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

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where one employee is still currently isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was first declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
54 positive COVID-19 cases associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

There’s been a two-person increase in positive cases since Tuesday (Dec. 1)

K-J Millar/The Northern View
8 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the Northern Health Authority

Since Nov. 27, there have been 191 new cases reported in NHA

RCMP will be out in force for the next four weeks looking for drunk and drug-impaired drivers. (Black Press file photo)
Smithers RCMP counter attack campaign starts

Additional officers and roadblocks will be on the streets throughout the holidays

A COVID-19 exposure has been recorded at Centennial Christian School in Terrace. The exposure occurred between Nov. 23 and Nov. 26, 2020. (Centennial Christian School Facebook photo)
COVID-19 exposure recorded at Centennial Christian School in Terrace

It’s the first known school exposure in Terrace

RCMP cruiser with lights flashing. (File photo)
Smithers crime severity index jumps 18 per cent

RCMP expected increase due to reporting changes, but concerned it remains double provincial average

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

KIJHL games have been postponed through Dec. 31. (File photo)
KIJHL postpones all games through end of 2020

Due to provincial health orders, games up to Dec. 31 have been pushed back

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster kids

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

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

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week

Melissa Velden and her chef-husband Chris Velden, stand in their dining room at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, N.S. on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. The couple is hosting holiday parties with appropriate distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols in place at their restaurant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Celebrities, Santa and Zoom part of office holiday parties being held amid COVID-19

Many will send tokens of appreciation to workers or offer time off or cash

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Most Read