Okanagan Lake Action Plan
Okanagan Lake is a large lake located in southern
B.C., which historically supported a large Kokanee (Oncorhynchus
nerka) population. Recently the Kokanee population
has undergone a significant decline. Public and government
concern for the future of Okanagan Lake Kokanee heightened
during the early 1900s and led to formation of a proactive
plan in 1996 called the Okanagan Lake Action Plan (OLAP).
This forward-looking plan with a twenty-year time horizon
attempts to address all of the physical and biological
factors that influence Okanagan Lake and the Kokanee
populations that inhabit it.
One of the primary objectives of the OLAP is to ensure that remaining
stream habitat is protected and maintained. Key issues identified
included habitat deterioration, lake nutrient reduction and competition
between Kokanee and Mysis relicta. Most of the activities within the
OLAP are directed at identifying fish habitat constraints, zooplankton
and fish population characteristics and improving the limnological
database of Okanagan Lake.
The OLAP is attempting to gain a much better understanding of whole
lake biological relationships as well as defining limiting factors
and remedial measures that well result in recovery of the lakes' kokanee
populations. Since many species of fish in Okanagan Lake depend upon
Kokanee and because Kokanee are at historic low levels there is considerable
emphasis on them in the Action Plan. It has been known since the beginning
of the OLAP that Kokanee recovery is key to the recovery of the other
fish in Okanagan Lake. It is also apparent that Kokanee recovery is
a long-term issue and not something that can be easily rectified.