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Kokanee numbers for main valley Okanagan lakes are increasing, fall 2015 survey results show.
The Wood Lake kokanee population continued to demonstrate signs of recovery after poor in-lake conditions led to a significant increase in mortality rates for kokanee of all ages in 2011. In 2015, over 20,000 kokanee returned to spawn to Middle Vernon Creek, the main tributary of Wood Lake. This represents over a two-fold increase from previous years. Given the high number of returning kokanee, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations will continue to allow a fishery on Wood Lake from April 1 to Aug. 31 in 2016.
Results from the routine spawner surveys of Okanagan main valley shorelines and lake tributaries help ministry staff monitor the health of the fishery and set angling regulations. The results show:
* Okanagan Lake kokanee spawners totalled 336,500, an increase from
80,500 last year – and the highest return since annual counts began in
1992. This large return was primarily a result of an increase in shore
spawning kokanee. Stream-spawning kokanee totalled 31,500 and shore-
spawning kokanee totalled 305,000 fish.
* In Kalamalka Lake, kokanee numbers totalled 36,500, well above the
10-year average return of 20,000. This represents an above-average
Kokanee salmon are land-locked sockeye salmon found in all of the Okanagan main valley lakes. They represent a fishery resource and an important part of the natural ecosystem. The ministry and its partners will continue efforts to restore spawning and rearing habitats and ensure the long-term health of kokanee populations.
More than $4.7 million is being distributed to 430 artists and arts organizations as part of the latest round of successful BC Arts Council grant adjudications.
These awards will enhance arts and culture in 57 B.C. communites. They are the result of applications examined through the BC Arts Council’s independent peer-review process between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2015, in the following program areas:
The funding is part of the $24 million provided to the BC Arts Council by the Government of British Columbia to support the province’s arts and culture sector in 2015-16.
For a full list of recent recipients, visit: https://www.bcartscouncil.ca/mediaroom/recipients.htm
Our school district is focusing on excellence in our students and staff as outlined in our vision. We have identified some barriers to the success of some of our students, one of them being mental wellness. We are addressing this through various programs for our students such as Friends, MindUp, Roots of Empathy and Safe Teens, to name a few, and using assessments to guide us in the work we do. One of these assessments is the Middle Years Development Instrument which is a questionnaire completed by students in grades 4 and 7. It asks them how they think and feel about experiences both inside and outside of school. The questions relate to the five areas of development that are strongly linked to well-being, health and academic achievement. Our elementary schools are just wrapping up these assessments which are very informative to schools, the district and our communities.
We have just received the audit of the Education of Aboriginal Students in the BC Public School System. The results show that the completion rate of our Aboriginal students is increasing and that we have more Aboriginal students completing high school now than in 2000 with greater equity in completion rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. The Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement between SD53 and our Okanagan Similkameen Aboriginal partners expires in June next year. We have established a sub-committee of the Aboriginal Education Advisory Council (AEAC) including representatives from students, administrators, trustees, parents and the education coordinators from Osoyoos Indian Band, Lower Similkameen Indian Band and Upper Similkameen Band. We have begun meeting to review goals and the alignment of the Enhancement Agreement and the alignment of this work to school plans and our Aboriginal service plans. Superintendent Bev Young and Aboriginal Contact teacher Helen Gallagher are leading this process with the committee. Our Enhancement Agreement honors the partnerships and recognizes the collective responsibility for the success of all Aboriginal learners.
For students to be successful in school we have to offer students a variety of learning experiences. One of our strategies has been Career Education and we are happy to report that this past year we saw the greatest number of ACE-IT completions we have ever had. Twelve students successfully complete an ACE-IT program by the end of August 2015. This semester we have 7 students enrolled in the program and we are projecting another 16 for semester 2. We are already planning for the 2016 and 2017 school year, especially in the welding trade. Currently 6 of our students are enrolled in the welding program that will be offered in Penticton in August 2016. Currently we have 11 students registered for the SSA program; last year we had 14 students registered and we hope that this year we will reach our target of 15 as it is still early in the year. As a result of meeting our target last year we once again received the SSA grant which helps support our efforts. Thank you to Rod Kitt for organizing the Take our Kids to Work Day in Osoyoos and Oliver. We have received a lot of positive feedback from our communities for this initiative. This year the Industry Training Authority (ITA) will be working with the district again to promote the trades to our younger students (grades 5, 6 and 7). Three local tradesmen will be coming into the schools to demonstrate their trade and allow grades 6 and 7 students hands-on experience. This year we are focusing on the sheet metal, metal fabrication and welding trades. Local businesses and the ITA have stepped up to provide materials for this day. We want to thank our local communities and the ITA for their support and partnerships to make this experience possible for our students as well as recognize Boyd Turnbull for his leadership and passion in this program. Please check your local school newsletters and the district’s website to see which week your school will be hosting this event. We encourage parents to participate! We also have 14 students from Osoyoos, Hedley, Olalla, Kaleden, Cawston and Keremeos participating in the Gateway to the Trades program (an introduction to the trades). The students range from 15-18 years of age. Instructor Chuck Edwards is pleased with the aptitude of the students and has commented on their fast progress. They are attending the Okanagan College campus in SESS and have completed a toolbox, a step stool, saw horse and are now working on building a wall. The Gateway students have been exposed to construction projects at Cawston Cold Storage and Skaha Estates and also went to Okanagan College in Penticton for a tour and lessons in electrical and refrigeration. They have completed a Construction Safety training course, Level 1 First Aid and a workshop with Worksafe BC and are currently working on obtaining their WHMIS certificate.
We are pleased that the Ministry of Education approved our request for funding for some minor capital projects. We were advised that the district has been approved for $140,000 for roof repairs at Oliver Elementary School, $436,000 at Similkameen Elementary Secondary for window replacements and washroom upgrades and $271,000 for Osoyoos Secondary for a shop dust collection unit.
The Board of Education was advised that Minister of Education Bernier will be visiting our district on December 10th. The Minister will tour Oliver Elementary and Southern Okanagan Secondary schools and will visit with staff and the Board. We hope that some of our parents will join us for the informal meet and greet at Southern Okanagan Secondary School from 2:45 – 3:15 pm. Minister Bernier has committed to visiting all districts in the province over the next 12 months. We hope to share some of the positive programs in our district while also outlining the fiscal challenges of our district.
Should you have any questions, please contact me at 250-498-1333
Submitted by Marieze Tarr, Chairperson
School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen)