Salmo River Inhabitants Receive a Gift!

Contributing Stability, Protection and Habitat Enhancement!
Is there any greater Gift to our Community?



After a 3-year delay due to flood, fire and specialized equipment unavailability the Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers Society activated their unique engineered approach to fish habitat enhancement and bank stabilization.

This multi-faceted strategic project, was made possible with the gracious funding from the Columbia Basin Trust Environmental Enhancement Program, the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program and the Environment Canada Climate Change Environmental Damages Fund.

Three years ago, Streamkeeper Coordinator, Gerry Nellestijn worked with Rodman Hydrotechnical to assess the sites and the engineering evaluation/prescription/permitting needed for the project. Mike Zimmer, Okanagan Nation Alliance and Tim Davis, BC Habitat Biologist toured the site to share ideas/insights.

“Site A” encompasses ~440 metres of instream and bank mounted control. Additionally, a historical 240-metre side channel, “Waterstreet Side Channel” was reconstructed on the east side of the River. The inflow begins about 140-metres upstream of the erosion site and the outflow is 10-metres downstream.

Construction began early September. Henry and Austin Huser built the Channel first, diverting 1.5+ cubic metres of water from the high risk erosion site and easing the difficulty of working instream on Site A. The Channel was carefully built to preserve the typical habitat/cover, and to increase spawning habitat potential and highwater refuge for fish and other aquatic creatures.

“We were on the riverbed most days watching bits of the project from our side of the river and it was nice to see the care that was taken. Gerry and crew were very considerate when working near our property and when accessing the project through our property. An impressive project overall that the community and the SWSS should be proud of!” Janice and Alan Waterstreet

Site A required ~150 loads of rock for bank stabilization and to build/ballast 4-complex large wood W structures, 4-large Triangular structures, 4-Lateral Log structures, a Debris Catcher and 6-Boulder Clusters.

Last year, large rock for discharge control (to slow erosion capacity of the River) was stockpiled at Esovoloff’s place. An interesting aside to this project, last year the distance from a tree on their property to the eroded River edge measured 32 feet. This year, after a relatively insubstantial freshet, that distance was 16 feet. Construction comprised a large team: SilverKing Contracting for rock; trucking was provided by Kenny, Ray and James from Custom Dozing, Rob Lee Trucking, and others.

“It was a pleasure working with Gerry/Streamkeepers and their crew. Special thanks to operators Mitch and Callum for their awesome work. They all worked long hard days to get the job done, and what a great job they did. They should all be proud of the work they have done.”  Lance and Renee Esovoloff

Truckers fed Mountain Movers Excavation’s bank-placed hoe, who in turn fed Over The Edge Excavating’s River-placed spider hoe. The spider hoe worked instream to carefully place riprap and ballast rock for large wood structures; gently ‘walking’ down steep slopes into water and diligently crossing sensitive substrate, hardly leaving a trace.

Streamkeepers’ wood/ballast enhancement team: Lesya Roberts, Paige Mansvelt, and Chris Harkness applied finishing touches. Lisa Pavelich from Masse Environmental provided relief construction guidance. How fortunate to have James Baxter on site for his biological insights and ‘do any job’ attitude. What a crew… long hours of construction for days, completing the job in mid-October!

Click Here To See Spider Hoe In Action!

“In 2017 when we moved to Salmo, our river frontage looked dramatically different. That winter, and the subsequent winters, saw the heavy erosion of our beloved riverbank. About an acre was lost. We contact the RDCK, lobbied our MP; there was no help coming.  Every year more property, large trees, and huge boulders were being washed away. We were concerned about the loss of real-estate, but also, we were very concerned about how the additional sediment and destruction of fish habitat would impact the environment.

The Salmo Watershed Stream Keepers Society took a holistic approach to remediate the problem in 2022. Great care was taken when engineering the project, and the implementation of their plan put our environmental concerns at paramount. They utilized natural materials to stop erosion, build fish habitat and operated in a manner that minimized any negative impact on the environment. Their permaculture approach to remediation ensures as stones shift against the flow of the Salmo River, fish habitat will increase, the river will slow, and erosion will cease.” Casey Dalen

Significant contributions came from Casey Dalen and family, Monticola Forestry Ltd., and the BC Hydro Seven Mile Dam. Lance and Renee Esovoloff hosted Mitch, spider hoe operator from Abbotsford, in ‘Grandpa’s Cabin’. Al Waterstreet provided tools and specialized epoxy when supply chain snags hit at critical moments.

The Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers Society would like to extend gratitude and congratulations for a huge project successfully coordinated and completed by our long-time coordinator, Gerry Nellestijn.

“We would like to pass on our gratitude to Gerry for getting the eroding river bank north of us, under control, with some very professional diking. Multiple emails and phone calls to various government officials resulted in endless buck passing, and going around in circles, with no one willing to help. The river had been shifting towards the Village of Salmo for the last 5 years. Gerry was the ONLY person who cut through the endless red tape and helped out our neighbours.”  Jackie and Mike Hutton

Combining Natures’ Needs with Community Needs.

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