The Obama administration has approved plans for underwater blasts to test for oil and gas off the Atlantic coast. Marine ecologists say the plans will compound an already noise polluted ocean. Leila Hatch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told a Savannah audience that noise is bombarding marine life.
Soon, ships sailing through the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick will get to their destinations a little bit slower. That’s because of a federal regulation to protect the endangered right whale. Officials are now enforcing a speed limit for ships, designed to protect the whales during their winter birthing season.
Advocates for endangered whales want officials to extend ship speed limits. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration started enforcing ship speed rules five-years-ago. And since then no whales have died from ship strikes.
Environmental groups are asking a federal appeals court to overturn a judge's ruling that would allow the Navy to build an undersea training range close to waters where endangered right whales give birth each winter off the coasts of south Georgia and north Florida.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources reports that a boater off Hilton Head, S.C., photographed the first mother and calf right whales of the season on Nov. 27. The department has received other reports of right whale sightings off Georgia and Florida.
Conservationists are on the lookout for endangered right whales arriving along the southern Atlantic coast, where the giant sea mammals migrate each winter to give birth to their calves. Federal and state wildlife officials closely monitor the waters off Georgia and Florida during the calving season from mid-November to April 1.
A federal judge says the Navy can build a $100 million offshore training range for submarine warfare despite environmentalists' concerns that it would threaten endangered right whales. A US District Judge ruled the Navy took a "hard look" before concluding risks to whales would be minimal off the coast of southern Georgia and northern Florida.
Researchers are reporting a disappointingly sparse calving season for endangered right whales off the southern Atlantic coast. Scientists said they spotted only six newborn calves this past winter off the coasts of Georgia and Florida.
The U.S. Navy is heading to court in Georgia Thursday, where environmental groups say plans for an offshore range for military training poses threats to endangered right whales. The Navy says it already takes precautions to avoid harming whales and the judge should strongly consider its needs for military readiness.
Right whales are highly endangered, with researchers estimating as few as 350 still exist. The large whales are closely monitored every December through March when they migrate to the warm waters off the southern Atlantic coast to birth their young.