Okanagan Region Timing Windows

Timing windows for working in water in the Okanagan region provide general guidelines for minimizing the risk of impact to a species or group of species that may be affected by your works.

Refer to the appropriate Best Management Practice (BMP) for guidance on the works you would like to undertake.

Fisheries

Windows of least risk are designed to protect all fish species known to occur in a stream. One way fish presence can be confirmed is through a fish inventory database query. Please note if using this database that the lack of fish records for a particular area is not necessarily equivalent to fish absence. All streams are assumed to have both spring and fall spawners, until determined otherwise. Windows of least risk for most streams and lakes in Okanagan Region can be determined by selecting a link below. In situations where works are occurring on a stream not listed in the stream or lake work window document the proponent must adhere to the general work windows outlined below.

Fish species at risk

If a fish species listed by the Conservation Data Centre or COSEWIC is known to occur in the stream or lake where works are proposed, work windows for these species also need to be considered. Work windows for the listed species can be found in the Okanagan Region Fish Species at Risk Status Report (PDF).

Kokanee spawning

If your works are occurring in Christina Lake, Kalamalka Lake, Wood Lake, or Okanagan Lake proximity to kokanee shore spawner habitat and proximity to the mouth of a spawning stream need to be considered. Shore spawning areas must be identified as one component in determining an appropriate work window (see below). Once you have determine whether you are in a shore spawning area or not refer to a spatial fish inventory tool to determine if you are within 500m of a spawning creek. Once you have those two pieces of information, determine the appropriate work window using Lake Work Windows (PDF).

  • Shore spawning information for Christina Lake can be acquired by putting in a detailed request to an Okanagan Region Ecosystem Biologist at 250 490-8200
  • Shore spawning information for Okanagan Lake, Kalamalka Lake and Wood Lake can be found on the Shore Spawning Map (PDF)

Note about the Shore Spawning Map: This map indicates areas of potential kokanee shore spawning. The red line on this map indicates potential kokanee shore spawner habitat. The presence or absence of a red line is one component used to determine the work window for the area. If works are proposed in red areas it is assumed to be kokanee shore spawning habitat until determined otherwise. To determine otherwise, a proponent could have a site specific evaluation by a qualified professional to determine if works will affect actual shore spawning areas.

As a best management practice, proponents should maintain a 500m buffer on either side of shore spawning areas (as determined by a Qualified Professional) to ensure habitat features such as fetch, wave action and sediment are not compromised.

General Work Windows
Species Work Window Species Work Window
KO (stream spawners) June 1 – Aug 31 MW May 1 – Sept 30
KO (shore spawners) June 1 – Sept 30 Salmon July 15 – Aug 15
RB/ST/CT (early spawners) July 22 – Oct 31 BB (shallow) July 1 – Oct 31
RB/ST/CT (late spawners) Aug 7 – Oct 15 BB (deep) June 1 – Dec 31
EB June 1 – Sept 15 LW June 1 – Oct 31
BT June 1 – Aug 15 LT July 15 – Sept 30
Species Codes
CO - Coho Salmon BCB - Black Crappie LMB - Large Mouth Bass
CT - Cutthroat Trout PI - Pink Salmon RB - Rainbow Trout
SMB - Small Mouth Bass YP - Yellow Perch BB - Burbot
KO - Kokanee Salmon MW - Mountain Whitefish BT - Bull Trout
CN - Chinook Salmon LW - Lake Whitefish WP - Walleye
ST - Steelhead Trout EB - Eastern Brook Trout  

Notwithstanding the above, the fisheries timing window is not applicable if the stream channel is naturally dry (no flow) or frozen to the bottom at the worksite, and the instream activity will not adversely impact fish habitat (e.g. result in the introduction of sediment into fish habitat or damage to fish habitat).

If works are proposed outside of any of the listed work windows or are inconsistent with the Best Management Practices, the proponent should engage a qualified professional to assess the species and habitats present and determine if a site specific plan can be developed to ensure compliance with all applicable legislation. The recommendations and technical rationale for the plan must be developed, signed and sealed by an appropriately qualified professional(s). The report must be maintained by the proponent in the event that the works are monitored or a compliance inspection is conducted.

It is the proponent's responsibility to ensure their activities are in compliance with all applicable legislation, including the Fisheries Act.

Wildlife

Most species of wildlife are at their highest risk for disturbance during the period in which they raise their young. Some may be at risk during their dormant or hibernating period. Wildlife observation records can be obtained through the Conservation Data Centre, although the absence of an observation record does not confirm that a species is not present.

Work windows for wildlife refer to streams. Under the Water Sustainability Act, bodies of water described by the term “stream” can include a lake, pond, river, creek, spring, ravine, gulch, wetland features with open standing water, or glacier (whether or not the glacier usually contains water or ice).

Nesting birds

Nesting birds and some nests are protected by Section 34 of the Wildlife Act. Nesting periods can be identified by a qualified professional. General least risk windows for bird species are designed to avoid the nesting period. If nests are present at this site or adjacent to it and will be affected by the works, the following work windows apply:

  • Raptors (eagles, hawks, falcons and owls): Aug 15 – Jan 30
  • Herons: Aug 15 – Jan 30
  • Other birds: Aug 31 – March 31

Amphibians and turtles

Amphibians and turtles can be vulnerable to works in and around water, especially in temporary and permanent ponds or wetlands. In this region many of these features occur in grassland areas. The general least risk period for these species varies according to species and geographic location. If amphibians or turtles are known to use the area, operations are not to occur if species are hibernating, breeding or migrating.

Species of concern

Species listed red or blue by the Conservation Data Centre or endangered, threatened or special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) generally have no windows of least risk as all periods of their life cycle are of high concern. Okanagan region supports many species that are vulnerable, threatened or endangered, some of which are listed under the federal Species at Risk Act. Presence of these listed species or other wildlife may be determined by referring to the Conservation Data Centre, although no observation record may be noted this does not confirm that no species are present.

Qualified professionals should be engaged where the works pose a risk where species listed by the Conservation Data Centre or by COSEWIC have been confirmed or could be expected.

Beaver dams

Beaver dam removal must consider the least risk work window for the beaver (April 15 – Sept 14) as well as the applicable fisheries work window as described above. If the works are occurring at a time consistent with both the beaver and the fisheries work window you have met the timing of works component of this terms and conditions document. If the works are proposed to occur at a time inconsistent with one or both of the work windows (beaver or fish) on the given stream the proponent should engage a qualified professional to assess the impacts to both the beaver and the fish species and their associated habitats. A qualified professional should determine if a site specific plan can be developed to ensure compliance with all applicable legislation (for example, Wildlife Act and Fisheries Act). The recommendations and technical rationale for the plan must be developed, signed and sealed by an appropriately qualified professional(s). The report must be maintained by the proponent in the event that the works are monitored or a compliance inspection is conducted. In addition, the removal of a beaver dam must be approved under the Wildlife Act.