Project Type Water
Project Status Construction
Project Area Juan de Fuca
Estimated Cost $5,000,000
Estimated Start Date 01-Apr-2009
Estimated End Date 01-Apr-2025
Estimated Duration 17 years
Contracted To / Performed By CRD Watershed Protection Staff and Contractors


The Leech Watershed was purchased in 2007 and 2010 from private forest land holders. The area was 95% harvested and has an extensive roaded footprint of more than 400km. This long term project entails disposal of woody debris and old logging infrastructure, tree planting, management of planted forest stands, classification and mapping of geology, terrain stability and soil erosion potential, upgrade of main access roads, deactivation and rehabilitation of excess roads. The project is currently in year 10 of a 17 year restoration plan.

2013 – 2018 Progress


  • Closure and rehabilitation of a permanent road on steep unstable terrain along the Leech River;
  • Establishment of an east-west access route between Sooke WSA and the Leech WSA including two new bridges (24m and 11m length) and one bridge moved & re-used;
  • Establishment of a north-south access route along Horton Ridge between Sooke and Leech WSAs;
  • Upgraded/new road to Mt. Healey to support communications for the radio, video surveillance and hydromet systems;
  • Establishment of a small quarry (C110) for on-site rock and gravel for road/bridge/terrain stability upgrades;
  • Removal of a large failing log bridge across the West Leech River;
  • Removal of access roads within the floodplain of Cragg Creek;
  • Replacement of 19 stream culverts and 97 cross drain culverts;
  • Total of 13.6km of road closed and rehabilitated, 14.5km of road upgraded/constructed;
  • Planning of the Leech WSA road system to best serve watershed management needs (fire protection/security/access for restoration activities).

Reforestation and Forest Health

  • Forest cover mapping update;
  • Planting of 300 red alder seedlings as part of road rehabilitation;
  • Silviculture surveys and assessments to ensure adequate reforestation
  • Brushing around regenerating seedlings 153ha;
  • White pine blister rust surveys and treatment;
  • Annual aerial surveys of forest health; and
  • Operational trial – planting Scouler willow whips at mid-high elevation to develop regeneration strategies at higher elevations and to reduce fuel hazard.


  • Amendment of Greater Victoria Water Supply Area (GVWSA) Protection Bylaw No. 2804 to include the Leech WSA;
  • Installation of three additional gates and fencing to fully close the Leech WSA to unauthorized access;
  • Successful application for a mineral reserve over the Leech WSA barring new mining claims from being staked;
  • Facilitated a recreational access permit application by the Westcoast Flyfishers

Slope Stability and Soil Erosion Control

  • Rehabilitation of spur roads on unstable terrain; and
  • Detailed channel and terrain stability field assessment of Cragg Creek, West Leech and Leech River.

Wildfire Protection and Forest Fuel Management

  • Revised wildfire management plan (2015) incorporating the Leech WSA;
  • Wildfire Risk Analysis (2018) incorporating the Leech WSA;
  • Secondary fire weather station in the northern portion of the Leech WSA;
  • Fire preparedness activities: daily ground patrols during fire season, air patrol during high and extreme fire danger;
  • Establishment of an emergency helicopter staging area;
  • Establishment of road access to Worley Lake as a primary water pumping station; and
  • Fuel management corridor on Horton Ridge and access through Horton Ridge for firefighting.

Hydrology and Water Quality

  • Development of Watershed Hydrology Monitoring Plan for Leech WSA;
  • Installation of four primary hydrology stations.

Wildfire and Invasive Plants

  • Beaver detection and control;
  • Bullfrog detection, no control required so far;
  • Monitoring of wildlife species; and
  • Scotch broom removal in fuel management corridors, gravel pits and helicopter landings.

First Nations Interests

  • Annual T’Sou-ke First Nation (FN) silviculture crew contract work, annual meeting with T’Sou-ke Administrator (operating);
  • Traditional Use Access Agreement; and
  • Traditional Use Study Agreement.

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