NOAA Fisheries issues recovery plan for Cook Inlet beluga whales
Recovery expected to take two generations (50 years)
A Cook Inlet beluga whale surfaces in Eagle Bay on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson where the Eagle River enters Cook Inlet.
© Chris Garner, DOD JBER, 8/18/2014
Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Recovery Plan
In October 2008, NMFS listed the Cook Inlet beluga whales as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Section 4(f) of the ESA requires NMFS to develop and implement a recovery plan for the conservation and survival of the Cook Inlet belugas, unless such a plan will not promote the conservation of the species.
The Recovery Plan must include: 1) a description of site-specific management actions that may be necessary to achieve the plan’s goal for the conservation and survival of the Cook Inlet belugas; 2) objective, measurable criteria which, when met, would result in a determination that the Cook Inlet belugas may be removed from the ESA; 3) estimates of the time required and the cost to carry out those measures needed to achieve the plan’s goal and to achieve intermediate steps toward that goal
In 2010, NMFS convened a Recovery Team to aide in the development of a draft Recovery Plan for Cook Inlet beluga whales. The Recovery Team was composed of two voluntary advisory groups: a Science Panel and a Stakeholder Panel. The first meeting of the Recovery Team was in March 2010. In March 2013, the Recovery Team provided NMFS with a first draft of the Recovery Plan and the team disbanded. On May 15, 2015, NMFS published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the availability of the draft Recovery Plan for public review and soliciting comments about the draft Recovery Plan through July 14, 2015. NMFS also solicited targeted peer reviews during this time period. NMFS took public and peer review comments into consideration when making revisions to the draft Recovery Plan and before releasing a final version of the Recovery Plan. The final version of the Recovery Plan was released in January 2017.
- Recovery Plan for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas), December 2016
- Draft Recovery Plan for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas), May 2015
- Recovery Outline for Cook Inlet beluga whales, February 2010
- Notice of intent to prepare a recovery plan for the Cook Inlet beluga whale (75 FR 4528, January 28, 2010)
Recovery Team - Disbanded March 2013
- Thank You Letter from NMFS: Recovery Team Disbanded, March 2013
- Recovery Team Members
- Terms of Reference for the Cook Inlet beluga whale Recovery Team
- Interim Endangered and Threatened Species Recovery Planning Guidance and Appendices
- 2008 Conservation Plan for Cook Inlet Belugas, October 2008
- ESA listing for Cook Inlet beluga whales (73 FR 62919, October 2008)
- ESA Section 7 Interagency Consultation Guidance
- More Information about Cook Inlet Beluga Whales