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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
CNO Assists State, Coast Guard and NOAA With Humpback Whale Rescue Effort
Region 8, May 20, 2007
Service vessels and crew assist with whale rescue efforts in the Sacramento River
Service vessels and crew assist with whale rescue efforts in the Sacramento River - Photo Credit: n/a

On Sunday, May 20, the Director of the Department of Fish and Game (DFG), Ryan Broddrick contacted USFWS California/Nevada Operations Manager, Steve Thompson soliciting help in their effort to guide two wayward humpback whales back to the Pacific Ocean.  Within hours of the request, the Stockton Fish and Wildlife OfficeWO had eight employees and four boats ready to assist before operations were called off for the night.  On Monday morning a boat and crew of four from the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge joined the effort for a total of five vessels and 13 staff members to assist DFG, the U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, and local law enforcement agencies in their attempts to encourage the whales to swim downstream and back to the ocean. The Sacramento Refuge and the Sacramento FWO also responded by being ready to assist with their crew and boats.  Crews were on stand-by on Monday near the confluence of the Sacramento and the San Joaquin Rivers to assist in maintaining the whales downstream in the Delta in case they progressed that far.  On Tuesday afternoon one USFWS vessel and crew relieved a DFG crew in whale herding operations. Wednesday four Service vessels and 15 staff assisted with boat operations and pipe clanging trying the herd the whales downstream with an additional boat and crew of 3 stationed downstream at the confluence

 

Incident command and NOAA called off the herding and pipe clanging strategy Wednesday around noon.  As of Thursday morning the Service is assessing staff and resource availability for the Memorial Day weekend as well as planning for a continued effort to direct the whales downstream starting Tuesday May 29.  A total of 19 USFWS staff have assisted in this project, showing how Service employees know how to help with any emergency at a moments notice.  

 

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov