BC Hydro to decommission dam to allow fish passage

Salmon to access historical spawning habitat in the Shuswap River

BC Hydro studies and extensive community involvement informed planned closure of Wilsey Dam & Shuswap Falls Powerhouse. Jen Walker-Larsen, Community Engagement Advisor, said that the decision is “the best way forward to restore the river to its original channel for spawning salmon.”

Two options to restore fish passage in the area were explored. One option included refurbishing the aging facility, which was built in 1929, and constructing a fishway channel. The other option was decommissioning the facility entirely.

The latter was the more attractive choice after careful consideration and close work with Indigenous groups and stakeholders

“We expect this (dam removal) will provide a higher chance of achieving successful fish passage as it will create river conditions similar to what existed before the dam was built.”

BC Hydro will advance planning for dam decommissioning and prepare an application to the BC Utilities Commission for approval to cease hydro facility operations. The utility expects to complete these activities within the next 18 months.

Shuswap Falls Generating Station | photo credit B C Hydro