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From Ventura to San Luis Obispo, from Santa Barbara to Santa Maria, KCLU's in-depth, thoughtful coverage of all the news that matter to you.

Whale Census Underway In Santa Barbara County To Help Assess Status Of Gray Whales

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Annual Gray Whale Census Underway In Santa Barbara County

A team of volunteers from the Central and South Coasts is taking part in a very unique census effort.

For nearly 100 days a year, for eight hours a day, volunteers are camped out on a scenic bluff near U-C Santa Barbara, scanning the ocean for gray whales. It’s an important part of efforts to assess the state of the gray whale population.

The Santa Barbara based Gray Whales Count project coordinates the efforts of about 100 volunteers who staff a viewing post at Coal Oil Point, near UC Santa Barbara.

The numbers help the federal National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration, the agency charged with protecting gray whales, track the health of the species. The numbers this season so far are reported to be strong, with 661 whales counted with a little more than two months left.