Thank you for adding your voice to make sure Gov. Inslee’s Orca Task Force work can continue, and ensuring it focuses on actions that will make the biggest waves for orca recovery.
Suggested language for your response to the Orca Task Force:
Dear Task Force Members & Governor Inslee:
Thank you for your focused time and dedication to recovering the endangered Southern Resident Orcas over the last 18 months. I am writing in strong support of the overall draft Southern Resident Orca Task Force Year 2 Report; however, I want to bring the following items to your attention:
1. Please strengthen Recommendation 48 (net ecological-gain) to also account for restoring critical habitat and sensitive ecosystems from development that has already taken place, focus mitigation on a scale slightly smaller than watershed scale, and include forage fish to the creatures we are protecting alongside salmon and orcas. Below are some suggested edits.
Revise lines 1621-1624 to read: “Adopt and implement incentives, policies, guidance, and regulations for previous development and future growth to prevent further degradation of critical habitat and sensitive ecosystems…”
Line 1632: change “larger watershed” to “sub-basin”, so the sentence now reads “Operate at a local site-specific scale and a sub-basin scale”.
Line 1634: Add “forage fish” to the creatures we are protecting, so the sentence will read, “Revise statutes to shift from a “no net loss” standard to a “net ecological gain” standard to better protect orcas, salmon, and forage fish.”
2. Please move Recommendation 48 into the Prey section in the earlier sections of the report. The concept of net-ecological gain is not new and was discussed in the Prey Working Group of the Task Force last year. This recommendation is disconnected from the Prey focus area when it is buried under Population Growth.
3. I strongly support Option 2, Create a new Executive Level Team in the Governor’s Office, in the Life After the Task Force section of the report. Option 2 allows for the greatest level of public input and accountability across state agencies rather than one agency held responsible.
4. Please provide clarity on which actions from Year 1 have not been fully implemented. I suggest creating a matrix of all of the recommendations (noting which are from Year 1 and 2) and include a status report for ease of reading. Think of this as a progress report that way decision-makers can easily understand what still needs attention.