Ellis Creek Sediment Basin Fish Passage Project

Project Overview:

The goal of this project is to redesign the current sediment basin to create fish passage year round and improve overall creek habitat. This project will also make the creek function more effectively, allow the Ministry to do their routine sediment extraction without disturbing fish passage, and provide a more natural and healthy ecosystem for the community to enjoy.

Ellis Creek sediment catchment basin, located near the creeks mouth is bordered on the downstream end by a rock weir that was constructed to retain transported sediment and prevent it from entering Okanagan River. The rock weir is not passable by fish species year round (Walsh et al., 2006). In addition, the ongoing process of sediment extraction over time negatively impacts the local environment and initiates extensive maintenance requirements. Modifying the sediment basin would rectify these issues and would open up 4 km of potential salmon spawning habitat in Ellis Creek (Walsh et al., 2006). This project was modeled after a similar project carried out on Shuttleworth Creek’s sediment basin in 2015. Construction works are completed; next steps include replanting vegetation in the spring and postconstruction monitoring to ensure that restoration is successful.


  • Riffle was built successfully
  • Bypass system is functional
  • Many cottonwoods and willows were salvaged
    before construction and replanted or staked along
    the bank of the basin
  • No wildlife salvage was required
  • There were no public safety concerns, despite the
    popularity of the area for walking
  • Banks were graded and left rough and loose in
    anticipation of planting during the spring of 2019

Project Goals:

Once completed, the re-configured basin will

  • Provide annual fish passage, increase fish populations, improve spawning habitats and overall habitat diversity while opening up 4 km of stream habitat,
  • Allow for easier clean out and maintenance of the sediment basin due to less fines being collected, and no increase in costs or liability to the Ministry in terms of public safety,
  • Reduce the amount of fines being stockpiled, therefore improving air quality for local residents,
  • Allow for permanent riparian vegetation to be planted, making the area more aesthetically pleasing for people as well as improving fish and wildlife habitat.

Project Documents:

Ellis Creek Sediment Basin FAQ

Ellis Basin -Construction Signs 2018

Project Progress/Status:


Project Location:

The sediment basin is located in Penticton, BC, between the Ellis Creek highway crossing bridge and the Ministry of Environment near the mouth of Ellis Creek.

Project Team:

  • Camille Rivard-Sirois – Fisheries Habitat Biologist: project coordination, Hec-ras modeling, pre- and post-monitoring, data analysis.
  • Karilyn Alex – Fisheries Biologist with ONA – project management, steering committee chair.
  • Shaun Reimer MoFLNRO -RD– Provincial jurisdiction over the sediment basin and clean-out
  • AD-HOC Committee (MoFLNRO –RD, ONA, PIB, City Penticton, SOSCP, FOTO)
  • Lee McFadyen – Public Relations Coordinator
  • PIB – project lead: Project management, reporting, on-site environmental monitor.