Beluga Whale Seeks Your Protection
Tomorrow is the last day that the National Marine Fisheries Service will be accepting public comments calling for the protection of Cook Inlet as Critical Habitat for the beluga whales. This action is necessary for beluga whales to recover to a healthy population. So far, the response has been huge from ORI ecostewards, with 3000 signatures and hundreds of reasons why protecting beluga whale habitat is important. We will compile your letters Wednesday morning to meet the March 3rd deadline.
Why is this important? As recently as the 1980s, there were 1300 belugas swimming in Cook Inlet.  When the population shrank to about 400, subsistance killing of belugas was banned.  In 2008 NMFS reported 375 belugas.  Today, only 321 belugas are estimated in Cook Inlet.  Environmental conditions and factors, not substitance hunters, are to blame when numbers continue to fall. Nobody really knows why, but less stresses from pollution and other disturbances would certainly help the beluga whales recover.  What is clear is that beluga habitat must be protected and managed more sustainably. NMFS's proposed rule relies on the best available science to identify the physical, chemical and biological factors needed for a growing whale population.
Please join our call for habitat protection for beluga whales and for the health of all wildlife in Cook Inlet. Restoring the beluga populations benefits all - including you, other visitors, and future generations coming to this gorgeous ocean embayment.

“I grew up in Alaska, and in the '70s we would sometimes see Belugas in the Cook Inlet as we drove toward Seward.  They were a part of the identity of Alaska; a unique and wonderful creature that is part of the Alaska Native culture and legends. Our Electric company was named Beluga Electric!  Some of the earliest memories I have as a child are of seeing these wonderful beasts surface and hoping they weren't being chased by "killer whales", as we called Orcas back then.  Our planet has suffered so many permanent losses... Please protect the beautiful, unique Beluga from the same fate as so many of the once flourishing creatures of my home.”
- Pamela Ash of Eagle River, Alaska, 1/20/10
Write-in $5 on the donations page and help ORI to meet the average per person cost of influencing decision-makers. Thanks for helping us all get heard!

Salem Harber with kayaks and little boy diving in
Thank you for your work for a comprehensive national ocean policy. We recommend the great need for:
a.) an executive order to formally establish a national ocean policy that will better manage and protect our great waters and shores;
b.) a national council to oversee implementation of the policy; and
c.) a framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning.

We are now making a push for editorials and op-eds in local newspapers. Sample letters-to-editors are available that you may use or modify.  If you’d like to help ORI with this effort please reply to this eAlert.

We’re looking for informed citizens and conservation-minded fishermen, along with scientists and prominent regional conservationists to write letters-to-editors or op-ed pieces in the following communities: Portland, ME, Boston, MA, Newark/Trenton, NJ, Baltimore, MD, Richmond, VA, Atlanta, GA, Charleston, SC, Charleston, WV, Miami/Tallahassee, FL, New Orleans, LA, Houston, TX, Chicago, IL, Detroit, MI, Cleveland, OH, Denver, CO, Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA, and Honolulu, HI.  We have a media team that will work with individuals willing to sign-on in these media markets.

Elsewhere, if you’d like help writing to your local newspapers, let us know and we’ll provide you with helpful materials.  To help ORI with this effort please reply to this eAlert.
Thanks for stepping up and lending your voice to saving oceans and other great waters. 

Prospect Hill, Somerville 350 activists
More Ways To Get Involved!

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Ocean River Institute
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