Okanagan Chinook Mitigation Workshop – November 3rd
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is currently coordinating a Species at Risk Act (SARA) listing process for Okanagan Chinook.
This population was assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada as endangered in 2017 and DFO is evaluating whether or not to list the species under SARA. To inform this, DFO is working on management scenarios to determine what mitigation measures can be undertaken towards species recovery and how these measures would differ if the species is listed or not listed.
The workshop will bring together local experts and resource managers to discuss risks and identify mitigation options for freshwater threats in the Canadian Okanagan basin. Mitigation options will be considered across four categories:
stock assessment and monitoring,
habitat protection and restoration,
dams and water management, and
invasive species management.
This work is of high importance because Okanagan Chinook Salmon are the only Columbia River population in Canada and are genetically distinct from all other Canadian Chinook Salmon populations.
Okanagan Chinook are considered a “first food” and are of high importance to the Syilx Okanagan Nation. These fish were formerly the subject of an important Indigenous food fishery and commercial trade, but today few persist in the wild. The Okanagan Nation Alliance has been actively involved in the study and conservation of the fish, and are leading numerous restoration initiatives including returning channelized portions of the river to a more natural state, creating spawning beds in Penticton and Oliver, improving fish passage at dams, and hatchery production.
Source: Staff report OB water Board