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NOAA - Southern Resident Killer Whales and Snake River Dams 2016 Fact Sheet

Southern Resident killer whales are a distinct population of killer whales that eat primarily salmon and spend much of the summer months in the inland waters of the Salish Sea. NOAA Fisheries listed Southern Residents as endangered in 2005, and in 2015 named the whales as one of eight “Species in the Spotlight” that warrant intensive, focused efforts to help them recover. A 2014 NOAA Fisheries report summarized the first decade of conservation and research since the population was listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and identified three primary threats to the Southern Resident population:
• Availability of prey, especially salmon
• Pollution and chemical contaminants
• Vessel traffic and noise

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NOAA - Southern Resident Killer Whales and West Coast Chinook Salmon - 2018 Fact Sheet

Endangered Southern Resident killer whales prey primarily on Chinook salmon that historically returned in great numbers to rivers up and down the West Coast. NOAA Fisheries analyzed Chinook salmon stocks based on their estimated importance to the whales and found that the most crucial stocks are those returning to the Fraser River in British Columbia, other rivers draining into Puget Sound and the Salish Sea, and the Columbia, Snake, Klamath, and Sacramento rivers. Tracking studies show that some of the whales visit the mouths of these West Coast rivers in search of their preferred Chinook salmon prey, but all of the rivers help support the whales over the course of each year.

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Bonneville Power Administration’s Fact Sheet: Benefits of the Lower Snake River Dams

A Northwest energy solution:Regional power benefits of the lower Snake River dams 
Clean, flexible and reliable. The lower Snake River dams are part of a Northwest energy solution with the capability to generate over 3,000 megawatts of carbon-free power. 

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