Active Projects

Active Projects

Since its launch in June 2021, Quiet Sound has made significant headway toward its overall goal – to better understand and reduce the effects of acoustic and physical disturbances from large commercial vessels on the endangered Southern Resident killer whales in Washington waters. Since our launch we watched as the SRKWs welcomed three new babies and yet we also know that other pregnancies were lost. We welcome these new young whales as signs of hope while also recognizing that the whales continue to struggle with lack of food, toxins in the water, and vessel impacts. This motivates our work to build on our first biennium of progress and make a real difference in the water for these iconic whales and other cetaceans in Washington waters.


Quiet Sound’s staff lead our projects and support a consensus-based decision-making body, the leadership committee. The Leadership Committee meets quarterly, supported by five work groups, who advise the Leadership Committee on underwater noise, whale reporting, vessel operations, new technologies for vessel quieting, treaty rights, and adaptive management.


Quiet Sound is funded by state, local, federal, and philanthropic funding sources. Quiet Sound’s first biennium of operation was funded by the Puget Sound Partnership, Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma, and the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the EPA, NOAA, Bonneville Environmental Foundation,the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and individual donors.


In our first biennium, Quiet Sound embarked on five projects to help operationalize the program, conduct much-needed research, and foster innovative whale detection technologies.

What’s next for Quiet Sound? Sustainable funding sources are needed to ensure the longevity and success of this program. The Quiet Sound staff, leadership committee and work group members continue to search for that funding, work to advance the program and projects, create and maintain meaningful partnerships, all in the service of supporting the recovery of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.

To stay up to date on all things Quiet Sound, you can reach out to us here or follow Maritime Blue on LinkedIn and Twitter.


The Whale Report Alert System (WRAS) provides commercial mariners with real-time alerts on whale sightings in proximity to their ship. Quiet Sound aims to improve WRAS by supporting the input of Washington-based Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) sightings data, in addition to the existing Canadian sightings data. This will ensure robust WRAS coverage of orca presence in Washington waters. Funding for this project is provided by NOAA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Quiet Sound, Ocean Wise, Orca Network, and the Whale Alert app developers have made significant progress toward increasing Washington-based SRKW sightings data in WRAS. Quiet Sound has contracted with Ocean Wise for WRAS services and to create the technology link needed to connect Washing-based orca sightings to commercial mariners. Quiet Sound also contracted with Orca Network to upload their real-time whale sightings data into Whale Alert. Orca Network has helped increase mariner awareness of Southern Resident Killer Whale locations via 614 sightings entries from October 2022 to January 2023. 


Slowdown areas are designated zones on the water that cover parts of the shipping lanes. In these areas, at certain times, large commercial vessels are asked to voluntarily reduce their speed to lessen their impact on the endangered Southern Resident killer whale. In Canadian waters, slowdown areas are successful in lessening the underwater noise emitted by large vessels while in critical orca habitats. Quiet Sound is exploring the possibility of a voluntary, seasonal slowdown area trial in Washington State waters.

With guidance from mariners, tribes, and scientists, Quiet Sound developed and ran a trial voluntary vessel slowdown from October 24, 2022 to January 12, 2023 in Admiralty Inlet/north Puget Sound. Quiet Sound monitored ship noise levels, ship speeds, and whale presence as vessels transited through the designated slowdown area. Many vessels were able to slow their speeds to help quiet this area of critical habitat for the orcas. The Quiet Sound team is actively analyzing the data collected during the slowdown and will share results in spring 2023. For more information on the October 2023-January 2024 voluntary slowdown, visit our slowdown page.

Quiet Sound

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