Groundbreaking set for sockeye salmon hatchery
The Syilx people are celebrating by having a public ground breaking ceremony for the sockeye salmon hatchery Thursday (May 16) on Green Mountain Road in Penticton, BC.
This ground breaking ceremony symbolizes another pivotal milestone for the Okanagan Nation Alliance and the tribal efforts accomplished by the eight-member communities that mark a tremendous achievement in our collective history. After more than seven years of collaborative visioning, planning, and detailed preparations for a new hatchery on the Okanagan River system. The Hatchery is being developed in partnership with and funded by the Grant and Chelan Public Utility Districts from Washington State.
Once completed in May 2014, the 25,000 square foot salmon hatchery will have the capacity to rear up to eight million Sockeye salmon eggs which will be released annually as fry into the Okanagan system.
“The hatchery is the work of the collective effort of the Okanagan Nation and is a true demonstration of what can be done with collaboration and the creation of partnerships,” said ONA Chairman Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. “This project is not only our contribution to the Nation but our contribution to the economy in the region.”
“Bringing the salmon back has been a journey and has taken a lot of hard work and this is one more step to ensure we will always have salmon” said Penticton Indian Band Chief Jonathan Kruger.
The hatchery facility is part of a long-term program to restore the historical range of Sockeye in the upper Okanagan watershed, Okanagan Lake, and Skaha Lake systems.
The ONA and its subsidiary company, Okanagan Aquatic Enterprises Ltd., have worked in close collaboration with the Grant and Chelan Public Utility Districts in Washington State, the Penticton Indian Band, and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, among others, to bring this project to reality.
The hatchery ground breaking will be held in conjunction with the with the annual sockeye fry release that will take place on Green Mountain Road and Hwy 97.