‘Keep the rivers clean’: South Okanagan municipalities speak out against pollution

Photos from 2018 show camping debris abandoned in the Similkameen riverbed, in the Keremeos area. (Supplied - Village of Keremeos) Photos from 2018 show camping debris abandoned in the Similkameen riverbed, in the Keremeos area. (Supplied - Village of Keremeos)
Photos from 2018 show camping debris abandoned in the Similkameen riverbed, in the Keremeos area. (Supplied - Village of Keremeos) Photos from 2018 show camping debris abandoned in the Similkameen riverbed, in the Keremeos area. (Supplied - Village of Keremeos)
The Simlkameen River, seen from Highway 3 near Keremeos. (Phil McLachlan - Keremeos Review)

The Village of Keremeos, Town of Princeton, and Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) are reminding residents and visitors to help keep the rivers clean.

Recent hot weather has brought many to the riverside and into the backcountry to cool off. However with this comes increased pressure on natural areas and watercourses, including the Similkameen River, explains the RDOS in a release on July 24.

“If you’re spending time on or near the Similkameen River or any watercourse, please consider your environmental impact, clean up after yourself and encourage others to do the same,” reads the release.

“If you see anyone polluting or destroying habitat or riparian areas, please report the activity immediately.”

Keremeos mayor Manfred Bauer said they have recently seen a large uptick in people flocking to the riverside.

“We have seen more people in the month of July than I can remember,” he said.

The uptick in use is fine, Bauer explained, as long as people stay safe and clean up after themselves.

“I hope that people are careful, for one thing. The river is a little bit faster than it usually is this time of year, hopefully with more people on the river, people stay safe and make sure that the pristine environment they are finding by going down the river, stays that way, by packing in, packing out.”

To report suspicious activity, phone the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277.

In addition, the BC Wildlife Federation Conservation mobile app allows users to submit geo-referenced, time-stamped photos or videos of reported issues in relation to illegal use, or abuse of natural resources.

To download the app visit Play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.bcwf.conservationapp.

READ MORE: Salmon fishing allowed in Osoyoos Lake starting July 31

READ MORE: Severe thunderstorm watch issued for Kootenays, Okanagan, Columbias


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