Okanagan River Restoration Initiative – Okanagan Falls Restoration

Okanagan Nation Alliance

Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) formed in 1981 as the inaugural First Nations government in the Okanagan and among other functions, works to provide technical fisheries assistance for the Nation and its eight member communities, including the Penticton Indian Band, and acting as a liaison between federal and provincial fisheries agencies and other non-government organizations.

This project will restore a uniform, channelized river section in Okanagan Falls by backwatering one or more of the four vertical drop structures with nature–like river features and re-engaging historic floodplain habitat downstream, in the Vaseux-Bighorn National Wildlife Area. Main goals: 1) restore diversity, complexity, and functionality of ~20,000m2 of riverine habitat in the Okanagan mainstem, 2) re-engage and enhance ~50,000m2 historic floodplain habitat, and 3) follow a syilx TEKK-based vision combined with western science tools to achieve goals. This project takes an ecosystem-based approach, targeting multiple species including Chinook Salmon, Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel, Yellow Breasted Chat, Western Screech-Owl, and Blotched Tiger Salamander, among others.

This project is the first year of a 3-year request. Approved by Regional District Okanagan Similkameen Board and $84,952.25 was allocated from the South Okanagan Conservation Fund in 2022. The project is expected to complete by January 31, 2025.