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Conservation districts throughout the Puget Sound region join for 'Orca Recovery Day'

Conservation districts throughout Puget Sound are hosting a region-wide "Orca Recovery Day" on Saturday.
Credit: Katy Foster
J26 with J16 (mother) breaching. (Photo: Katy Foster)

Conservation districts throughout Puget Sound are hosting a region-wide "Orca Recovery Day" on Saturday.

The event was created to give the public an opportunity to join in on the work already being done.

"Puget Sound's Southern Resident killer whales are critically endangered," a statement from the Puget Sound Conservation District reads. "Puget Sound Conservation District's work every day to make conditions better for local orcas..."

Southern Resident killer whales have been considered endangered since 2005. Several recent deaths reignited public interest as the local orca population struggles to grow.

RELATED: Orca's death inspires health database for surviving whales

In September, Gov. Inslee's Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force released a first draft of recommendations to find long-term solutions to the declining orca population. On Tuesday, the task force voted to recommend a three- to five-year moratorium on commercial whale watching for Southern Resident killer whales. It's a move that aims to reduce boat traffic near orcas so they may hunt for salmon more effectively.

But experts say there are several factors contributing to the orcas struggle for survival. For example, streams and rivers that salmon rely on for spawning are becoming less habitable. Dams and culverts are cutting off access to traditional salmon spawning grounds.

Conservation districts on Saturday will work to address some of those issues.

The participating districts include: Clallam Conservation District, Whatcom Conservation, District, Mason Conservation District, Thurston Conservation District, King Conservation District, Skagit Conservation District, Whidbey Conservation District, Snohomish Conservation District, Pierce Conservation District, San Juan Islands Conservation District