Okanagan River Restoration

Okanagan River is recognized internationally for its value as a spawning area for salmon and trout. It is also crucial for wildlife since it is the only river in the south Okanagan – one of Canada’s most biologically diverse,species rich and endangered ecosystems. In the 1950s the river was straightened and confined between dykes to control flooding and allow for agricultural and urban development. Eighty-five percent (85%) of the riparian habitat was lost. National Geographic now considers the Okanagan the third most endangered river in Canada. The Okanagan River Restoration Initiative (ORRI) improved a 1km section of the river that is vitally important for fish and wildlife. Six riverfront properties were secured and the dykes adjacent to these properties were relocated so that the river could flow back into its historic path and restore the original floodplain. ORRI was a very complex undertaking involving 23 government and non-government agencies in both Canada and the United States. ORWHFS played a critical role providing administration, guidance, and financial help throughout the project. SILT (ORWHFS) was particularly helpful in securing several of the properties necessary for the project. Download the Brochure Here.

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