Prevention: Brian Thomas measures a pole for a new fence that will keep cattle out of a sensitive vegetation area.

Prevention: Brian Thomas measures a pole for a new fence that will keep cattle out of a sensitive vegetation area.

Restoration proceeds at Salmon River delta

Work includes planting native species, protecting the area from cattle near Salmon Arm Bay.

A long-held dream for the Salmon River delta is becoming a reality.

The BC Conservation Foundation recently signed a contribution agreement with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) for $93,223 on behalf of the Switzmalph Cultural Society.

An additional $134,130 will be contributed to this project both in-kind and from other partners for a total project value of $227,353 over two years.

Neskonlith elder Mary Thomas died in 2007 but would be thrilled her hopes to restore the delta are becoming a reality.

The new project will build on previous restoration work completed by the society with funding from the Pacific Salmon Commission Southern Boundary and the British Columbia Environmental Farm Plan.

That project included building livestock exclusion fencing and planting of native species as well as installing a unique motion-driven, solar-powered watering source for the cattle.

More fencing is being installed with 20-foot posts that will be visible to boats during seasonal high water and 1,000 metres of high-tension fence wire that can be lowered during flooding to allow boat access and raised when the water recedes to exclude livestock.

“Because the water during freshet tops the fences, we need to put up warning buoys so it protects the fence and any boaters out there,” says Mary’s daughter Bonnie Thomas. “There’s a lot of work, a lot of money and a lot of support.”

Bonnie is grateful to project manager Barb Craven, who quickly put together a proposal to meet the funding deadline, and to the BC Conservation Foundation for stepping up as the required conservation organization on behalf of the Switz- malph Society.

She is especially thrilled the project will include restoring threatened native plants in the delta and removing invasive plant species.

“American sweetflag is already down there, but the way it thrives is by cultivation,” says Bonnie, explaining that almost every root replanted yields up to five more plants. “Traditionally, we planted more than we took and that’s how they thrived and carried on.”

Her mother earned many honours in her lifetime, including a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Environment. She also received two honorary doctorate degrees, one from University of Victoria and another from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

“I think my mother would be ecstatic that the work down there is continuing, especially when it comes to the plants,” says Bonnie. “And it has an educational component. I think it’s totally in the context of everything she wanted to have happen.”

As well as destroying riparian vegetation, livestock break down low stream banks, frequently obstructing and/or delaying adult chinook, coho and sockeye salmon migration during late summer and fall low-flow conditions.

These delays in migration often lead to a significant increase in fish mortality from exhaustion, stranding and predation.

Restoration of the banks with vegetation will create a deeper, narrower channel for the returning fish.

Craven sees a lot of work in her future but is excited by the plans and by the level of support, both from DFO and a number of groups that have offered their volunteer services to accomplish the replanting.

“I think next year is going to be a stellar year for Mary’s initiative,” says Craven, who hopes to find more money to accomplish Switzmalph’s goals for the Salmon River delta. “We’ve got to get somebody else to partner with us; we don’t want this to die.”

 

Just Posted

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Nine exhibits representing the commercial core of downtown Salmon Arm in 1910 are pictured here at R.J. Haney’s Heritage Village & Museum. (Facebook - R.J. Haney’s Heritage Village & Museum)
‘The Shuswap’s largest heritage site,’ R.J. Haney’s Village and Museum, opens to public

Haney’s restaurant, Sprig of Heather, and Children’s Discovery Centre are open as well

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

Teslyn Bates, a Grade 11 student at Salmon Arm Secondary, was among four musicians from the Shuswap who won awards at the 2021 Virtual Performing Arts BC Festival held June 1-5. (Contributed)
Province takes note of young Shuswap musicians at June festival

Four local contestants receive awards at 2021 Virtual Performing Arts BC Festival

Shuswap Immigrant Services Society plans to hold a vigil on Friday, June 25 at 8 p.m. to honour the victims of what officials are calling a terrorist attack on five Muslims in London, Ont. (File photo)
Salmon Arm council holds minute of silence to honour victims of Ontario attack

Shuswap Immigrant Services Society plans vigil for Muslim family on June 25, 8 p.m. at McGuire Lake

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

(Facebook)
New trial date set for Penticton beach attacker’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

Travel Penticton went to city council for support in increasing the tax on short-term stays to fund a convention bureau and affordable housing. (File photo)
Travel Penticton seeks to grow through increased hotel tax

The increased funds would go to creating a convention bureau and to affordable housing

Most Read