The defunct 100-year-old Enloe Dam on the Similkameen River in Washington blocks access by salmon and steelhead to over 500 kilometres of high-quality river habitat, much of it in British Columbia. Photo submitted by Alex Maier.

The defunct 100-year-old Enloe Dam on the Similkameen River in Washington blocks access by salmon and steelhead to over 500 kilometres of high-quality river habitat, much of it in British Columbia. Photo submitted by Alex Maier.

B.C. outdoor group calls for removal of U.S. dam

Defunct obstruction on Similkameen River cuts off 500 km of Canadian salmon habitat

A B.C. outdoor group is hoping some cross-border diplomacy will lead to the dismantling of a defunct dam in Washington State that’s blocked salmon runs into Canada for the past century.

The Enole Dam is concrete wall, 18-metre tall, 88-metres wide, constructed around 1920 near Oroville, WA, about 11 km south of Osoyoos. Designed without fish ladders to enable fish migration, it eliminated salmon and steelhead runs from the Similkameen River and its tributaries flowing from B.C. through Manning Provincial Park and past the communities of Princeton, Hedley, Keremeos and Cawston.

READ MORE: B.C. voters prioritize environment in upcoming election: survey

The Outdoor Recreation Council of British Columbia (ORC) says the dam hasn’t produced electricity since 1954 and now wants the B.C. government to open a dialogue with their U.S. counterparts on the importance of removing the obstruction for good.

“Given the pressures confronting salmon and the deteriorating state of many runs throughout the Pacific Northwest, removing this dam creates a significant opportunity to help reverse that trend. Few other single actions could generate this much benefit for salmon,” Mark Angelo, river chair for ORC said.

Restoring the river’s natural flow would open up more than 500 kilometres of salmon habitat in B.C. and Washington.

READ MORE: Salmon tracking tool expanded to southern B.C.

The group says chinook salmon continue to be spotted jumping at the face of the dam, a promising sign for advocates of habitat restoration.

According to ORC, re-energizing the dam’s power plant would carry a price tag of $114 million, producing power 10 times more costly than what’s generated from other sites on the Columbia River.

Both ORC and Angelo have been involved in many successful dam removal efforts. Most recently, Angelo collaborated with the province in its successful efforts to remove seven non-operating dams in the Britannia Creek watershed.

“Dams were never meant to last forever, and over time, they can outlive their usefulness and become susceptible to sediment infilling and concrete deterioration,” Angelo said. “Many dilapidated dam structures can also eventually become threats to public safety. The removal of the Enloe Dam is a major untapped opportunity for improving salmon habitat in BC’s southern interior.”



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

ConservationFish

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The grant from Ottawa and Victoria comes with certain stipulations, according to a letter from the province. Photo: Jensen Edwards
Feds, province give Greenwood ‘COVID Re-start’ grant

The funds come with spending directives, transparency requirements

From the left: Greenwood councillors Jim Nathorst and Colleen Lang listen to a delegation by the city’s board of trade Monday, Nov. 23. In the background are Chief Administrative Officer Wendy Higashi and Mayor Barry Noll. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Greenwood partners with Board of Trade on Christmas project

Board of Trade VP Vicki Barlow addressed mayor and council at the McArthur Centre Monday, Nov. 23

Sgt. Darryl Peppler said Mounties are continuing their investigation after Tuesday’s raid. File photo
Grand Forks RCMP arrest suspected drug traffickers at city motel

Police say they netted “a sizable amount” of money and suspected drugs following Tuesday’s arrests.

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters spoke at Greenwood’s city council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Police investigating burglary ‘ring’ with ties to Greenwood and Okanagan

Midway RCMP are looking at “persons of interest” in two Greenwood heists

The 29-year-old man pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving at Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Nov. 17. File photo
Grand Forks man gets 3-months curfew for role in Highway 3 chase

Guilty man thanked Judge Robert Brown, said he is committed to recovering from addiction

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read