Underwater photo at battered salmon on its way to the spawning bed. Western News file photo

Salmon spawning beds working well

Work begins on a fourth salmon spawning bed in the Okanagan River Channel this summer

Creating a new salmon spawning bed in the Okanagan River Channel could take two to three summers to complete.

It’s the last of four beds being built in the channel. Two were constructed in 2014, and a third bed in 2015.

The work is being done under the guidance of the Okanagan River restoration initiate steering committee, which has representation from the Okanagan Nation Alliance, the Penticton Indian Band, federal department of fisheries and other stakeholders.

This latest bed is being built downstream of the first three beds, near the old railway bridge abutments. Natasha Lukey, with the ONA, said there may also be some work done on the existing 1986 Kokanee bed, and some enhancements to bed three.

“The previous beds that have been installed are working very, very well. We have seen a lot of success for spawning and a lot of success for escapement,” said Lukey.

Getting the work done is also going to require closures of the trail running along the western side of the channel in the work area.

“We will do our best to work around the hikers and bikers because we know it is a high-use area, as is the tubing area,” said Lukey, explaining that the closures will be all day. “There will be a number of structures put on the pathway, so there will be hazards, and to secure the site as well. There will be plenty of barricades and signage.”

Lukey said the work will be going on “in-stream” from Aug. 13 to Sept. 30.

“We are going to be working some mornings, but before tubers arrive in the river,” said Lukey. “The rest of the days, there won’t be any impediment to the tubers.”

There will also be some traffic changes on the highway.

“The road will have to be put down to one lane as you come into Penticton, but this is going to be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to avoid the bulk of traffic,” said Lukey.

Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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