Illahee 2/26/17 Preserve Photo, Accident Results, Goose Identified, Olympia Oyster Source, School Street Utility Work, Port Gamble Logging, Illahee Preserve Trails

Preserve Photo.  Thanks again to Chris for the following photo and comment:

Hairy Woodpecker Illahee_3
I had another great walk through the Preserve this morning and was lucky to snap a shot of a Hairy Woodpecker! The Preserve has some of the best woodpecker habitat that I’ve seen in this area. Its easy to spot at least one of the five different species that take advantage of the many standing dead trees all year round. Species of woodpeckers I’ve observed and photographed in the Preserve include: Pileated, Hairy, Downy, Northern Flicker, and the Red-breasted Sapsucker. I’m no expert so any corrections are welcome.

Accident Results.  Ocean View was closed by the Illahee Store this morning (Sunday 2/26/17).  Evidently someone hit and broke off the power pole last night or this morning and left part of their grill.
Goose Identified.  Thanks to Paul for the following identification of photo of the goose in our last Update.  We saw this goose with a possible mate so it will be interesting to see what features might come from any second generation goslings.
The goose in your photo is a hybrid Canada goose X greater white-fronted goose.  Note the diagnostic white margin around the base of the bird’s bill.  The white-fronted goose derives its name from that white band.  Canada geese and greater white-fronted geese are often seen migrating together in the same flock.  Spring arrives, hormones rage and mistakes occasionally happen … even among geese.  Nice photo.
Olympia Oyster Source.  And thanks to Joanna for noting where our Olympia Oysters may be coming from. 
Yay for the Olympias.  We have been growing them in bags on our property.   I am very hopeful that spawn are escaping and colonizing all the areas where fresh water trickles down to the sound,
School Street Utility Work.  We must have taken this photo at the entrance to School Street just before they hit a watermain on Monday (2/20/17) that caused the water to flow all the way down Ocean View, which was covered well with a photo on the Illahee Community Facebook page (
Port Gamble Logging.  A few weeks ago we noted the Stream Stewards class put on by WSU Extension and then attended their field trip on Thursday of Port Gamble Heritage Park.  Selective logging is being done with some amazing logging equipment.
Illahee Preserve Trails.  There are some great well maintained trails in the Preserve because of the Rotary and Washington Youth Academy.  This low wet spot was covered with rocks during the last work party.  Another work party is scheduled for March 17.  The next photo shows a future trail area not yet open.
Jim Aho

Illahee 2/18/17 Photos, Storm Damage, Preserve Birds, Geese, Work Party, Knot Weed, Olympia Oysters

Photos.  Spring flowers emerging and ducks returning to the Preserve detention pond.

Storm Damage.  Lots of limbs down in the area after the snow, along with a number of trees down in the Preserve.  The tree clean up was done on Tuesday by two groups from the Illahee Stewardship Committee, to prepare for the Friday work party. 
Preserve Birds.  Thanks again to Chris for more bird photos from the Preserve.

I had an amazing walk today. I counted at least 11 different species surviving the winter in the Illahee Preserve:

2 Pileated Woodpeckers
1 Red-breasted Sapsucker (pic attached)
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 American Robin
1 Varied Thrush
Many Dark-eyed Juncos
1 American Crow
2 Grey Squirrels
2 Douglas Squirrels
1 Brown Creeper
1 Pacific Wren
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Geese.  A newcomer that isn’t being accepted by the Canada geese.  We have no idea what kind it is. The next photo is of Canada geese who are now matched up and becoming territorial as they look at nesting sites.
Work Party.  Washington Youth Academy (WYA) cadets (numbering 52) moved all the wood chips to trails on Friday.  Thanks to the Rotary (East Bremerton Club) for arranging for the WYA cadets, the wood chips, the tool and wheelbarrow storage container (courtesy of United Storage), the portable toilet (courtesy of Jim Fox), and the 10 supervisors who directed and helped with the efforts.
Knot Weed.  Knot weed is an invasive species that is particularly troubling along fresh water and salt water shorelines.  The photos below show one reason it is hard to kill is because of its massive root structure that can extend out nearly 10 feet.
Olympia Oysters.  A much better find on the shoreline was what appears to be the smaller, but native, Olympia oysters.  
Jim Aho

Illahee 2/6/17 Snow Photos, First Daffodils, Port Meeting Wed, Lost Continent, Rotary Shelter, Preserve Fire Site?

Snow Photos.  A great snow day to capture some Illahee scenes.  Please send any favorites you might want to share.

First Daffodils.  Some early Northwest flowers waiting for the snow to leave.
Port Meeting Wed.  We heard there is interest in attending Wednesday’s Port meeting to find out what is happening with the possible purchase of the Illahee Store.  The meeting start time is 5 pm.
P1030636Lost Continent.  There are rumors there might be a Phase 2 to the Lost Continent purchase that took place in 2015.  We will try to find out if it is true.
Rotary Shelter.  Another report is the plans for a Rotary Shelter were submitted to the Park’s Department before going to the Department of Community Development (DCD).  The location site is the flat area at the Almira parking lot.  The photo was taken at an earlier snow event.
Preserve Fire Site?  It appears the site of the recent Preserve fire was at the same location as a previous fire. The litter shown between the burned logs is from a marijuana package, that wasn’t there a few days earlier, which is a possible clue.
Jim Aho

Illahee 2/2/17 Preserve Fire, Bird’s Nest Fungi, KPUD Stream Monitoring, Work Party, RV Camping, Roadway Cleanup, Waterway Update

Preserve Fire.  CK Fire Fighters responded at 12:50 today (2/2/17) to a Preserve fire somewhere between the Amphitheater and Compass Circle.  We will be checking the area out tomorrow.  This is likely the same area where other fires have been set and has become a major concern.  Any ideas on catching the person?  The photo below is of last summer’s fire.

Bird’s Nest Fungi.  Thanks again to Chris who captures some amazing photos in the Preserve, and tells us about them.
Birds Nest Fungi Illahee_4
Found these little fellas in the Preserve right next to the trail near the golf course. It appears the spores, or “eggs” have already been ejected by recent rains. From Wikipedia: “The Nidulariaceae (‘nidulus’ – small nest) are a family of fungi in the order Nidulariales. Commonly known as the bird’s nest fungi, their fruiting bodies resemble tiny egg-filled birds’ nests. As they are saprobic, feeding on decomposing organic matter, they are often seen growing on decaying wood and in soils enriched with wood chips or bark mulch; they have a widespread distribution in most ecological regions.
KPUD Stream Monitoring.  The Kitsap Public Utility District (KPUD) is monitoring the flows in the North Fork of Illahee Creek for the county to determine the effect of their upstream stormwater projects.  The area north of McWilliams Road is where the major stormwater surges come from and the projects, past and future, are designed to help mitigate the surges so we don’t see the brown silt laden water out in the bay after storms, as shown in a photo in the last Update.
Work Party Coming.  In a couple of weeks this pile of wood chips, and other piles, should be covering trails after a visit from the Washington Youth Academy (WYA), planned for 2/17/17.  
RV Camping Concerns.  Thank you for the many comments about RV camping concerns, specifically about a RV with a blue strip, that is seen often in both the Almira and Thompson Lane parking lots.  
Overnight parking is prohibited according to posted signs.  The following statement was passed on to those concerned:
Neither overnight camping in the woods nor vehicle camping in a parking lot are allowed at Illahee Preserve.  Kitsap County Parks are open during daylight hours only.  Overnight parking in Kitsap County Parks is not allowed.  In the event car-camping is identified at Illahee Preserve we ask you call 911 with vehicle description & license number, share your observation of overnight camping, and request an officer make a welfare check on the occupant(s).  We welcome your assistance in maintaining a safe and healthy environment at Illahee Preserve. 
Roadway Cleanup.  Many thanks to the county for helping to cleanup local roadways!
Waterway Update.  A few weeks ago a small gray whale going north passed through Illahee.  Also nearly every day a group of sea lions passes through traveling south.  This fall they were seen catching salmon along the way.  Also, seals have been blamed for poor squid fishing at the dock.  An interesting recent article in the Kitsap Sun noted the problem with salmon predation.
Jim Aho

Illahee 1/30/17 Photos, Weather Photos, Stream Stewards Class, Mail Thefts, Preserve Photos

Photos.  The first flowers of the season and other recent Illahee scenes.

Weather Photos.  The first photo shows the silt laden water coming from Illahee Creek after the recent heavy rainfall.  The second shows how the same storm breached a Barker Creek beaver dam, followed by a photo of its repair 10 days later.  The last photos show the results of freezing and then thawing weather on a gravel road off of Sunset.

Stream Stewards Class.  This is a highly recommended class by nearly all who have taken it.  It was nearly filled up at the end of last week so act quickly.

Do you want to learn about and explore forests and streams? On the Kitsap Peninsula, beautiful forests and small streams abound, making it the ideal place to learn about native plants, forests, wetlands, aquatic insects, and more. We also discuss our interaction with these resources and their protection, conservation, and restoration. We’ll spend plenty of time exploring outdoors.

During the training and field sessions you’ll have the opportunity to connect with experts and other local people who share your interests.  We also provide opportunities for continuing education and involvement in volunteer activities around the county, including tree planting, streamside restoration, stream sampling, and teaching others at events like Salmon in the Classroom. This 6 week non-credit training is open to the public and taught by local and regional experts.

When: Thursdays, February 2 through March 9 from 9:00 to 3:00

Where: Island Lake John Horsley Center (Poulsbo, WA)

Cost: $45, which includes class materials; scholarships are available

Register online at

or call Lisa Rillie at 360-337-7157 x 3244

Mail Thefts.  Mail was seen scattered throughout Illahee today.  Early Sunday morning it seemed like nearly every mail box lid was open, up and down Illahee Road.


Illahee Preserve Photos.  In the old growth area not open to the public, and a local sign over concerns about poaching.




Jim Aho

Illahee 1/7/17 Photos, Preserve Bear Sighting, Kitsap Sun Articles, Wed Port Meeting, Big Squid

Photos.  The following photos are of common mergansers.  A flock of several hundred landed in Illahee on Thursday afternoon and quickly found a school of fish to chase toward shore where they are easier to contain and consume. 


Bear Sighting.  Periodically bears have been seen in the Illahee area, and on Thursday morning at 5:50 am a small bear, estimated height of 3 to 3 1/2 feet, was reported going through a garbage can at the bus stop next to Kitsap Mental Health.  He was chased away and went back into the Illahee Preserve.   The bear was identified as a youngster which are typically pushed away by the mama bear this time of year as they prepare to den up for the winter.  The youngster bear was evidently looking for an easy meal and garbage cans are an easy mark. Kitsap Transit was asked to pick up the trash and install some critter proof cans.  Below is a photo of the transit stop we took today, without a garbage can.
Kitsap Sun Articles.  The New Year’s Memorial run in the Preserve that was mentioned in our last update was covered in detail by the Kitsap Sun, see below.
Also in local papers was the press release regarding the Supreme Court upholding newer stormwater rules, see below. This most likely affects the All Secure project next to the Illahee Preserve as its stormwater design was considered vested long before the statewide rules changed in 2015.  The project was appealed by Illahee Forest Preserve non-profit group because of wetland and stream buffer concerns and is scheduled for a March 2017 hearing.  
Port Meeting on Wednesday.  The Port of Illahee meets on Wednesday (1/11/17) and we hope to hear what was found from the contamination sampling that was done around the underground gas tanks at the former Illahee Store and if the Port is still interested in purchasing the property.  The meeting time is 5 pm and the public is invited.  Below is a photo of the sign that is put out before their monthly meetings.
store 016
Big Squid.  Just before the cold snap hit with its 20 degree temperatures, squid fishing was good and the squid were big.  It was so good the seals were hanging around at the dock evidently enjoying them also.  The low temperatures and the cold north wind kept all but the hardiest squid fishermen away this past week.
Jim Aho

Illahee 12/29/16 Photos, New Year’s Day Memorial Hike, Shelter Preparations, Preserve End of Year Financial Support

Photos. Thanks to Chris for the photos below “from yesterday’s walk, a Brown Creeper and a Hairy Woodpecker! Other species observed included a Golden-crowned Kinglet and several chickadees. Even in a slow time of the year there are many forest residents making their way in the Preserve.” 

New Year’s Day Memorial Hike/Jog.  While taking photos of the future shelter site (see next item) Tabatha was putting flagging out for a New Year’s day memorial hike/jog that was advertised on several Facebook sites for a 9 am start.  We said we would let people know what the flagging was for in case they wanted to join in.

Shelter Preparations.  A recent trip to the Illahee Preserve’s Almira parking lot found some grading work being done.  The East Bremerton Rotary Club has approved building a picnic shelter at the Almira entrance and the site looks like it is nearly ready for the install to begin.
Preserve End of Year Financial Support.  We were requested to note that the Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) group, the 501.c.3 non-profit group that supports the Illahee Preserve, is in need of financial support.  Funds are used primarily to purchase properties like the 25.5 acres in 2015, and legal costs associated with trying to protect wetland and stream buffers.  Contributions to the IFP are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, and need to be postmarked by Dec 31, 2016 to be credited to 2016 taxes.  Contributions can be mailed to:  Illahee Forest Preserve 501.c.3, Jon Buesch Treasurer, 6253 East Blvd NE, Bremerton, Wa 98311.
Jim Aho

Illahee 12/25/16 Photos, Preserve Garbage Dumping, Guard Rail Damage, Mail Theft Chase, Goose Road Crossing?

Photos.  Thanks to Chris for the following photos taken in the Preserve last week.  We need help coming up with wildlife photos and really appreciate contributions like these!




Preserve Garbage Dumping.  This was found at the Thompson Lane parking lot on Friday.  Volunteers usually find a way to take care of most dumping, but this was about 20 big bags so a call was made to the Park’s Department to see if they could help.  The second photo was some dumping along side another road in the Illahee area.



Guard Rail Damage.  We saw some questions about a guard rail that was damaged near the Illahee Creek culvert so we took some photos.  The guard rail is designed to absorb the energy when impacted and that is what it did.  It sheared off two posts at it’s base, and then folded the steel rail like an accordion.  In the old days the old style of guard rails would have caused major damage to a vehicle and anyone inside.  It appears the people must have driven off after the accident based on the input below from the property owners.

We’re not aware of any one being hurt, or what caused the damage. The police do not have a report in their records.  We were  gone between 12:30 – 2:00 PM on Thursday, 12/22/16. Surprised when we returned home.





Mail Theft Chase.  We came across the scene below on Saturday and found it had just happened during an attempt to catch someone stealing mail on School Street.  They said they were chasing a gray Mazda 3 hatchback when they lost control going around the corner.  They were disappointed when a deputy said he couldn’t help them despite their seeing the person going through mail boxes and stealing the mail.




Goose Road Crossing?  There are a number of Canada geese in the area north of the Illahee Community Dock and as they consume more and more grass they are crossing Illahee Road.  There were residents who at one time wanted deer crossing signs along Illahee Road, and may now want goose crossing signs?


Jim Aho

Illahee 12/18/16 Photos, Illahee Preserve 2017 Plans, Reduced Timbers Edge Moving Forward, Purchase Price?, Contamination Testing

Photos.  The last ones being of Illahee Creek and the culvert.

Illahee Preserve 2017 Plans.  We came across a document that we aren’t sure if it is still official.  We think it should be as it highlights future and ambitious plans for the Illahee Preserve, including plans for “TE Phase II” for a “Proposed South Entrance, Homestead Park, & Native American Exhibit” that seems to be overtaken by recent events.
Reduced Timbers Edge Moving Forward.  The Timbers Edge development was greatly reduced (by two-thirds) with the purchase last year of the 25.5 acres.  The hopes for state grant funding for the remaining third did not materialize, so unless something extraordinary happens, there will be a 45 lot reduced development on the site.
We saw comments (by a member of the group that initially opposed TE) regarding the reduced development that indicates the owner and developer worked collaboratively with the community to ensure if a development went in it would not impact the base flows of Illahee Creek. 
 1.  They gave us an opportunity to purchase the most sensitive riparian parcels, and we did with the purchase of the 25.5 acres for the Illahee Preserve.  Not only did they give us the opportunity, they also contributed significantly themselves.  How often does that happen?
2.  Our hydrologeolgic studies noted the impact of sewers and the tightlining of the stormwater, on the base flows of Illahee Creek, and this amended application eliminates the sewer line in favor of a community drainfield, and the stormwater is being infiltrated on site.  They listened to us when we said the soils in this plateau area are nearly perfect for infiltration.  The planned drainfields and stormwater infiltration areas mimic the natural conditions existing on the site and will therefore continue to support the critical base flows in the creek.
3.  While it would always be nice to have larger lots the density is roughly 4 homes per acre and they are permitted (grandfathered) up to 9 homes per acre.  They are basically abiding with our Illahee Greenbelt Zoning of 1 – 4 homes per acre, which is almost unheard of for a property like this.  I don’t know how we could do any better with density.
4.  Additionally, they gave us an opportunity to look over the preliminary plans and determine access points for the Preserve and the drainfield area provides a nice border on the west side.
5.  And most importantly, if we should be able to come up with purchase funding, they will sell us the property.  This is another unbelievable gesture on their part.  Our problem is with timing at this point as we are up against the project clock that requires them to begin the project this coming Spring of 2017.  
6.  We worked hard this year trying various avenues for funding with the major emphasis on RCO funding and we eventually found a funding source that used our previous purchase as a match.  Kitsap County Parks even hired a contract grant writer to assist and we were hopeful until at the very end we realized state wide competition was rough and we didn’t fare as well as we hoped.  We did get verbal support for a 2017 appropriation this upcoming 2017 legislative session, but it wouldn’t be available until summer at the earliest, which doesn’t meet the project start date (though it could work only if the start was slow until the funding was secured.)
7.  The bottom line — my assessment is we are most fortunate to have a property owner and a developer who have bent over backwards to work with us.  There may be a few minor details to work on if we don’t come up with the purchase funds, but overall things couldn’t have gone better and I have a great respect for Mr. Tallman and Mr. Johnson, and thank them for patience and generosity.
Purchase Price?  Inquiries regarding what it would take to purchase the development.  Without an Options Agreement it would be guessing but think the earlier $970K could be reduced to about $820K.  One person is willing to start a fund with a $10K gift and a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from an IRA was received recently.  If there is enough interest a capital campaign can be organized.  Let us know if you would like to help with a campaign or to contribute, or just want further details and we will pass the information on.
Contamination Testing.  This past week an environmental firm came to test the soil around the petroleum underground storage tanks at the Illahee Food Store site.  We watched the process with great interest and when those drilling and preparing the samples were seen smelling a particular sample and said it smelled of gas, we can only conclude contamination will also found by the testing lab.  
p1030199Evidently the Port also felt this was a good possibility as we found the following resolution on their website:
We will continue to follow this story as there are many concerned about the store being vacant and abandoned for nearly 15 years, and have expressed support for the Port acquiring it.
Jim Aho

Illahee 12/11/16 Photos, Humming Bird Correction, Illahee Preserve Work Party, Old Gas Tanks Inspected, Illahee Store UST Drilling Monday, Port Meeting Wednesday


Humming Bird Correction.  Thanks to Paul for correcting me as I incorrectly identified the humming bird in the last Update.   
The exposure is a bit dark, but the hummingbird in the photo appears to be a male Anna’s hummingbird.  If the photo was taken recently, the photographed bird cannot be a rufous.  Rufouses winter in Mexico and along the Gulf Coast of the United States.  The larger and hardier Anna’s hummingbirds are year-round residents in western Washington.  Anna’s hummers are the birds hitting the hummingbird feeders hard right now.
Illahee Preserve Work Party.  A week ago a small group of Olympic High School volunteers helped haul rocks, which are many times heavier than wood chips, to fill a particularly wet section of a trail.  
Old Gas Tanks Inspected.  The Department of Ecology recently conducted their routine inspection of the gas tanks at the Illahee Store.  The inspector said she would like to have these tanks taken care of as they have not received the required cathodic protection (necessary for steel tanks) when the power to the store was shut off many years ago.
Illahee Store UST Drilling Monday.  We found some colorful “locate” markings around the vacated Illahee Food Store the other day and understand soil testing will occur Monday, to determine if the underground gas storage tanks ever had any leaks.  We also noted the septic system was checked the other day and the drainfield lines located. 
Port Meeting Wednesday.  Just a reminder the Port of Illahee monthly meeting is this Wednesday (12/14/16) at 5 pm.  Also a reminder that two port commissioner positions will be up next year and interested residents need to apply in May for the November 2017 election.
Jim Aho