Three Green Marine participants are combining efforts to find ways to reduce underwater noise in the Pacific Northwest region. The Northwest Seaport Alliance, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, and Washington State Ferries are working together with NOAA and the Puget Sound Partnership to lessen and mitigate noise impacts on the Southern resident killer whales (SRKW). This non-migratory orca population in the Salish Sea is having its ability to communicate and locate food hindered by underwater noise.
All three Green Marine participants gathered with other stakeholders at an October 3rd workshop to learn about the voluntary noise reduction program already in place at the Port of Vancouver in British Columbia. They looked at how these measures could be implemented in Puget Sound waters, as recommended by a SRKW taskforce created by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee.
The workshop constituted the first step towards establishing an outreach and coordination process. The initial focus included underwater acoustic monitoring to determine when and where the whales are present to eventually provide real-time notifications for ship operators. The goal is to reach agreements among relevant stakeholder groups by next summer.