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

December and January, so far, have seen their share of rain. (Black Press Media file photo)
December and January tip the scales to wet in Greater Victoria

Winter is on the way, says Environment and Climate Change Canada

Stair care in Colwood
Colwood Coun. Michael Baxter says Latoria Creek Park is now more enjoyable and safe to take a stroll through due to the latest upgrades completed on the staircase. Four long sets of nature stairs now include slip-proof metal steps. The elevated staircase also allows for better air flow to slow the rotting process, and metal handrails to prevent splinters. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Colwood unveils massive upgrade to popular park staircase

Upgrades include slip-proof metal steps, metal handrails and raised design

Rendering offers an overhead view of proposed tiny home community using repurposed shipping containers in the Caledonia/Vancouver street parking lot next to Royal Athletic Park. Council voted to allow Aryze Developments apply for a temporary use permit as part of the project. (Courtesy Aryze Developments)
Anonymous donor boosts shipping container housing project in Victoria

Donor promises to match further donations until $500,000 goal is met

Royal Bay Secondary School (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke School District alerts community to coronavirus positive case at Royal Bay secondary

Contact tracing underway after potential COVID-19 exposure Jan. 15

The Starbucks in Langford’s Westshore Town Centre is one of almost 300 storefronts that the U.S. coffee giant will be shutting across Canada by the end of March. (Google Maps)
Langford’s Westshore Town Centre Starbucks to close permanently

Popular coffee chain to close 300 storefronts across Canada by end of March

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter might not be done with Vancouver Island quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend for mid-Island

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Most Read