Chronology of Southern Resident Killer Whale (Puget Sound Orca) Actions

December 2016: NOAA released 5-Year Status Review for Southern Resident killer whales, December 2016

January 26, 2016: Initiation of 5-Year Status Review for Southern Resident killer whales. Comments due April 25, 2016

February 23, 2015: NOAA Fisheries announced a 12-month finding on a petition to revise the Critical Habitat Designation for the Southern Resident killer whale distinct population segment is warranted.  

February 10, 2015: NOAA Fisheries announced a final rule that includes Lolita, a captive killer whale at the Miami Seaquarium, in the endangered species listing for the Southern Resident killer whale population.

April 25, 2014: NOAA Fisheries accepted petition & will consider whether revising critical habitat for Southern Resident killer whales is warranted. 

Jan. 24, 2014:  NOAA Fisheries announces a 12-month finding on the Lolita petition and a proposed rule to include Lolita as a member of the ESA-listed Southern Resident killer whale distinct population segment and remove the exclusion for captive members of the population.

Aug. 5, 2013:  NOAA Fisheries determines that delisting the Southern Resident killer whale distinct population segment (DPS) is not warranted

Apr. 29, 2013:  NOAA Fisheries accepts a petition to include Lolita in the ESA listing of Southern Resident killer whales

Nov. 27, 2012: NOAA Fisheries accepts a petition to delist Southern Resident killer whales

Apr. 8, 2011: NOAA Fisheries announces regulations to protect killer whales in Washington State from the effects of various vessel activities

Mar. 17, 2011: NOAA Fisheries concludes the 5-year review & determines that no change is needed in endangered ESA listing status of Southern Resident killer whales

Dec. 8, 2010:  NOAA Fisheries extends public comment period on application for killer whale scientific research permit amendment

Nov. 9, 2010:  NOAA Fisheries requests public comments on application for killer whale scientific research permit amendment

Apr. 6, 2010: NOAA Fisheries requests public comments on status for 5-year review

July 2009-January 2010: NOAA Fisheries takes public comments on proposed vessel regulations and holds meetings

October 19, 2009:  NOAA Fisheries extends public comment period for proposed killer whale vessel regulations

Sep. 17, 2009:  NOAA Fisheries announces public meetings on proposed protective vessel regulations for Puget Sound killer whales

July 29, 2009: NOAA Fisheries proposes regulations to protect killer whales in Washington State from effects of various vessel activities 271kb

Jan. 24, 2008: NOAA Fisheries releases final ESA Recovery Plan for Puget Sound killer whales

Mar. 22, 2007: NOAA Fisheries requests input on potential regulations to protect killer whales from effects of various vessel activities

Nov. 29, 2006: NOAA Fisheries proposes ESA recovery plan for Southern Resident killer whales

Nov. 29, 2006: NOAA Fisheries designates final ESA critical habitat for the Southern Residents

June-August 2006: NOAA Fisheries takes public comments on proposed critical habitat and holds meetings

June 15, 2006: NOAA Fisheries proposes ESA critical habitat for the Southern Residents

Nov. 18, 2005: NOAA Fisheries lists Southern Resident killer whales as "endangered" under the ESA

Oct. 3, 2005: NOAA Fisheries releases Proposed Conservation Plan for Southern Resident Killer Whales

December 2004-March 2005: NOAA Fisheries takes public comment on its proposed ESA listing determination, holds meetings and hearings, and conducts peer review

Dec. 22, 2004: NOAA Fisheries proposes "threatened" ESA listing for Southern Resident killer whales

Mar. 2, 2004: NOAA Fisheries announces status review update and request for more information on Eastern North Pacific Southern Resident killer whaless.

Dec. 17, 2003: As a result of a court challenge brought by original petitioners seeking listing status for the killer whales, NOAA Fisheries is told by federal court to reconsider process by which it determined ESA listing eligibility and to make new finding by Dec. 17, 2004

May 29, 2003: NOAA Fisheries declares Southern Resident killer whales "depleted" under Marine Mammal Protection Act pdf format  and begins work on conservation plan for them, which is essentially identical to "recovery plan" that would be required if they'd been listed under the ESA

Jan. 30, 2003:  NOAA Fisheries requests comments on proposal to designate Southern Resident killer whales as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

July 1, 2002: NOAA Fisheries determines that while population of Southern Residents is falling and the whales are in trouble, they don’t meet standards for protection under the ESA.pdf format Because of the way scientists classify all killer whales as a single world-wide species, Southern Residents don’t meet criterion of biological "significance" and thus cannot be listed. At the same time, NOAA Fisheries says that it will start process to declare Southern Residents "depleted" species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Aug. 13, 2001: NOAA Fisheries formally accepts ESA listing petition and begins process to determine if these killer whales qualify for protection

May 2001: Center for Biological Diversity petitions NOAA Fisheries to list Southern Resident killer whales under the Endangered Species Act