San Juan County holds second orcas workshop in Friday Harbor

Last year, San Juan County Marine Resource Committee hosted a workshop to create a list of tangible actions county government and citizens could take to save the critically endangered Southern resident killer whales.

“It has been an emotionally draining year,” said Kendra Smith, MRC member from the San Juan County Environmental Resources division, as she welcomed attendees to the second annual workshop that lasted from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Dec. 6 at Brickworks.

Speakers included researchers, government officials and active citizens, and provided updates on current projects that may have a positive impact on the whales, salmon and the Salish Sea.

They discussed actions that islanders can begin immediately including reducing plastic usage; not hard armoring the shoreline; avoid using heavy fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides; maintaining septic systems; reaching out to legislators; requesting an allotment of salmon be left for the whales, when on the water, using whale warning flags if orcas are in the area to warn other boaters to slow down and follow Be Whale Wise guidelines found at www.bewhalewise.org.

“With your support and contribution to the dialogue, we intend to feed this information higher up to those at state and federal levels,” Smith said.