Outdated culvert thwarts spawning fish

The Columbia Valley Pioneer –

Ben Mitchell-Banks slowly walks up Abel Creek. Rustling leaves, crackling branches, and the ever-present running water creates a peaceful soundtrack alongside the dirt road in the District of Invermere. Mr. Mitchell-Banks holds a net, eyes peeled downward for the tell-tale streak of red in the water that gives away a Kokanee salmon’s presence. He carefully scoops, dropping another one into the net.

The fish wouldn’t know it, but Mr. Mitchell-Banks is trying to save them.

Abel Creek flows approximately 4.5 kilometres from its source at Paddy Ryan Lakes in Invermere to Lake Windermere, following a course down Johnston Road, across 13th Ave., then criss-crossing Walker Lane. The creek is a prime potential spawning ground for Kokanee salmon, suggests the Lake Windermere District Rod & Gun Club. Club members have done other work on Abel Creek, including removing a dam in 2015 and fixing a culvert higher up in 2018. In between those two projects is a culvert the club asserts is causing problems for the migrating fish.

The culvert is owned by the District of Invermere (DOI). The Rod & Gun Club has brought up the issue with the District several times.

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