Habitat restoration is a major focus of the Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society, which serves the region from the Sooke Basin to the San Juan River Valley. There are over twelve creeks and rivers in this zone that stand to benefit from rehabilitating, restoring and expanding salmon habitat. Initially, much time was devoted to mapping and planning for potential projects.
Charters River was chosen by the Board of Directors as the first major waterway for habitat enhancement work. With the help of many generous supporters and contributors, work in this river has been carried out over the past decade, since the group’s incorporation in 2003. A series of spawning riffles and rearing areas have been built in the lower reaches of the river close to its confluence with the Sooke River.
Stabilization of the water supply to the Charters River spawning beds has been accomplished through a landmark agreement with CRD Water Services Commission that allows for water releases in the summer months as needed, in order to avoid loss of fish through water levels too low to sustain life.
Planning for development of the spawning capability of the Charters Side Channel has long been a priority of the organization. In 2013, with the assistance of a substantial grant from the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the assistance of a variety of generous corporate contributors both in cash and in kind, added to the sweat of volunteers working in the river, the side channel project was achieved. A substantial increase in habitat for overwintering, spawning and rearing has been accomplished.