Okanagan River Restoration Initiative (ORRI)
The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is currently preparing for the construction of salmon spawning areas in the Penticton Channel, as:
- Fish passage is now provided at the dam located downstream of Skaha Lake and salmon have regained access to the Penticton Channel area.
- Salmon spawning habitat is currently extremely limited within the Penticton Channel, mainly due to river channelization in the 1950’s.
ORRI – Background Information:
- The ONA is working in collaboration with provincial and federal agencies to restore fish habitat within the Okanagan Basin.
- The overall goal of the Okanagan River Restoration Initiative (ORRI) is to regain some of the river habitat quality and quantity that has been lost since the 1950’s; returning channelized river portions back to more natural conditions.
- The ORRI long term purpose is to improve water quality; to create self-sustainable, complex and diverse habitat for fish and wildlife; and to enhance human relation with the river ecosystem.
- The ORRI Phase I and Phase II were completed in Oliver, in 2009-2013. The next ORRI phases will take place in Penticton, starting this summer.
Spawning Platforms in Penticton Channel:
- This summer, the ONA aims the construction of two spawning platforms (No.1 and No.2) between the Okanagan Lake Dam and the Highway 97 Bridge.
- These platforms are nature-like features especially designed for optimizing salmon and trout spawning (gravel size, gradient, water velocity, etc).
- These spawning platforms are similar to the ones built in Oliver during the ORRI – Phase I.
- These platforms will also provide public viewing opportunities of salmon and trout spawning and reduce the abundance of introduced exotic species, like the Eurasian watermilfoil.
- The construction works are expected for mid-August to mid-September 2014, pending flow conditions, construction tender price, and fish migration timing.