Okanagan Timing Windows

Timing windows for instream works in the Okanagan area of the Thompson Okanagan Region provide general guidelines for minimizing the risk of impact to fish and wildlife species and their habitats. Refer to appropriate Best  Best Management Practice (BMP) for additional guidance on instream works.

Fisheries

Waterbody-specific timing windows for many lakes and streams in the Okanagan area have been developed based on known species occurrences and best available science. These windows are designed to protect all fish species known to occur in the waterbody and are listed in the following document.

In situations where works are occurring on a stream not listed in the above document, the proponent must adhere to the general timing windows outlined below based on the fish species present in that stream. One way fish presence can be confirmed is through Fisheries Inventory Data Queries. Please note if using this database that the lack of fish records for a particular stream is not necessarily equivalent to fish absence. All streams are assumed to have both spring and fall spawners until determined otherwise.

Species & General Timing Window
Bull Trout (BT) Jun 1 - Aug 15
Cutthroat Trout (CT) Jul 22 - Oct 31
Kokanee (KO; stream spawning) Jun 1 - Aug 31
Mountain Whitefish (WM) May 1 - Sep 30
Rainbow Trout (RB) Jul 22 - Oct 31
Chinook salmon (CN), Coho Salmon (CO), Sockeye Salmon (SO) Jul 15 - Aug 15

Wood Lake, Kalamalka Lake and Okanagan Lake have foreshore sensitivity zones identified for Kokanee shore spawning habitat (i.e., Black, Red, Yellow); see Okanagan Large Lakes Foreshore Protocol for more information including mapping.

If a fish species listed by the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre (CDC) or the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is known to occur in the stream where works are proposed, the timing window for that species also needs to be considered. Information for some listed fish species can be found in Okanagan Region Fish Species at Risk Status Report.

Notwithstanding the information above, fisheries timing windows are 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 timing windows or are inconsistent with Best Management Practices, the proponent should engage a qualified professional (QP) 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 QP(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 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 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 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 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