Orca Action Month: Toxics and You


Toxic chemicals in our water create problems for human and wildlife health. Toxics can make people and animals sick and have long-lasting impacts on the ecosystem as a whole. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to help keep our waters clean and our future healthy.

The first and simplest thing that you can do is to dispose of chemicals properly. Chemicals used in cleaning supplies, fertilizers, paints, vehicle maintenance, personal care, and other common household products should never be dumped down storm drains or into streams and waterways. Instead, check with your city or county to see what hazardous waste disposal services are offered in your area.

Regular car maintenance is an easy way to help as well. Keeping your tires inflated minimizes wear and reduces the amount of 6PPD-q and other toxics left on roadways, and preventing leaks helps keep oil, gasoline, and other liquids from ending up in the water. And if you want to recapture that “new car shine” take your car to a commercial car wash instead of doing it at home — commercial car washes are required to treat their dirty wash water.

One of the best ways to prevent toxics from entering rivers, streams, and the ocean is to let nature take care of it at the source. Planting native plants in your yard not only minimizes the need to use potentially harmful chemical fertilizers, but native plants also perform better in the local conditions, meaning you’ll spend less time watering! Rain gardens are another great way to help minimize toxic infiltration into streams and rivers. Rain gardens capture polluted stormwater and filter it through plants, mulch, sand and gravel, cleaning it before it reaches streams and rivers.

To support the local ecosystem, join or organize habitat restoration events! Restoring habitat along streams and rivers not only helps water quality but benefits the ecosystem, ensuring salmon and other aquatic species have a healthy environment in which to grow and reproduce. A healthier ecosystem along waterways means more and better quality salmon for SRKW and all who depend on the Salish Sea for sustenance.

Orca Action Month is a reminder that Southern Resident killer whales need our help, as do the countless other species that live in Washington’s freshwater and saltwater ecosystems. Visit Take Action | Orca Action Month (orcamonth.com) to learn more about the actions that you can take this month and every month to help wildlife, and visit Killer whale (orca) conservation and management | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to learn more about WDFW’s efforts to conserve Killer Whales.



The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.