About the Task Force
To address the dire circumstances of the struggling orca population, Governor Jay Inslee issued Executive Order 18-02 directing state agencies to take immediate actions. The order established the Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force comprised of about 50 members from state agencies, the Legislature, tribal and local governments, businesses, and nonprofits, to develop a long-term plan to recover Southern Resident orcas. Learn more about the Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force.
The task force met with working groups, legislators, stakeholders, scientists, tribes, local governments, and numerous entities to develop recommendations for recovering orca. The task force took the draft recommendations to the public for review multiple times and received 18,000 written public comments, helping to craft the 2018 and 2019 reports. The reports resulted in 49 recommendations for new investments, policies, and laws to help orca recover. These initiatives are categorized into the following six goals:
- Increase Chinook salmon abundance
- Decrease disturbance of, and other risks to, orcas from vessels and noise
- Reduce exposure to contaminants for orcas and their food
- Ensure funding, information, and accountability mechanisms are in place to support effective implementation
- Address impacts of climate change
- Address future growth
The 2018 report provided 36 recommendations in the initial four goal areas. Several of these recommendations could be implemented immediately; however, others required legislative actions. The task force tracked the progress made during the first year and continued to identify outstanding needs. This led to the additional 13 recommendations in the 2019 report. These additions focused on addressing climate change, human population growth, and continuing the efforts of orca recovery.
The Governor also created an orca recovery position in the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office to track implementation of this long-term plan. This Web site was created to share progress on the task force recommendations and to help partners and the public engage in recovery.
Number of Orcas Today
Number of Whales by 2030
Number of Recommendations
Orca Recovery Coordinator
Hearing impaired call 711
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office
PO Box 40917
Olympia WA 98504-0917
Top photograph by Jeanne Hyde. Event photograph by Pacific Whale Watch Association.
Tree planting photograph by Norbert Woloszyn.