"Critical Habitat Set Aside for Endangered Cook Inlet Beluga Whale"
"JUNEAU -- Two areas of Alaska's Cook Inlet will be designated as critical habitat for the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale, NOAA's Fisheries Service, Alaska Regional Office announced today.
The critical habitat designation encompasses 3,016 square miles of marine and estuarine environments considered by scientists to be essential for the whales' survival.
Beluga whale mother, right, and calf in Cook Inlet (Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries Service)
Today's rule finalizes critical habitat first proposed in December 2009, following a notice of intent to sue by the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity."Source: ENS, 04/12/2011