Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beluga Whales: NOAA proposes critical habitat in Alaska

Back in March of this year, I reported on efforts being undertaken to protect a dwindling population of Beluga Whales in Alaska's Cook Inlet - a slender offshoot in the Gulf of Alaska that leads to north to Anchorage. Impacted by pollution and development, partly related to oil drilling activities, the number of whales have declined from over 1000 in the 1980's to a little over 300 today.

On Tuesday, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) proposed a 3,000 square mile area as critical habitat for these whales. This is a positive first step, in response to legal action from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), and repudiates the position taken at the time by now former Alaska governor, Sarah Palin.

Next will be the required public comment period. You can expect that there will be rebuttals from the oil industry and other less conservation-minded groups. Pro-whale advocates and groups will need to make their voices heard during this crucial next step.

Check in with CBD or stay tuned to this blog to hear about what you can do to contribute.

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