching) boats, the number of hours they are with the whales, perhaps where they can be with the whales.”
Copyright 2018 Northwest News Network
‘It’s Cool And It’s Real’: More Than 100 Successful Test Flights Of Robo Air Taxi Over Eastern Oregon
Airbus, along with its rival Boeing and many others, is striving to make flying cars an option for your urban commute. The enthusiasm around the test flight hangar in Pendleton, Oregon, has to be leavened, though. Industry insiders said the technology is running years ahead of regulators and public acceptance. Continue Reading ‘It’s Cool And It’s Real’: More Than 100 Successful Test Flights Of Robo Air Taxi Over Eastern Oregon
Seventeen states sued the Trump administration Wednesday to block rules weakening the Endangered Species Act, saying the changes would make it tougher to protect wildlife even in the midst of a global extinction crisis. Continue Reading Washington, Oregon Among 17 States Suing Feds Over Changes To Endangered Species Protections
Grouse numbers also continued to drop in 2019 in Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming. Weather can affect populations from year to year, and wildlife officials say those short-term cycles are most directly responsible for the recent declines. Continue Reading Numbers Of Imperiled Sage Grouse Tumble Even Lower Across The West