Orca task force meets in Port Angeles on Monday

PORT ANGELES — The Governor’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force will meet Monday for a full day of presentations, capped by task force recommendations planned in a report to the governor.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 E. Fourth St.

Gov. Jay Inslee established the Orca Task Force in March 2018 to study how to save the declining population of Southern Resident orcas. At the time, there were 76 Southern Residents; as of July 1, there were 73.

The task force issued recommendations last fall.

Among the agenda items, and their estimated time, are:

• Climate change and associated threats to Southern Resident orcas — 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

• “Life after the Task Force” — 11:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

• Key themes and new recommendations for 2019 report to the governor — 2:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.

• Public comment — 4:10 p.m. to 5 p.m. The public also is invited to submit written comment at any time.

Updates on orca health, population, nutrients and the Lower Snake River dam stakeholder process are planned at 10 a.m.

Reports from working groups on prey, vessels and contaminants are scheduled after the task force’s lunch at 12:30 p.m.

Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission recommendations will be discussed at 1 p.m.

A wrap-up and review of the next steps to be taken is set for 4 p.m.

A group of people who support the breaching of the four Lower Snake River dams to increase chinook salmon populations — the orcas’ food — plan to gather outside the community center at 9 a.m., according to a press release.

Members of the North Olympic Orca Pod are expected in orca costumes. A petition urging the dams be breached will be available, according to organizers, who also refer to a collation led by the Legal Rights for the Salish Sea and the Earth Law Center which is urging the public to sign a declaration of the right of the orcas to live and for guardian representation of the orcas on a stewardship board.

Washington’s public affairs network, TVW, plans to record Monday’s meeting. The venue’s systems might not support live-streaming but the broadcast will be available afterward in the TVW archives. For more information, see www.tvw.org.

For more about the task force, see https://tinyurl.com/PDN-southern residents.

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