"Washington's endangered orca whales received new habitat protections from the federal government on Friday.
The National Marine Fisheries Service finalized rules to expand the orca's critical habitat from the Canadian border all the way down to Point Sur in California, adding 15,910 square miles of foraging areas, river mouths and migratory pathways.
Including the Salish Sea, the total protected area now encompasses more than 18,000 square miles according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
'These critically endangered orcas are finally getting the federal habitat protections they desperately need,' said Julie Teel Simmonds, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. 'This long-overdue habitat rule will help save these extraordinary animals and their prey from pollution, noise, harassment and habitat degradation.'"