About the Task Force
In March 2018, Washington's Governor Inslee initiated a Task Force dedicated to recovery of the Southern Resident orcas. The Task Force, with three working groups focused on each of the three main threats to the Southern Residents (prey depletion, toxics, and vessel impacts), met over eighteen months in 2018 and 2019, and sunsetted in November 2019. State agencies, Washington legislators, international representatives, and members of tribal, federal, and local governments, as well as private and non-profit sections, are included in the Task Force representatives.
The initial set of recommendations led to four key bills in the 2019 Washington Legislature, focused on salmon and forage fish habitat, vessel disturbance, oil spill prevention, and reducing contaminants. Governor Inslee also requested $1.1 billion in funds related to Southern Resident recovery from the legislature. All four bills passed the legislature, and significant funds were dedicated to orca, salmon, and habitat recovery.
The Task Force is an amazing step forward for Southern Resident orca recovery, and we must keep the momentum going to ensure the hard work does not stop here.