The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is working to reintroduce Okanagan sockeye salmon on Syilx territory.
After a large salmon run in 2022, the ONA is undertaking one of its largest sockeye fry releases, with nearly four million fry to be released in the Okanagan sub-basin during the 2023 season.
Salmon fry were released into Lower Vernon Creek at the Marshall Field dog park on Okanagan Landing Road on Tuesday, May 9 at 10 a.m.
It’s the first time the sockeye reintroduction initiative has released fry into Lower Vernon Creek.
“This work is a continuation of the Syilx Nation commitment to our responsibilities of restoring and reintroducing back into the traditional water ways of sc’win (Okanagan sockeye salmon),” the ONA said.
“We are excited to release roughly 4.9 million sockeye fry in the territory with four million of the total into tributaries that feed into kłusxnitkw (Okanagan Lake).”
The ONA says it’s worked for decades towards achieving salmon passage back to Okanagan Lake, adding the importance of returning salmon to the lake is heightened by the fact that the cooler waters of the lake provide the salmon a “haven” in the face of climate change and warming waters, which can prevent salmon from returning and laying their eggs.
“Bringing sc’win back to creeks and streams on kłusxnitkw, like Lower Vernon Creek, are a direct result of Syilx advocacy, self-determination, and assertion of our Syilx collective responsibilities to govern, manage and stewards our lands and resources,” said Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis.