Submitted by Governor Jay Inslee’s office.
It’s difficult to imagine a Washington without orcas or salmon. These species are part of the cultural identity, fishing economy and tourism industry of our region. But both Washington’s Southern Resident orcas and salmon are facing a dismal fate. More than a century of development and human activity along the Puget Sound and Columbia River along with the ravages of climate change are largely to blame.
On Dec. 13, Gov. Jay Inslee announced an unprecedented investment to save Southern Resident orcas. Without taking bold actions and drastically changing human impact to our environment, these animals may not survive. Inslee’s 2019–21 state operating, capital and transportation budgets include a broad array of investments to build towards thriving and resilient orca and salmon populations.
“We are undertaking a herculean effort to save these iconic creatures. It will take action at every level of the environment across our entire state,” Inslee said. “We need to restore the ecosystem to one that sustains orcas, salmon and the quality of life for all Washingtonians.”
Supporting Southern Resident orca recovery efforts is one of the top priorities of Inslee’s 2019–21 budgets. His operating, capital and transportation budgets for the next biennium include a combined $1.1 billion in investments that will help ensure a thriving and resilient orca population. Besides helping orcas, these investments will have significant benefits for the region’s entire ecosystem and complement efforts to recover salmon, tackle climate change, improve water quality and more.