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

Two people were sent to hospital after a fire was discovered in a north Pitt Meadows home just before the lunch hour on Sunday, (Nov. 29, 2020). (Shane MacKichan/Special to The News)
Couple burned fighting fire in their Pitt Meadows house

Two occupants were transported to hospital while firefighters battle a blaze in a Harris Road home

(Black Press Media files)
‘Potentially damaging’ winds expected in Metro Vancouver

Wind is expected to pick up late Sunday night

Supt. Jennifer Hyland is the officer in charge of the Ridge Meadows RCMP detachment. (The News/files)
Ridge Meadows RCMP release new strategic plan

Plan details what the force will be focused on for the next three years

The new business park at 12835 Lilley Drive in East Maple Ridge has five live/work units on site. (Ronan O’Doherty/ The News)
Maple Ridge’s newest business park tries to set itself apart from competition

More live-work units, green features make it more than a concrete box, developer says

There were 114 homeless people counted in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows as part of the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count in March. (The News/files)
More than 100 homeless counted in March snapshot across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Metro Vancouver Homeless Count has been taking place since 2002

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

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

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Updated: Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a shooting on Adair Avenue on Saturday night. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)
Drive-by shooting in Abbotsford targeted home with young children, police say

Investigators believe home was mistakenly targeted by assailants

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

Most Read