Southern Resident Killer Whale ESA Recovery Plan Implementation - Oil Spills

Oil spills have been identified as a risk to killer whales and other marine mammals. Preventing an oil spill is the best way to protect whales and the environment. In the event of a spill, however, it’s important for us to be prepared for a response that will minimize impacts. The recovery plan ( 1.7MB) includes actions to minimize the risk of oil spills, including developing strategies to deter whales from entering spilled oil.

2.1 Minimize the risk of oil spills:

2.1.1 Prevent oil spills.

Department of Ecology, Spill Prevention Link to a non-government website

2.1.2 Prepare for and respond to oil spills to minimize their effects on Southern Resident killer whales.

NOAA's Marine Mammal Oil Spill Response Guidelines

Rescue Tug, Emergency Response Towing Vessel Link to a non-government website

2.1.3 Develop strategies to deter killer whales from entering spilled oil.

The NW Area Contingency Plan is the guidance for spill response in the Northwest. Under it, the Wildlife Branch coordinates all personnel working with wildlife, including federal, state and local agencies, and commercial and non-profit organizations. This oil spill response plan includes information on some tools and techniques that could be used to minimize exposure of killer whales to spilled oil. It's designed to inform the Wildlife Branch, in coordination with NOAA, about options for monitoring and hazing whales during an oil spill response.

The Wildlife Response Plan section on killer whales was drafted from information gathered at an October 2007 meeting jointly hosted by NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Region and the SeaDoc Society, a program of the University of California-Davis Wildlife Health Center, School of Veterinary Medicine. Detailed meeting notes, including literature cited, are available on the SeaDoc Society website.Link to a non-government website

Northwest Area Contingency Plan, 9310 - Northwest Wildlife Response Plan (see Killer whale section starting on page 9310-27)Link to a non-government website PDF Formatted Document 826kb

Oil Spill Response - Killer Whale Hazing Implementation Plan PDF Formatted Document 418kb

NOAA Oil Spill Response & Killer Whales