Ferry Highways and their contribution to Habitat Degradation of Orca Whales

Edmonds, WA, United States; Kingston, WA, United States
Est. 9.0km / 2 hrs 38 mins / Map

Ferry Highways and their contribution to Habitat Degradation of Orca Whales - Cya On The Road

This walking/boat tour will examine the affects of the Edmonds-Kingston ferry highway on marine life, specifically Orca whales. These vessels contribute noise disturbance and toxic contaminants to the water that limit prey and degrade the natural habitats of these animals. Throughout this tour, we will explore how this happens, where its effects can be seen, and what communities and the WSDOT can do to reduce this degradation. This will link to the larger issue of Development and it's affects on wildlife. Script: Before you begin this tour, take a brief moment to consider all the things you love about the Pacific Northwest. We live in one of the most beautiful areas in the country, surrounded by centuries-old treess, beautiful mountain scapes, stunning beaches and prosperous wildlife. What if that was no longer the case? What if the things you loved most about the PNW were gone?  Orcas are one of the most unique aspects of the PNW and serve as a symbol for the area andd the special wildlife that reside here. However,  The Southern Resident Killer Whale population has decreased by over 25% in the last 2 decades, leaving only 73 left in existence. Their numbers have been steadily decreasing since 1995 due to pollutants, vessel traffic and noise, and prey availability.  These whales hold significant cultural and spiritual importance to the coastal tribes and communities in Washington State. They are also vital to the balance and health of the marine ecosystem in the area.  Throughout this tour, we will discuss each of these but will focus primarily on vessel traffic and its contribution to underwater noise and habitat degradation in the Puget Sound and Salish Sea. Our tour will take place along the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry highway. This is a five mile route that typically takes 25 minutes per crossing. The ferry runs year round, with over 50 ferry trips made daily between the two destinations. Whale watching companies, large container ships, cruises and recreational boats also have large impacts on these animals. The ferry route is an accessible example of these repercussions and throughout this tour you will be able to experience the habitat of Orcas and if you’re lucky, maybe even see some from afar.  Our first stop on the tour will Brackett’s Landing - a small beach park adjacent to the Edmonds Ferry Terminal. This location will allow you to see the entire passage across the Puget Sound. Here, we will focus on how Orcas are intwined with the history and culture of the area and surrounding communities. After examining Brackett’s landing, you will take the ferry across the Sound and finish at the Kingston Marina to learn more about individual impacts on marine life and what you, as an individual,  can do to reduce these and protect the lives of the Southern Resident Killer Whales.   

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