Endangered Humpback Whales Get Extra Habitat Protection Along West Coast

"Endangered populations of humpback whales received extra protection Tuesday when the Biden administration issued a final rule designating critical habitat for the huge marine mammals across more than 116,098 square nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean, including most of the California coast.

The rule, which was prompted by a lawsuit by conservation and American Indian groups that the federal government settled in 2018, helps protect endangered and threatened populations beyond the Endangered Species Act by requiring the federal government to also protect the animals’ feeding grounds, which conservationists say is needed to help their populations rebound further.

“The reason that critical habitat protection is so valuable is that it puts the federal government and the public on notice about the areas that are essential to the conservation of these animals,” said Catherine Kilduff, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, the Oakland conservation group that filed the lawsuit with Wishtoyo Foundation, affiliated with the Chumash tribe in Southern California, and the environmental group Turtle Island Restoration Network."

Tara Duggan reports for the San Francisco Chronicle April 20, 2021.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, 04/23/2021