Critical Habitat for Southern Resident Killer Whales

Actions from November 29, 2006 to present

September 19, 2019: NOAA Fisheries proposes to revise the critical habitat designation for the Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW; Orcinus orca). Designated critical habitat currently includes inland waters of Washington state. The proposed revision would expand the critical habitat designation to include six new areas along the U.S. West Coast. The six new areas include roughly 15,626 square miles of marine waters from the U.S.-Canada border to Point Sur, California.

February 24, 2015: NOAA Fisheries announced a 12-month finding on a petition to revise the critical habitat designation for the Southern Resident killer whale. After reviewing the petition, public comments, and the best available information, we concluded that a revision is warranted and intend to proceed with a revision to critical habitat. In the Federal Register notice, we outline next steps for collecting and analyzing data, and for developing a proposed rule to revise critical habitat.

April 24, 2014: NOAA Fisheries accepted a petition to consider whether revising critical habitat for Southern Resident killer whales is warranted. We requested information on habitat needs and the West Coast area proposed for inclusion as critical habitat. We opened a public comment period that ended on June 24, 2014.

Comments received on information on habitat needs and the West Coast area proposed for inclusion as critical habitat are posted to Regulations.gov. In the "Search" box enter the docket number, "NOAA-NMFS-2014-0041" and click the "Public Submission" box under the Document Type heading on the left side of the screen.

November 29, 2006: NOAA Fisheries designated critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whales under the Endangered Species Act.

The dataset is intended to provide the public with a general basemap of areas designated as critical habitat for Southern Resident killer whales. Every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information depicted. Maps produced from this dataset DO NOT constitute a legal description of critical habitat. For exact legal descriptions of the areas designated as critical habitat (as well as the specific areas not designated) please consult the Final Rule (79 FR 69054; November 29, 2006) and 50 CFR § 226.206.

Last updated by West Coast Regional Office on December 04, 2019