The bison of Montana, the alligators of Florida, the wild horses of Colorado — every state has a signature species it takes pride in.
Washington is lucky enough to have two iconic animals: orcas and salmon, whose destinies are both intertwined and in peril.
In Puget Sound, the population of Southern Resident killer whales has declined from 98 in 1995 to 76 today. The diets of southern resident orcas consist largely of Chinook salmon, but the Chinook are listed on federal and state endangered species lists. If the Chinook population continues to decline, the southern resident orca population will follow.
Recognizing the dire need to protect both these species, Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order today outlining a strategy for southern resident orca and Chinook recovery.
The order instructs state agencies to outline immediate steps and long-term solutions to recover these species. The order also assembles a task force to bring together state agencies, tribal leaders, local governments, federal partners and other stakeholders to make recommendations at the state, regional and federal levels.
Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.