Okanagan River channel being primed for fish once again | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan River channel being primed for fish once again

A culvert will be installed across the Okanagan River channel between Aug. 30 and Sept. 30 this year as part of a First Nations fish enhancement project.
August 28, 2020 - 8:00 AM

A First Nations initiative to restore fish habitat is moving forward into its second stage next week.

Okanagan River Restoration initiative public relations coordinator Lee McFadyen says the project is one of several intended to bring sockeye salmon and other species back to the Okanagan River.

She says this latest fish enhancement project includes work done this spring to enhance the former Okanagan River floodplain on Penticton Indian Band lands to the west side of the dike between the KVR abutments and the bridge across the channel at the Penticton Golf Course.

The work included excavating and contouring of 8,800 square-metres of ground and was preliminary preparation for the area to receive water from the Okanagan River.

When the Okanagan River was channelized, the river was isolated from its floodplain and lost 50 per cent of its length, along with 93 per cent of its riparian habitat.

Channelization also lowered the water table by three metres in the Penticton Channel portion.

This project will restore floodplain and riparian areas for Chinook salmon and other species of fish, along with species at risk.

The water is being delivered via a fish-friendly culvert which is to be installed later this year as Stage 2 of the project gets underway on Sept. 1.

McFadyen says the culvert will be delivered Sept. 1 and 2, requiring traffic interruptions at the junction of West Bench Hill Road and Highway 97, to the Eckhardt Avenue bridge.

The project will also involve temporary full closure of the Penticton channel dike trail between Penticton Golf Course and the former Kettle Valley railed across the Okanagan channel from Aug. 30 to Sept. 30.

Location of culvert and enhanced former floodplain west of the Okanagan RIver channel.
Location of culvert and enhanced former floodplain west of the Okanagan RIver channel.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Lee Mcfadyen

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