The Adams Lake band is leading a project to restore the Upper Adams River sockeye salmon run. (File photo)

The Adams Lake band is leading a project to restore the Upper Adams River sockeye salmon run. (File photo)

Fertilizing of Adams Lake to begin in effort to restore salmon run

Adams Lake First Nation leading effort to bring back Upper Adams River sockeye

A plan to restore the Upper Adams River sockeye salmon run will be put into effect this spring.

After much work and negotiation with the federal government, the Adams Lake band was able to secure support for a four-year project intended to bring back the Upper Adams run, which the band said collapsed over a century ago as a result of logging and splash dams as well as other factors.

“The salmon that returned to the Upper Adams River and Adams sustained our community for thousands of years and it is imperative that we see this run returned to its former glory,” commented Adams Lake Kukpi7 (Chief) Cliff Arnouse in an announcement about the project in January 2020.

The project began last year with the collection of data. Starting soon, and taking place over the next three years, Adams Lake will be fertilized with specific mixture of nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorus.

Overseeing the project, registered professional biologist Don Holmes of Lakeside Environmental said these nutrients, critical to fish growth, were once provided by the dead salmon flushed back into the lake after they spawned and died. With the collapse of the Upper Adams run, however, the lake wound up becoming ultra-oligotrophic – essentially devoid of the nutrients needed for sockeye fry and smolts to grow.

“The theory is, if we can get the sockeye fry and smolts larger, they have a much higher success rate when they head back into the ocean,” said Holmes.

Read more: Adams Lake First Nation heads program to restore salmon habitat in Adams Lake

Read more: Adams River Salmon Society seeks to bar wading trout anglers from Shuswap park

Formerly a biologist with the Ministry of Environment, Holmes explained the fertilization process is not new, and when done properly, and under rigorous scientific oversight, it has proven to be effective and safe.

“If we bring (the Upper Adams run) back, we’ll quit fertilizing because the fertilizer will be present in the bodies of the salmon carcasses of the adult spawners.”

The fertilizer will be applied near the middle of Adams Lake so it can be utilized by phytoplankton. Holmes said this is different from the nutrient loading that occurs around the periphery of Shuswap Lake, coming in from septic systems, streams and land-use activities in the watershed. Holmes said these nutrients are utilized along the shallows by periphyton, a mixture of algae, cyanobacteria, heterotrophic microbes and detritus attached to the rocks. The nutrients never make it to the middle of the lake.

“It’s really critical where these nutrients enter a system,” said Holmes. “Where they enter the system determines what utilizes it.”

The end goal is to make the Upper Adams salmon run self-sustaining. But Holmes warned there are factors outside the project’s control, including what happens when salmon leave the lake.

“If a returning run is wiped out it’s all for not,” said Holmes.

Holmes said data collected over the next three years will be shared with project partners including B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries; Ministry of Environment and Climate Change; Secwépemc Fisheries Commission; Okanagan Nation Alliance; and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

#Salmon ArmSalmon

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

Just Posted

In a feature article published April 10, 2021 in The Times of London, ‘headlined British Columbia has what it takes to rival Napa Valley,’ the valley is praised extensively for its natural beauty and wine. (File photo)
From the U.K. with love: Okanagan wine, scenery receives international praise

The Times of London newspaper recently featured the valley in a wine and travel piece

The future of the Eagle Pass Lookout cabin is being discussed. (File photo)
Options presented for future of former Eagle Pass fire lookout in Shuswap

Stakeholders met in 2020 to discuss the restoration, or possible removal of the cabin

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

The Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society will be expanding its offerings to seniors this year and hopes to return its Cyber Seniors program when one-to-one training is once again allowed. (Photo contributed)
Shuswap organization aims to help seniors become more cyber savvy

BC Hydro report finds seniors reluctant to use

The Salmon Arm RCMP are investigating a Saturday, April 10 gathering at Blackburn Park for provincial health order violations. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm RCMP investigating Blackburn Park rally

Police say more than 200 people in attendance

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

A dumpster was on fire behind a residential complex in downtown Penticton Tuesday afternoon. (Brennan Phillips Western News)
Dumpster fire extinguished in downtown Penticton

There has been a string of dumpster fires lately

Skogie’s Express Tunnel Wash on Anderson Way in Vernon. (Submitted photo)
Lawsuit dismissed after vehicle damaged while inside Okanagan car wash

Civil Resolution Tribunal dismisses driver’s claim following a collision inside Skogie’s car wash in Vernon

(Mayor Cindy Fortin - Peachland)
Peachland mayor declines early vaccination offer

Mayor Cindy Fortin said she wants seniors, immunocompromised individuals to get the shot first

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021. (Kamloops This Week photo)
Clothing that ‘detracts from learning process’ removed from SD73 student dress code

Policy change underway after student in knee-length dress, long-sleeve turtleneck sent home

Conservation officers caught three men over fishing bull trout in Kinbasket Lake. (Facebook)
B.C. men fined $1.7K for overfishing near Revelstoke, Golden

The seized fish were donated to the Golden Food Bank

A shop up on Grand Oro Road near Twin Lakes burned down on Monday. (Facebook)
Fire rips through shop in small South Okanagan town

The building was destroyed despite community efforts to fight the fire

WATCH: Conservation group releases short doc on saving South Okanagan’s ‘precious’ Sickle Point

Sickle Point, the last intact wetland near Skaha Lake, is facing the prospect of development

Most Read