This section provides a listing of recommended research, management, monitoring, and education/outreach actions targeted at achieving recovery of CI belugas. These recommended actions are organized into two categories: 1) population monitoring, recovery plan implementation, and education/outreach actions; and 2) threats management actions. The population monitoring, recovery plan implementation, and education/outreach actions recognize the importance of continuing to monitor the population, not only to improve our understanding of the whales, but also as a means to determine if recovery of CI belugas is occurring. These actions are designed to allow for the implementation and oversight of recovery activities, as well as for implementation of outreach activities to ensure that the public is informed of the status of threats, and actions taken, to reduce the effects of those threats to CI belugas. The threats management actions encompass actions aimed at assessing and managing the threats ranked as medium or high relative concern, and include actions that allow us to better understand the threats and their effects on CI belugas and to improve our ability to manage or mitigate the threats.
The narrative provided for each action is intended to provide guidance to resource managers, stakeholders, industry, researchers, and the public. These actions are intended to reduce or eliminate medium- and high-ranked threats and to recover CI belugas. These recommended actions are forward looking. They do not include those actions that NMFS or others have already implemented or are in the process of implementing, nor do they include tasks that address a threat of low relative concern.
NMFS intends for the recovery plan to be a dynamic document that may change over time based on the progress of recovery and the availability of new information. As new information is obtained, additional actions will be identified and incorporated into the plan. As is the case for all recovery plans under the ESA, NMFS will regularly review this plan and will assess the relative success of these actions in protecting CI belugas. Recovery actions may be changed, subtracted, or added accordingly. We also recognize that implementing the recommended recovery actions listed in this section is not the only viable path forward and that actions not included in this plan may contribute to recovery of CI belugas. For example, there may be better methods for assessing if a particular threat is limiting recovery. In addition, we recognize that some research or monitoring actions may be dependent on continued funding, and may not be achieved if funding is unavailable. Actions intended to obtain the same information as actions contemplated in this plan should not be dismissed just because they are not included in this plan.
Any action which may harass or harm CI belugas, even if on this list, should first involve discussions with NMFS AKR staff to ensure the benefits to CI beluga recovery outweigh the potential costs to individual whales or the population. Actions which may result in any form of take to CI belugas must be authorized by NMFS in advance of the proposed implementation date.