Orca spotted off Vashon Island

Orcas in Puget Sound
Orcas swimming off Vashon Island in Puget Sound. Photo: Andrew Uber

In case you haven’t seen the latest headlines, an orca pod has been spotted off of Vashon Island. The pod was photographed by locals yesterday late afternoon. Residents gathered at the edge of the beach watching the orcas breach and swim in the nearshore.

DNR’s Aquatic Reserve Program designated Maury Island, an island neighboring Vashon Island, seven years ago as an official aquatic reserve. This site is known for the following ecological functions within Puget Sound:

1. Spawning grounds for one of only 18 distinct Pacific herring spawning areas in Puget Sound.

2. Chinook salmon migratory corridors and rearing areas, bottom fish rearing habitat, and  bull trout migratory corridors.

3. Identified by the Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area and, in particular, an important area for wintering marine birds, especially western grebes.

4. A unique and diverse set of habitats and species that include extensive eelgrass beds, kelp beds, sand and mudflats, herring, surf smelt, and sand lance spawning grounds.

Visit DNR’s Aquatic Reserve Program to learn more about other protected areas within Puget Sound.