TIME IS RUNNING OUT - Don't Let Orcas Be Dammed!

The Southern Resident orcas live in the waters off the Northwest coast of the United States. This small, highly endangered population is threatened by prey depletion, biocontamination, and vessel noise and effects. They rely on Chinook salmon as their primary source of food, but Chinook are also endangered in the Pacific Northwest. Dams and habitat loss in rivers have decimated Chinook populations, which need healthy rivers and responsible river management to recover. The Southern Residents need healthy, abundant populations of wild salmon – or we risk losing this unique community to extinction.

Dammed to Extinction?

Not if we can help it - please donate today

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recently recognized that these orcas live on the brink of extinction, and have designated them as a “Species in the Spotlight,” in need of swift recovery efforts. Restoring healthy rivers and abundant wild salmon runs is one of the best actions we can take to help the Southern Residents.  As well as reducing salmon populations, old, decrepit, “deadbeat” dams can also cause other issues, like pollution and habitat degradation, and have a huge economic cost to upgrade and maintain. The changes caused by dams can have irreversible consequences for river ecosystems, our oceans, and the whales and dolphins who live there. The human race has reshaped and altered the flow of rivers, and in doing so has caused many of these unintended changes to river ecosystems.

Rethinking the way we use rivers and taking action to restore healthy river ecosystems is one way we can reverse the unintended consequences of building dams.

Restoring salmon populations will have a significant positive impact on the remaining Southern Resident orcas.

Without salmon, these orcas will NOT recover.

“Deadbeat dams” are those that have outlived their intended use and continue to cause more harm than good on river systems in the Pacific Northwest.  By blocking access to historic spawning grounds and degrading river habitats, these dams are destroying Pacific Northwest salmon populations that the Southern Residents need to survive.  Deadbeat dams are prime candidates for removal, as they are old, in disrepair and have outlived their intended use. We are asking you to support WDC in our efforts for ecosystem recovery in the Pacific Northwest, to increase Chinook salmon populations and help the Southern Resident orca community survive and thrive.

7 Things you can do today:

  1. Donate to WDC! Financially support the work that we are doing to protect the Southern Residents and other orca populations.
  2. Join the #MigrationNation and be the voice for Southern Resident orcas in restoring west coast rivers.
  3. Contact your local elected officials and ask them to support river and ecosystem recovery in the Pacific Northwest.
  4. Be smart when buying salmon at the grocery store – avoid Chinook salmon and download an app that helps you choose sustainable seafood.
  5. Buy salmon-safe and other green goods and products.
  6. Learn more about orcas and salmon and tell your friends!
  7. Follow WDC for more ways to help and future actions to support ecosystem recovery in the Pacific Northwest.

Learn more about orcas

infographic showing negative impact of dams on orca population