The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) just announced the awarding of $888,265 in grants to increase the recovery potential of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale. The grants will generate $1.3 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $2 million.
The grants were awarded through the Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program (KWRCP), which is a partnership that began in 2015 with support from SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This year, Shell added its support to the effort. The company has been a part of the Anacortes, WA community since 1955 via the Puget Sound Refinery, and it has identified the KWRCP as a key local conservation effort for the region.
The projects supported by the nine grants announced today will help to restore and enhance populations of Chinook salmon, which is a key prey item for the whales. These projects will focus on scientific research, habitat restoration and bolstering of forage fish levels. Specifically, grantees will work with recreational fishermen to understand the potential significance of the resident Chinook population to killer whales. Additionally, grantees will work with the seven Northwest Straits Marine Resource Committees to protect and restore important forage fish habitat, and support the restoration of 8 acres of juvenile salmon habitat in the Skagit River.