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Learn about reintroduction of sockeye to Okanagan

Learn about plans for the re-introduction of sockeye salmon into Okanagan Lake at the annual general meeting of the Friends of Mission Creek tonight at 7 p.m. At the EECO in Mission Creek Regional Park.

Guest speakers will be Richard Bussanich and Amanda Stevens, fisheries biologists with the Okanagan Nation Allliance, which is spearheading efforts to return the iconic salmon to the Okanagan basin.

Construction of permanent flood control dams in the Okanagan limited continued migration of salmon from the ocean up the Columbia River system and into the valley in the early 1900s.

However, restoration efforts in recent years have brought them back into the southern part of the valley, and the intention is to return them to Okanagan Lake ultimately, they say.

It's a 1,200 km journey from the Pacific Ocean to their spawning grounds in the Okanagan Valley, and this run of salmon is at risk of extinction without an effective fisheries and aquatic management plan, say the biologists.

The 12-year experiment to reintroduce them to the valley began in 2004, and Bussanich and Stevens will talk about the first eight years of the program.

The ONA is working with federal and provincial agencies, as well as non-profit groups, to conserve, protect and restore this salmon population to the basin.

It's the 16th agm of the society, which has been responsible for acquiring land and creating the Mission Creek Greenway, a regional park that runs from Okanagan Lake to Gallagher's Canyon, and has plans to carry the path further upstream along the creek.

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.co

 

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