Problems with Orca Task Force

The Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force and the Columbia River Systems Operations Process (CRSO) are evaluating options to save endangered salmon and Southern Resident Orcas in the Pacific Northwest.  Unless Governor Inslee’s Task Force recommends breaching the dams starting in 2018, the answer is “No.” That outcome is unlikely, since the Task Force’s report and recommendations are not due until November 2018 and the progress report and update is not due until November 2019.  All probably too late to be implemented this year, even if the Task Force were to recommend dam breaching.  When it comes to protecting salmon in the Snake River, the federal government repeatedly and consistently has failed. It has violated the Endangered Species Act for more than 20 years. Even if the federal agencies were to change course and begin complying with the law, which there is no reason to believe they will, the current target for CRSO’s recommendations through a new Environmental Impact Statement is even later; March 2021.  Timelines for effective action from these two groups are years away.  All four Snake River salmon and steelhead runs were listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA by 1997. Southern Resident Orcas officially became endangered in 2005. They are in trouble NOW. Their survival is at risk. In fact, both species have declined since NOAA’s protection, conservation, and recovery efforts on their behalf began.