Killer Whale Recovery Planning & Implementation

The Endangered Species Act requires the Secretary of Commerce to develop and implement recovery plans for the conservation and survival of listed species. The Recovery Plan for Southern Resident Killer Whales 1.7MB reviews and assesses the potential factors affecting those whales, and lays out a recovery program to address each of the threats.

There is considerable uncertainty about which threats may be responsible for the decline in the orca population, or which is the most important to address for recovery. The plan lays out an adaptive management approach and a recovery strategy that addresses each of the potential threats based on the best available science. The recovery program outline links the management actions to an active research program to fill data gaps and a monitoring program to assess effectiveness. Feedback from research and monitoring will provide the information necessary to refine ongoing actions and develop and prioritize new actions.

We and a variety of partners have been implementing actions identified in the recovery plan for many years. Actions that were funded and implemented in 2003-2007 are listed in the plan’s implementation schedule. The links below provide examples of recent actions and links to our partnerships for the major threats and topic headings identified in the Recovery Plan for Southern Resident Killer Whales. In 2014, NOAA Fisheries released a report highlighting the accomplishments of the 10 years of dedicated research and conservation of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population.  With a decade of federal funding and productive partnerships with the killer whale community, we have taken targeted actions, collected substantial new data, and refined scientific techniques to protect this listed species and ensure a strong foundation for its recovery.  See our 2014, 10 Year Southern Resident Killer Whale Report.

We're gathering information to track recovery actions that are implemented throughout the region. While we've been able to track federal spending as included in the implementation schedule, we'd also like to know about other activities. If your group has been working on projects that contribute to recovery of Southern Residents, please let us know.

Enter your detailed information on implementation of recovery actions from the Recovery Plan into our Recovery Form. You must fill out a separate form for each action.