Returning sockeye salmon celebrated in South Okanagan

The Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance and Okanagan Nation Alliance are offering two Celebrate the Salmon open houses

Two Celebrate the Salmon events will be happening later this month

The life of a salmon is an incredible journey, starting from our lakes and rivers to the ocean and then returning.

The Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance and Okanagan Nation Alliance are honouring that journey with two Celebrate the Salmon open houses: at the Okanagan River Restoration Initiative site just north of Oliver on Oct. 15 and at restored spawning beds just below Okanagan Lake in Penticton on Oct. 22.

The public is invited to celebrate the return of sockeye salmon coming home after a 6000-kilometre journey to the ocean and back. Interpreters will be on hand to talk about the life cycle of the sockeye salmon, the challenges these fish face as they travel through different habitats and the efforts to restore spawning habitat in Oliver and Penticton.

Starting in the 70s, there was a rapid decline in the number of returning salmon, but that trend has reversed in the last few years thanks to restoration efforts by the ONA Fisheries Department, which has been working with agencies from all levels of government under the Okanagan River Restoration Initiative.

“This year is a really good year for salmon,” said Lee McFadyen who works with the Okanagan River Restoration Initiative. “There’s been adequate water flows and moderate temperatures so it’s expected that over 100,000 sockeye will spawn.”

The first event runs from 1 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 15, at the Okanagan River Restoration Site, with parking at Oliver Visitors Centre, 6431 Station St. The site is an easy one kilometre walk north along the bike and hike path. Wheelchair accessible.

The second event is in Penticton on Oct. 22 from 1 to 3 p.m., at the spawning beds in the Okanagan River Channel. Parking at Loco Landing parking lot, 75 Riverside Drive.

The events run rain or shine. For more information contact Jayme Friedt at ecostudies@osca.org.