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Decades of fish passage advocacy leads to decommissioning of BC Hydro’s Wilsey Dam

Following a long time of advocacy by conservationists and First Nations teams, BC Hydro has introduced it’ll decommission the growing older Wilsey Dam on the Shuswap River east of Vernon, B.C.

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The decommissioning of the dam and Shuswap Falls Powerhouse, first inbuilt 1929, is to permit salmon entry to a historic spawning habitat within the river.

“After intensive neighborhood involvement and our personal research, we’ve chosen decommissioning the dam and powerhouse as one of the simplest ways ahead to revive the river to it’s unique channel for spawning salmon,” stated Jen Walker-Larsen, neighborhood engagement adviser with BC Hydro.

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The tenacious conservation work was led by the Wilsey Dam Fish Passage Committee. Its members had been decided to revive Shuswap salmon populations because the fish couldn’t recover from the dam.

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The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA), which represents eight First Nations communities within the Okanagan, was additionally concerned in years-long consultations and welcomed the choice on Monday.


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“We now have been working particularly in the direction of fish passage at Wilsey Dam for the reason that late 1990’s. This journey has been lengthy with fixed adjustments, circling round and morphing into what we’re working with immediately. By decommissioning this dam we hope to see our social, cultural and meals fishery flourishstated Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis.

A press release issued by the ONA stated there is a vital religious cultural and financial significance with restoring salmon and resident species above Wilsey Dam.

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“As Syilx individuals, we’ve an inherent proper and duty to proceed working to convey ntitiyx again to all elements of our territory, together with that on the spəlm’cin (Shuswap River),” stated ONA tribal chair, chief Clarence Louie.

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“Decommissioning Wilsey Dam could be a step in the proper course in the direction of not solely salmon restoration but in addition guaranteeing that advantages for siwɬkʷ and the tmixʷ and all habitat.”


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The ONA stated it wasn’t solely the salmon that suffered, but in addition bull and rainbow trout that had been blocked from upstream migration.

The blockage prevented them from accessing practically 30 kilometers of spawning and rearing habitat on the Shuswap River, the assertion stated.

The ability utility stated the Wilsey dam represents lower than 0.1 per cent of BC Hydro’s complete hydroelectric producing capability.

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BC Hydro stated it opted to decommission the power fully as a substitute of refurbishing it because it’s the best option to permit salmon to entry spawning habitats.

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“Decommissioning as a substitute of refurbishing will return that portion of the river to its unique channel,” stated Walker-Larsen.


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“We count on this can present the next probability of attaining profitable fish passage as it’ll create river situations just like what existed earlier than the dam was constructed.”

BC Hydro stated it’ll put together an software to the BC Utilities Fee to acquire approval to stop operations on the facility throughout the subsequent 12 to 18 months.




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https://globalnews.ca/information/8206186/fish-passage-advocacy-decommissioning-bc-hydro-wilsey-dam/ | A long time of fish passage advocacy results in decommissioning of BC Hydro’s Wilsey Dam

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