Illahee 4/17/15 Spring Scenes, Water Festival, The Lost Continent, New Website, Homeless Camps, Reporters Needed, TE Tours, Purchase Donations, Hairless Squirrel, Common Loon

Spring Scenes.  The goose below seemed ready to either attack or fly as I approached its nest.

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Water Festival.  On Tuesday over 1100 fourth graders attended the 2015 Kitsap Water Festival at the Fairgrounds.  It was an amazing event that has been going on for 21 years, that included display areas where a table promoting the Illahee Preserve and moreover, the purchase of the Timbers Edge properties. The photo below shows the question that was asked of those who stopped.
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If the question was answered correctly a handout with a tattoo attached was provided.  The cover of the handout is shown below.
The tattoo, which is only temporary and easily removable with baby oil, is shown below on a fourth grader’s hand who wants to help with the campaign to purchase the properties.
The Lost Continent.  This is a name that was given to the area many years ago by children who explored the forest and Illahee Creek.  We heard this many years ago from some old-timers, and then saw it on the name of a grant in 2002 that resulted in the addition of about 90 acres to the Preserve.  It will likely be the name of a proposed grant in 2016 if the Timbers Edge properties are purchased.
TLC Logo  
New Website:  When the tattoos were distributed on Tuesday (4/14/15) the website went online even though it was still being developed.  It is to be used to promote not only the purchase of the Timbers Edge properties, but also the purchase or conservation easements on the remaining targeted properties.
Homeless Camps.  After realizing the mess homeless camps can become if they are allowed to remain in the Preserve, volunteers have begun monitoring the Preserve more closely, and posting any site as soon as it is discovered.  This site shown below was discovered on Tuesday and posted on Tuesday evening.
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The notice looks like this, and they are given 24 hours to vacate the site, which they did when the site was checked on Wednesday.
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The back side of the notice notes services that are available.  The postings and notices are done in collaboration with the Sheriff’s Department.
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Reporters Needed.  We are always looking for new reporters to tell the Preserve and Illahee stories, and especially younger ones.  Let us know if you are interested or have any suggestions of someone who might be reluctant to volunteer.
Timbers Edge Tours.  Thanks to those interested in touring the Timbers Edge property.  We need to clear a pathway of fallen branches and blackberries, and decide what to do about all the stinging nettles, and hope to have something going by next weekend.
Purchase Donations.  We will be getting information about received donations and how to donate for another update.
Hairless Squirrel.  Thanks for the photo and does anyone know what is wrong with it?
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Common Loon.  For those who like bird sounds, our favorite is the loon, and we only hear their sounds when they come through in the spring and fall.  We only heard their distinct call once this spring and were able to get photo.  Other favorite calls are from the ravens that seem to stay more in the forest.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 4/4/15 Meeting Report, Development Looms, Development Expenses, One Time Opportunity, Plan A, Plan B, Purchase Campaign Meetings, Suggestions, Tour Interest?

Meeting Report.  Lots of questions about what happened at Tuesday’s meeting with the Timbers Edge developer, John Johnson.

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Development Looms.  The message that came through at the meeting is development planning is on going.  They have a deadline to begin the development and while they are providing a window of opportunity to purchase, they need to be ready to develop if the purchase fails.  We found out on Tuesday that the 87 lot plat below reflected 50′ wide lots that were required by one home builder out of Seattle.    TE87Plat
Development Expenses.  We found out they not only have development expenses, but also loan fees with interest incurring, and yet they have significantly discounted the price with their contributions of $350,000 for Plan A and $500,000 for Plan B.  They really would rather it be purchased than developed.
One Time Opportunity.  This really is a once-in-a- life-time opportunity for the residents of Kitsap County to expand one of their Heritage Parks with the purchase of critical forest and riparian habitat.  Has anyone ever heard of a property owner and developer with an approved plat, being willing to give it up so it could become part of a Preserve?  Moreover, they were the ones who suggested applying for the Birkenfeld grant. These things just don’t usually happen.  They said they wanted to work with us and we said this is what we want, and it is happening.  They are really great people and it is still hard to believe it could become part of the Preserve.
Plan A.  Plan A offers the best opportunity for a purchase of 25 acres, which allows for a 10 acre development, but it is dependent on a successful Birkenfeld grant, and even at that requires donations and contributions to reach the purchase goal amount.  
Plan B.  Plan B is the ultimate challenge, which is to purchase the entire 36 acres, and it will take some major donors to step forward.
Purchase Campaign Meetings.  There is a group meeting each week to plan the purchase campaign.  It is a small group that would like have others join them.  They meet at the Pacific Planetarium at 817 Pacific Avenue at 5pm on Thursdays.
Suggestions.  The group is looking for more suggestions on how to get the word out to the larger Kitsap community and how to raise the funds necessary to purchase the TE properties.  
Tour Interest?  They are also trying to determine if there is interest in touring the TE properties.  Let us know if you are interested in a tour.  As someone said, seeing is believing (which is an idiom first recorded in this form in 1639, according to Wikipedia).
Jim Aho

Illahee 3/30/15 Spring Blossoms, Work Party, Trail Compliments, Timbers Edge Meeting, Contribution Thermometer, Funding Plan, Planning Meeting, Eurasian Wigeon

Spring Blossoms.  A great time of the year to enjoy the colors that surround us.
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Work Party.  Last Friday was the last of the Washington Youth Academy work parties until this fall.  They placed wood chips on trails, removed invasive species, and helped clean up some very messy and smelly campsites.  Thanks to these nearly 50 young cadets for all their work and the East Bremerton Rotary for planning and coordinating the work parties and providing supervision.  

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Trail Compliments.  We receive many many compliments on the trails in the Illahee Preserve, and it is especially rewarding when they say we have the best maintained trails around.  Again, the thanks goes to all the volunteers, as the Preserve is an example or model of what can be done by volunteers, service groups, businesses, and the surrounding community.

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Timbers Edge Meeting.  Another positive situation is the new owner and new developer of Timbers Edge offering the community a window of opportunity to purchase either 25 acres, or the entire 36 acre development, and have agreed to contribute towards its purchase.  There will be an opportunity to meet the new developer, John Johnson, and review the development plans if funds are not raised. The meeting is on Tuesday evening (3/31) at the Sylvan Way Library and begins at 6:15 pm.  Please invite your neighbors or anyone interested in preservation of our natural areas.  There will be pledge forms available if anyone is able to help.
Pledge Form 
Contribution Thermometer.  This afternoon there was a contribution thermometer being put in the kiosk at the Almira Parking lot.  We left before it was put in place and will include a photo in the next update.  
Funding Plan.  Below is the funding plan for the Timbers Edge purchase.  It pretty much tells the story about how much work it will take to raise the funds to purchase Timbers Edge.  This is where the collective community must brainstorm to figure out how to make it happen.  We think Plan A is achievable, but worry about Plan B.  If you have ideas please attend the planning meeting noted below or respond with an email to this group.
 CC Plan TE
Planning Meeting.  The weekly planning meeting normally held on Thursday will be held on Wednesday (4/1) this week.  They meet at 5 pm at the Planetarium at 817 Pacific Ave and anyone interested in helping is invited.
Eurasian Wigeon.  We were asked if any Eurasian wigeon (with a cinnamon colored head) were sighted in Illahee this year as in past years and they were, but we didn’t see them until a month ago.  Eurasian wigeons are seen frequently in the area with American wigeon and it is reported they take a wrong turn at the Bering Sea and accidentally follow the American shoreline instead of the Asian one during their fall migration.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 3/25/15 Blossoms, Thursday Planning Meeting, Friday Work Party, Tuesday Developer Meeting, Rotary Club Appreciation, Beach Education Classes

Blossoms.  The first photo is several weeks old and is of an apricot tree.

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Thursday Planning Meeting.  Help is needed to figure out how to plan and run a Capital Campaign.  Last Thursday we began brainstorming on what we need to do to accomplish a very big task, i.e. figure out how we can raise enough funds to purchase the Timbers Edge development properties.  We will be meeting every Thursday (until further notice) at 5 pm at the Pacific Planetarium at 817 Pacific Ave in downtown Bremerton and can use any ideas or help anyone can provide.  If you can’t attend, maybe you have some ideas — please let us know as the clock is counting down and soon our 5 months to raise the funds will be 4 months as the start date was 3/8/15.
Tuesday Developer Meeting.  On Tuesday (3/31/15) the community will have an opportunity to meet with John Johnson, the developer who has been given the task to either sell the property to the community or develop it.  John would rather the community purchase the property, but he also needs to be ready to develop it if they fail to raise the funds to purchase it.  He will share the plans they have to develop it at its approved density or at a reduced density should the community purchase all but the Avery Homestead.  Of course the goal for the community is to purchase all the properties so there would be no development.  The meeting is at 6:15 pm on Tuesday at the Sylvan Way Library. (The map below has been presented before but new people access our website and have been added to the email list so it is shown again.)
contributions-map-20141208 (1)
Friday Work Party.  Another large work party is planned for Friday (3/27) with the Washington Youth Academy.  This is an all day event that should take care of all the remaining wood chip piles, plus lots of other tasks as we get ready for another year of growing popularity of the Illahee Preserve.  Below is a photo of a new batch of chips at Trail Marker #12, just where they are needed. 
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Rotary Club Appreciation.  Thanks again to the Rotary Club of East Bremerton for coordinating these events and for helping make the Preserve such a great attraction for so many people!!!!
Beach Education Classes.  One of the best classes around is the Beach Naturalist Class that is offered only once a year and it begins on April 9th.  Illahee has over 3 miles of some great shorelines and access points to get to them.  Details of the class are:

Explore the Wonders of Puget Sound with Kitsap Beach Naturalists 

 WSU Kitsap Extension and UW SeaGrant proudly present the 2015 Beach Naturalist training, which is open to the public. If you want to learn more about marine life and local water issues while exploring beaches, then this is the class for you!

 When: Thursday evenings April 9 through May 14 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Where:  Poulsbo Marine Science Center

Who: Adults and teens are welcome to attend. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Cost: Cost for 6 weeks is $65. Scholarships are available.

 Surrounded by water, the Kitsap Peninsula is an amazing place to learn about and enjoy sea life. Over the course of six evening classes and a variety of field trips, we’ll learn about sea stars, clams, crabs, and other cool critters as well as seaweeds and plants that live on our beaches. We’ll also discuss Salish Sea oceanography and shoreline living, conservation, and restoration.

 After the training, trainees can choose to volunteer in exciting service projects, which include beach explorations, local community events and service projects that help protect and enhance Kitsap shorelines. 

 For more information visit WSU’s website at http// or register online at

Jim Aho


Illahee 3/18/15 Wildlife Photos, Work Party, Timbers Edge Progress, TE Purchase Campaign Meeting, Pledge Form, More Details Later, Wood Chips Needed

Wildlife Photos.  A couple of deer and pheasant photos, with one catching a pheasant walking by a couple of deer.  

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Work Party.  If you haven’t walked the trails lately in the Illahee Preserve, now is a good time to see all the work that has been done recently putting wood chips on the trails.  The effort is labor intensive but when you realize the chips keep the trails looking nice for years it is worth the extra work.  Thanks to the Washington Youth Academy for all their help and the East Bremerton Rotary for coordinating the work parties.
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Timbers Edge (TE) Progress.  Another success story is a signed Revised MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) outlining the details of purchase agreement for 25-36 acres of the Timbers Edge properties.  It was signed on 3/8 and delivered on 3/9 by the Illahee representatives, and then signed by the property owner and developer on 3/12, with two date changes, that were quickly accepted and delivered back on 3/13.  This allowed a major grant application to the Birkenfeld Trust to be submitted on 3/16, followed by a briefing to the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee on 3/17 and to the KC Parks Advisory Board on 3/18/15.
Slide 8 
TE Purchase Campaign Meeting.  With all the preparatory work completed, it is time to begin planning for a Capital Campaign to raise the money.  This will take a community effort and more and they are soliciting help from any and everyone who thinks they can help.  The first planning meeting is Thursday (3/19) at 5 pm at the Planetarium, 817 Pacific Ave, Bremerton.  If you have questions about the meeting please call 479-1049.
Pledge Form,  Below is a copy of the pledge form being used to raise the money.
Pledge Form 
More TE Details Later.  This is a fast moving target as the funds need to be raised within 5 months for the 25 acres and 7 months for the 36 acres.  More details after we attend the planning meeting on Thursday.
Wood Chips Now Needed.  Several months ago we reported there were too many wood chips, and then we found out they were being dumped in the wrong places.  This pile was dumped less than 24 hours after the previous pile had been cleaned up.  But with the help of the Washington Youth Academy cadets it was placed on Preserve trails on Friday 3/13/15.  With another work party scheduled for March 27th more wood chips are needed, but only at specified locations.
Tree Service Watch Help Needed.  If you see a tree service with a wood chipper, please let them know the Illahee Preserve needs chips at Trail Heads #12 and #1 along Thompson Lane.  If they have any questions have them call 479-1049 or 649-1049.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 2/28/15 Blossoms, Mail Found, Meeting Notices, Dead Cormorants, COASST Report

Blossoms.  Spring has definitely sprung.

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Mail Found.  Someone is missing some important mail.  This was “found on the side of the road above 4760″ but they didn’t include the name of the road.  Could be Fir Drive or Illahee Road.
Meeting Notices.  We have been asked to note some upcoming meetings, and we are late with the first one that began on Saturday. 
The 2015 Kitsap Antique Show is this weekend at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. Expert Appraisers will be on site to appraise  antique or family heirlooms for only $5 per item! A variety of dealers will also be on hand selling everything from the finest antiques to wonderful collectibles.  This event is an annual fundraiser for the Kitsap Historical Society and the Puget Sound Genealogical Association. 
 kitsap antique show
The second one is also recommended as Paul Dorn is especially familiar with Illahee Creek.
The next meeting of the Manette History Club is this coming Tuesday, March 3, at the  Manette Community Church at 1137 Hayward Avenue, Bremerton.  The time is 1 pm. our speaker is Paul Dorn, Senior Suquamish Tribal Biologist, speaking on Small Stream Enhancement.
Dead Cormorants.  The number of eagles seems to have increased recently and they seem to like to feast on cormorants.  This young eagle is a new regular who a neighbor saw get the cormorant in the second photo.
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We noticed the remains of these two cormorants on Thursday.
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COASST Report.  Coastal Observation And Seabird Survey Team or COASST walks are conducted monthly in Illahee.  Using the COASST Field Guide we were able to identify the remains above as a Double Crested Cormorant from its wing size and wing feathers. The reporting form is shown below.
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Jim Aho 

Illahee 2/18/15 Spring Flowers, Fruit Tree Suggestions, Preserve Camp, ICC Meeting Minutes. Quote, TE Purchase Pledge Form

Spring Flowers.  Not only do these add color to our neighborhoods, but also to updates.

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Fruit Tree Suggestions.  Thanks for all the responses regarding what kind of fruit trees to plant.  Below are the recommendations:
For the fruit growers….  There is a local group that meets called the Peninsula Fruit Club.  They may be best to ask.  The stores around town tend to sell fruit trees that do well across the nation, but not here in the Puget Sound.    Here is a link to the Facebook page. fruit club is holding a grafting show on March 14th.   They can purchase their trees and rootstock at the grafting show that will do well in Illahee.
I would not recommend Cherry unless you can plant many of them.  One tree will be a raccoon’s home base in May/June when there are no other fruit trees available. They will start eating when they are very green and you will have very little left to pick for the 4th of July.
Encourage your fruit tree seeking young couple to investigate old varieties of plum, Apple, cherry and peach.  Even taking cuttings and starting them from scratch.  I so mistrust Gmo infiltration in to everything we might invest.  Have them seek out older homesteads and older homes with old trees.
In regard to fruit trees, about 5 years ago we planted bare root Graven stein apple, Bartlett pear, cherry, and frost peach.  I would not do another cherry due to the birds.  The pear in this area gets a brown scab, but grows well and is good tasting.  Apple does well.  Frost peach is our favorite.  Very good fruit.
pass along to those wanting fruit trees (I was just thinking about this last night) Asian (or Korean) Pears grow VERY well in the Candy cane lane zone to the south of the park. I don’t know where you would find this tree, but the fruit is a bit like a pear and very very sweet. I have a plum tree which really produces too, as well as a Rainier cherry tree. Alas the birds usually beat me to the cherries! Apples don’t do well for me because we are infested with bugs and I don’t want to spray (being organic around here)
Jim, this is a flyer for the Peninsula Fruit Club’s Spring Grafting show.  Please forward it to the person wanting to plant some fruit trees.  Our ‘experts’ will be glad to help in any regard … and we will have lots of fruit trees for much, much less than any of the box stores.
Hey, Jim. Enjoy your posts. For that young couple, there was a legendary Bing cherry tree one house up from the store to the south (maybe still there) that had a rich yield every year. My mom’s fig and pear trees always did well.
My suggestion is an Italian plum.  They don’t get real big which is nice around a garden.  They grow quickly and produce lots of plums.  We have found they can be dried easily and eaten all year long. 
Preserve Camp.  These are what we don’t like to see in the Preserve.  A camp with needles!  It was posted and we need to check back to see if it is vacated, but even then they never clean them up.
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ICC Meeting Minutes.  Attached are the draft minutes from the Community meeting held last week.  Note the costs associated with a pressurized sewer line going through historic Illahee, which the Illahee Preserve group hopes will motivate residents to help purchase the Timbers Edge development.  
Minutes pg1
Minutes pg2
Quote for the Timbers Edge Purchase Campaign.  We just saw this come through on an email and think it applies to the community trying to raise money to purchase Timbers Edge.
“Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them.”  Robert Jarvik
TE Pledge Form.  Below is the new pledge form for those who would like to see how things are progressing before contributing.  It does two things (1) it allows the giver an opportunity to indicate financial support and hold on to their money until a purchase is eminent, and (2) it allows the Preserve non-profit group to track the funding support to make sure the purchase will take place.  It has been said this is truly a once-in-a-life-time opportunity, to help complete and establish a ‘Forested Central Park’, and a Wildlife Preserve, all surrounding a salmon stream.  
Pledge Form
Jim Aho

Illahee 2/15/15 Early Spring, Preserve Work Party, Fruit Tree Question, Meeting Report

Early Spring.   So many photo opportunities with our early spring.  Here are two with the last being of rhubarb starting to emerge.

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Preserve Work Party.   What do you do when you have too many wood chips?  
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Answer:  You ask for help from the Washington Youth Academy (WYA).  
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This event happened faster than we could react to it.  The week prior the work party was cancelled because of the heavy rains, and then it was quickly rescheduled for Friday (2/13). Thanks to the East Bremerton Rotary Club for their coordination of these events, which incidentally includes arranging for a port-a-potty (required for all day events), which is provided by Jim Fox of Cool Car Classics (which meets on the first Tuesday the months of April to September at Shari’s on SR 303).
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Trail maintenance was one of the WYA projects as increased usage of the Preserve has worn down some of newer perimeter trails, exposing roots which then become tripping hazards. This required building up the trail around exposed roots, which are then covered with wood chips.  
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Another project was to help try and control Scotch Broom, a highly invasive plant that flourishes in the NW, especially around clearing areas.  This pile was pulled in the Compass Circle meadow area.
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Fruit Tree Question.   We were asked about recommended trees and thought it best to query others.  Any suggestions for this young couple?
We are in the process of deciding which fruit trees to grow in our garden.  Do you have any recommendations for fruit varieties that do well in the Illahee micro-climate?  We are considering apple, pear (for sure Asian, maybe European), peach, and cherry.  Also, do you know much about the types of rootstock that are well suited to our soil and weather?
Meeting Report.   There were a number of people who couldn’t make the Illahee meeting this past Monday and they have requested a report.  They used the attached PowerPoint slides.  We will try to get a copy of the meeting minutes for more details.
Slide 1
Slide 2
Slide 3
Slide 4
Slide 5
Slide 6
Page 7
Slide 8
Slide 9
Slide 10
Slide 11
Slide 12
Slide 13
Jim Aho

Illahee 2/6/15 Flowers, Monday Community Meeting, Sewers, Timbers Edge Purchase, Stennis/Dock Photo, Enhanced Ditch

Flowers.   Feels like Spring with the warm temperatures and flowers emerging.
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Monday Community Meeting.   A community meeting is being held at the Library on Sylvan Way on Monday (2/9/15) at 6:15 pm to discuss community issues, including the option to purchase Timbers Edge, and to answer the many questions regarding sewer plans for Illahee.

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Sewers?   Are there plans for sewering Illahee?  What are the costs, installation and monthly?  Kitsap County Public Works personnel will be there on Monday to answer questions.
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Timbers Edge Purchase?   Lots of questions coming in regarding the possible purchase of Timbers Edge, especially after the Kitsap Sun front page coverage a couple of weeks ago.  Updated information will be shared on Monday evening.
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Stennis/Dock Photo.   A high tide photo of the Illahee Community dock with the John C Stennis in the background.  Photo taken this morning (2/6/15).
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Enhanced Ditch Working.   Nice to see all the stormwater flowing smoothly in the enhanced ditches recently installed.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 1/28/15 Unwanted Chips, Report Chip Dumpers, Blowdown Cleared, Messy Camp Sites, Prowler Report, Dead Seabird Report, Egg Casings, Pheasant Beach Walker

Unwanted Chips.  Seems like recently one or more tree companies have decided to dump their wood chips at the Illahee Preserve.  Years ago we asked for wood chips to cover the trails, and now we can’t stop them.  It takes lots of hours and effort to move the chips to the trails, and it will take an army to distribute all these.  

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Report Chip Dumpers.  Please report anybody you see dumping chips!!  Call Parks or the number for the Illahee Forest Preserve, our non-profit supporting the Preserve, at 360-479-1049.

Blowdown Cleared.   Early Sunday morning the downed trees blocking trails were removed by Rotary and Preserve volunteers.  Thanks to those who volunteer their time, energy, and chain saws!!!!
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Messy Camp Sites.   As if downed trees aren’t enough for volunteers to take care of, we found some really messy camp sites that need to be cleaned.  We often find needles and feces which make cleanup difficult, and sometimes Parks will have special cleanup crews come in.
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Prowler Report.  And continuing with problems, here is a report that came in a few days ago and was posted on Facebook.
“Just before 5:00 am this morning. There was an SUV prowling in the neighborhood. They drove west on NE 1st and saw my car was running so they slowed down then turned around in driveway and came back down the block slowly. When they saw me pulling out of my driveway they sped up and went South on Rest. As I drove by Rest I saw them turn around again. I drove back by and didn’t see them. I hope that I scared them away. Please be alert this isn’t the first time there have been prowlers in our neighborhood.”
I went back and checked our security camera footage and saw the vehicle on 1st and then shortly after could see the same vehicle driving behind us on Wise St.  It is a newer dark SUV with unique side marker lights in front of the doors, possibly on the side rear-view mirrors.  They made several passes, driving very slowly in front of homes.
Dead Seabird Report.  Last year we reported on COASST (Coastal Observation And Seabird Survey Team) walks, also locally referred to as the dead seabird check.  We went years without finding any dead birds, primarily because the eagles generally keep the shoreline clean.  And they probably took care of this seabird, leaving only part of its head and the upper bill.  
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It was probably a young double-crested cormorant, because its bill length was a few millimeters short of that of an adult.  Let us know if you are interested in joining us on these monthly shoreline walks.
Egg Casings.  We’ve reported on these before and this is a test to see if you know the source of the eggs.  They are usually found in the intertidal or subtidal areas, but probably became buoyant because of the number of eggs and washed up to the higher tide level.  
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Pheasant Beach Walker.  We were surprised to see this pheasant walking the other way down the beach.  He didn’t seem to be too concerned about us.
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Egg Casings Answer.  We copied this information from one of the many information sites on the web.  

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“The Frilled Dogwinkle can be found in winter or early spring around the low tide line where numerous females (four years old or older) will lay many yellow spindle-shaped eggs about a half inch long attached to rocks in a communal nursery. A female can lay up to 1,000 eggs per year.  After a month or so the young snails pierce the egg capsule and crawl off, however there is high mortality with only around 1 percent reaching one year of age.” 

Jim Aho