King County launches research vessel to join emergency Puget Sound orca recovery effort

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Dow Constantine, 2nd left, christens the
SoundGuardian in 2016
King County Executive Dow Constantine directed King County’s marine research vessel, SoundGuardian, to join the state, federal and tribal coalition that has come together to rescue the endangered residents of Puget Sound’s orca population.

Operating with a crew of three, SoundGuardian left its dock at the King County Environmental Laboratory in Fremont early Sunday morning, Aug. 5, and was expected to dock at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham later that day.

Once there, the vessel will operate with others under the authority of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials who are coordinating emergency recovery actions.

“Orcas are the Salish Sea’s most iconic residents, and we all share the responsibility of protecting these beloved animals,” said Executive Dow Constantine. “We are doing whatever we can to help the orca now, and fulfill long term goals to improve the health of local waterways and the Salish Sea.”

Launched in 2016, SoundGuardian is King County’s primary marine research vessel and is used by scientists to collect samples, assist in monitoring buoy maintenance, and other work. The 48-foot, twin-hulled vessel provides workers with a swift and stable platform for a variety of open-water tasks.


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