Salmon, steelhead could return to Similkameen River if dam removed | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Salmon, steelhead could return to Similkameen River if dam removed

A B.C. outdoor recreation group is praising the province's efforts to support decommissioning of the defunct Enloe Dam on the Similkameen River in Washington State.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Recreation Council of B.C.
June 10, 2021 - 6:00 AM

Washington and British Columbia governments are working together to remove an obsolete dam that has blocked salmon migration for more to more than 500 kilometres of the Similkameen River.

The Outdoor Council of British Columbia says B.C. Environment and Climate Change Minister George Heyman recently penned a letter to Washington State officials, expressing his support for the decommissioning process of Enloe Dam on the Similkameen River near Oroville, Washington.

The Similkameen River’s source is east of Manning Park and flows into the Similkameen Valley through Princeton, Hedley, Keremeos and Cawston before crossing the U.S. border, where it flows over the Enloe Dam, an 18-metre high concrete wall located just west of Oroville.

The dam was built in 1920 and was constructed without fish ladders. Since it was built, salmon and steelhead runs have been eliminated from the Similkameen River, throughout its course in British Columbia.

In a release, the Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C. said it was encouraged by the cross-border efforts to decommission the dam, which has not produced electricity since 1958 and no longer provides benefits for irrigation or flood control purposes.

"Removing the Enloe Dam would be a great opportunity for both governments to work together to help restore the Similkameen River’s natural ecosystem and we applaud the province and Minister Heyman for their support of the dam decommissioning process,” Outdoor Recreation Council’s River Chair Mark Angelo said.

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