Illahee 9/12/17 Preserve Fires, Saturday Fire, Monday Fire, Photos, Port Public Hearing, Comp Plan Goals

Preserve Fires.  Fires in the Illahee Preserve are the biggest concern, especially with such an extended dry season.  The fire danger is high as signs around the Preserve indicate.

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Saturday Fire.  This fire was a small one in the middle of the Golf Course Loop trail. 
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Monday Fire.  We don’t know who reported the Monday fire but the smoke was visible for miles and King 5 had a photos with the Olympic Mountains in the background.  Thankfully it was off the Power Line which made it more accessible and special thanks to CKFD for their quick response!  The Preserve and Illahee dodged a big one!
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Encampment.  Reports noted an encampment close by.  We found signs of mail scattered along the trail that wasn’t there two weeks earlier when a Washington Youth Academy crew was clearing the power line trail.  The encampment was in the Wildlife Preserve area that isn’t open to the public.
 
Photos.  We just missed getting a photo of Canada geese with the deer shown under the apple tree.
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Port Public Hearing.  The Port of Illahee held a public hearing on Monday where they presented their Comprehensive Plan.  Comments are encouraged over the next four weeks after which the Port will finalize the Plan.
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Comp Plan Goals.  The Comp Plan covers the Port’s plans for the next 6 years with the “Goals” section being a good summary.  The entire plan can be viewed on the Port’s website: portofillahee.com.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 9/7/17 Photos, White Deer, Gas Line Installation, Illahee Creek Benthic Testing, Salmonids Sighted, Summer Base Flow, Port Public Hearing, Port Comprehensive Plan, Preserve Shelter Dedication

Photos.  Thanks to Ginny for the deer photo.

 
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White Deer.  Several months ago a white deer was seen near the mouth of Illahee Creek and we are curious if it is a piebald or an albino.  A piebald deer is one with a genetic anomaly affecting its color.  Pie means mixed and bald is for white spots.  There have been quite a number of piebald deer seen in the area over the years with small patches of white, but so far none mostly white so we are hoping someone will get a photo of this one.
 
Gas Line Installation.  Traffic was down to one lane on Wednesday at the bottom of Illahee hill while a gas line was being pushed through under Illahee Road.
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Illahee Creek Benthic Testing.  Also on Wednesday Kitsap County was conducting benthic testing in Illahee Creek with the help of a couple of Stream Stewards.  The samples will be sent in and the results will tell the stream’s health.
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Salmonids Sighted.  The good news is salmonids were sighted swimming between pools.  A small dead one was found that appears to be a coho.
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Summer Base Flow.  With no rain for most of the summer many wonder what happens to small streams.  Illahee Creek has a base flow rate that doesn’t seem to change, even in the driest of season.  Hydrologist Joel Massmann many years ago estimated the summer base flow to be around half a CFS (0.5 cubic feet per second) and that is what the digital equipment showed it to be on Wednesday.
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Port Public Hearing,  Whenever port districts modify or update their Comprehensive Plan they are required to hold a public meeting so residents can have an opportunity to know what the plans are and to be able to comment on them.  The public hearing on the Port of Illahee’s Comp Plan will be held on Monday, 9/11/17 at 5 pm at the Sylvan Way library.  The public is encouraged to attend and comment.
 
Port Comprehensive Plan Draft.  A draft of the Comprehensive Plan is posted on the Port’s website: http://www.portofillahee.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Draft-Comprehensive-Plan-2018-REV-C.pdf
 
Preserve Picnic Dedication.  We received notice the East Bremerton Rotary will be dedicating the new picnic shelter they recently built at the Almira entrance to the Illahee Preserve on 9/28/17 at 5:30 pm.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 8/30/17 Work Party Report, Trails, Noxious Weeds, English Holly, Car in Ditch, Illahee Creek Restoration Project, Port Comprehensive Plan

Work Party Report.  Last Friday (8/25) Washington Youth Academy (WYA) cadets, 54 of them, descended on the Illahee Preserve to assist Rotary and Stewardship volunteers, 9 of them, with a variety of tasks.  

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Trails.  Trail work, consisting mainly of keeping 30 wheelbarrows loaded with chips moving a half mile to the Hall of Cedar’s trail.  
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Noxious Weeds.  Noxious weeds in the Preserve are unwelcome and every attempt is made to remove them. Scotch broom was removed from the Compass Circle meadow area, along with Himalayan blackberries.  Thistle is a particularly nasty weed and while a small patch was removed at the end of Thompson Lane, the powerline has a large infestration that will need to be controlled in 2018.  Tansy Ragwort is more of a pasture type of plant that was found on recently aquired property at the end of Thompson Lane.  If cattle or horses ingest it it causes irreversible liver damage.  Tansy was bagged and will be brought to a landfill.  Knotweed is another nasty weed under the powerline that needs to be controlled and will require more attention. 
 
English Holly.  English holly, is not a noxious weed but rather a weed or bush of concern, that grows amongst the forest canopy and is particularly troublesome in that cutting those too large to pull up results in new shoots coming from all around the stump, sometimes in a radius as far a 20 feet away, creating a bigger problem than a single plant.  The goal is to find them when they are small and can be pulled up and hung by their roots so they will die, as can be seen in this photo.
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Another use of English holly is for blockage of rogue trails and paths to illegal homeless camps, which is what is being done with these that were pulled along Almira to a recently removed camp site.  
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How Many Hours Worked?  Over 400 hours between the cadets and the Rotary and Stewardship supervisors.  No wonder the Preserve has the reputation for the best maintained trails, along with the fewest noxious weeds.
 
Car in Ditch.  We couldn’t see what the problem was until we got closer.  Don’t get too far off the shoulder on McWilliams road as the ditch is a drop off in certain areas.
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Illahee Creek Restoration Project.  The following is from a paper entitled “Illahee Creek Watershed Preservation & Restoration Project” summarizing the results of a 2008 Port of Illahee/Department of Ecology Centennial Clean Water grant.  These are some noble and necessary goals and need to be noted, and earlier Port Commissioners need to recognized for their proactive concerns many years ago when they applied for the grant.
The purposes (goals) of the Illahee Creek Watershed Preservation & Restoration Project are:  
(1) to acquire adjacent Illahee Preserve properties and Illahee Creek riparian corridor properties, including those that constitute prime salmonid spawning and rearing habitat; 
(2) to restore forested areas for recreation and wildlife; 
(3) to restore salmonid use to near historic levels; 
(4) to restore the natural ecological processes of the forest, riparian corridor, and the watershed; 
(5) to control the storm water surges and excessive sedimentation that plagues Illahee Creek and Puget Sound (through retention/detention and bio-retention facilities); 
(6) to advocate for raising the height of the Illahee Creek culvert to compensate for the raised flood plain in the lower reaches of the stream and to prevent the possible washout of the culvert and Illahee Road;  
(7) to eliminate fecal coliform sources that pollute Illahee Creek; 
(8) to ensure sufficient aquifer recharge of the base flows in Illahee Creek necessary for salmonid use and survival; 
(9) to inform and educate the local community and the public at large regarding the above issues and involve them in the restoration processes, and 
(10) to facilitate public use and enjoyment of the natural features and ecological processes of the Illahee Preserve and Illahee Creek Watershed. 
 
While Illahee Creek is only a small salmonid producer in the West Sound Watershed area, with only small runs of chum and Coho in a good year and intermittent use by steelhead and cutthroat, it is a major polluter of Puget Sound with excessive amounts of sedimentation being deposited into the Sound during storm events.  And although much of its stream corridor and watershed consists of prime habitat (65% undeveloped with most of that protected), a relatively small area of development on the outer perimeter of the watershed, constructed before storm water mitigation regulations went into effect, has resulted in over 40 years of excessive sediment pollution of Illahee Creek and Puget Sound.  Additionally, Illahee Creek is impacted by diminishing low base flows during times of low precipitation, along with the presence of fecal coliform pollution in the stream. 
 
Significant progress has been made over the last few years to begin to document the issues and accomplish both property acquisitions and some restoration, primarily through earlier grants from the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Coastal Protection Fund (CPF), and Department of Ecology (DOE)/Port of Illahee; along with the recent generosity of the owner of the Rolling Hills Golf Course (104 acres) and the Timbers Edge owner and developer (25.5 acres). The property acquisition and easement phase is now ~85% complete (with the remaining 15% consisting of ~30 acres of conservation easements and ~50 acres of acquisitions).
 
The Port of Illahee, the Illahee Forest Preserve Non-Profit Corporation, the East Bremerton Rotary, the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee, and Kitsap County have committed resources and are working collaboratively to accomplish the purposes and goals of the restoration project, with financial support, volunteer labor, inter-local agreements, etc.  Integral to the success of the remaining acquisitions and conservation easements will be the continuing quest for gifts and grant support to secure the properties. 
 
Port Comprehensive Plan.  The Port of Illahee has done a great job of leveraging their limited annual tax funding ($79,646) with grants, and will be presenting their next 6 year Comprehensive Plan on Sept 11th at 5 pm at the Sylvan Way library at a public meeting for residents to provide comments and input.
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 8/24/17 Photos, Blackberry Connoisseurs, Illahee Day Report, Friday Work Party, Fair Poster, DFW Installation, Port Public Meeting on 9/11/17, A Complaint

Photos. These photos go back awhile.

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Blackberry Connoisseurs.  In addition to humans picking blackberries we recently came across these guys enjoying roadside blackberries.
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Illahee Day Report.  Evidently not one of the 49 people attending Illahee Day had a camera so this is all we have.  It was a great time to meet new and old neighbors and the Port had planned well as it anticipated 50 people attending.  
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Friday Work Party.  Camera coverage is anticipated of Friday’s work party at the Preserve with the Washington Youth Academy as the mini storage container with wheelbarrows and tools was delivered Thursday afternoon.  After visiting other forested parks we think the Preserve has some of the best trails around.
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Fair Poster.  The Kitsap County Fair had a poster that caught our attention as Illahee has its share of butterfly bushes.  Not a good plant for butterflies.
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Port Public Meeting on 9/11/17.  The Port of Illahee at their last meeting voted to begin the process of updating their Comprehensive Plan by holding a public meeting at the Sylvan Way Library on 9/11/17 at 5 pm.  This meeting will also be their September monthly meeting and will give residents an opportunity to see and comment on the Port’s 6 year plan for the future.
 
A Complaint.  We have been asked to post the following complaint.
 
Here’s an item for your neighborhood blog – I am sick and tired of my house filling up with the smoke from a trash fire.  Burning any kind of trash is illegal!  Not only does it smell bad, it causes me to cough.  I can see the smoke coming from the house just south of the dock.  I have discussed this issue with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and they tell me I need to call 911 when this occurs.  I hesitate to call 911 but I will not tolerate the smoke any longer.  Short of calling in the Fire Marshall, I’m not sure what can be done except to remind the local residents that burning trash is illegal.  Perhaps if you mentioned it in your newsletter someone might take the hint.  Thanks.
Jim Aho

Illahee 8/7/17 Wildlife Photos, Band-Tailed Pigeons, Port Meeting Wednesday, Illahee Day Saturday, Illahee Store Progress?

Wildlife Photos.  Thanks to Fred, who lives near the Illahee Preserve, for the following photos:

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Band-Tailed Pigeons.  The photos are of a band-tailed pigeon, with the following 2005 book found at the Amazon website about these interesting birds.  Anyone have more information on band-tailed pigeons?
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Port Meeting Wednesday.  The Port of Illahee will be holding its August monthly meeting outside of the Illahee Store on Wednesday 8/9/17 at 5 pm.  The meetings are being held there to make the meeting available to those unable to navigate the steep slope to the Port meeting room at the base of the Illahee dock.
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Illahee Day Saturday.  The public is invited to Illahee Day on Saturday, August 12th, from 4-7 pm.  Beverages and food will be provided.  Come and meet your friends and neighbors and celebrate Illahee’s 101 anniveresary!
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Illahee Store Progress?  The Port has been actively pursuing the purchase of the abandoned Illahee Store and is currently waiting for an anticipated Sheriff’s sale.  Contamination has been found on the site and cleanup will be required.  A second site survey, which installed four monitoring wells confirmed the findings of the first tests, with estimates of the cleanup cost expected later.  Historical photos of the pumps from the old store were requested and found from 1945 from Marie Reed’s photo album.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 7/27/17 Coyote Report, Preserve Land Slide, Creek Spring Fed, Sunset Sewer Project, Fire Concerns, Shelter Picnic Table?

Coyote Report.  From the Illahee Community Facebook page.  Kristen noted in a FB response that this was the third time in the past 3 weeks they were observed.

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Preserve Land Slide.  Nearly every year land slides occur along the steep banks surrounding Illahee Creek.  Last year one took out a PUD monitoring site.  This one is at the North Perry pump station at the end of Riddell Road.  Below is an email regarding a meeting Park’s Planner Steven Starlund had on the slide.
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Steven met with North Perry Water yesterday. There was a large slide at their facility on the corner of Perry and Riddel. The slide also took out part of park property. The County has given the water company permission to build a gabion retaining wall  and drain to shore up and protect their property. Part of this will be on park property too. The plan is to complete the work before the rains start this winter.
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Creek Spring Fed.  During dry spells like we are having Illahee Creek continues to flow and be inhabited by fish because it is fed by seeps and springs from the shallow aquifer.  The photo is of a sign along a trail at Alderbrook Resort.
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Sunset Sewer Project.  In addition to the sewer pump station work on McWilliams new sewer lines are being installed in the Sunset roadway.
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Fire Concerns.  Fire danger signs have been installed around the Preserve and yet we found signs of a fire on Preserve property along Rest Place.
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Shelter Picnic Table?  We had a recommendation to pass on regarding picnic tables at the new shelter at the Preserve’s Almira entrance.  These were observed at Port Gamble and it was noted the color would match those of the shelter.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 7/17/17 Preserve Art, Preserve Berries, Preserve in the News, Preserve Dumping, Stewardship Meeting Tuesday, Turtle, Photos

Preserve Art.  Walking the Preserve is always a pleasure in hot weather and recently stone art has appeared.

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Preserve Berries.  Salal berries are beginning to turn color.  We finally found a branch with all the colors.  The last photo is of developing Evergreen Huckleberries.
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Preserve in the News. This article appeared in the Kitsap Sun on July 11th and mentions the Illahee Preserve as a place to see vanilla leaf.
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Preserve Dumping.  This is what we don’t want to see in the Preserve.  It was dumped sometime Friday evening.
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Preserve Stewardship Meeting Tuesday.  Preserve users and those interested in helping shaping the Preserve are welcome to attend the monthly meetings of the Stewardship group.  They meet at the Kitsap Pavilion meeting room on the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm.  As the Preserve grows additional input and support is needed and newcomers are welcome.  If you have questions about the meeting call us at 360.479.1049.
 
Turtle. Only the second turtle report in 10 years.  “Was walking away from wetland area. Think it was a western pond turtle. Either that or a painted turtle, but it was more like the farmer’s size. Not something you see crossing the road every day!
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Photos.  We welcome photos and especially those of wildlife.  The last photo is from the last full moon.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 7/14/17 Preserve Fire Danger, Illahee Store, PLIA Grant, Contamination Testing, Deer Reports, Pigeon Guillemot, Illahee Day 2017

Preserve Fire Danger.  The Preserve is very dry so please watch out for fires.  There were some scary moments last year that we don’t want repeated, as local fire fighters are not equipped to fight a forest fire.
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Illahee Store.  Lots of action this past Wednesday and Thursday at the former Illahee Store site.  

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PLIA Grant.  The Port was successful in obtaining a Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA) grant to conduct a second round of tests to better understand the extent of pollution on the property before it goes up for a sheriff’s sale, at a date yet to be determined.  
 
Contamination Testing.  The testing this week involved extending and expanding on the previous testing with more probing sites and four ground water wells installed. Contamination was again verified near the existing underground storage tanks, and also where the old tanks (since removed) were located at the previous store. 
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Deer Reports.  With so many deer around, it is hard to know what to report.  Earlier this week a large pregnant doe was hit on Illahee Road and had to be put down by a Deputy (we have not shared the photo based on previous comments about showing injured or dead animals).  The four bucks in the photos were all in one person’s yard at the same time and were getting along, which won’t be the case in the fall during the rut.  We had a report deer like geranium and petunia flowers that were not safe even on patios.  One popular spot for deer was around a detention pond, that is until it was mowed.  The fawn is the only one we have been able to get a photo of this year.
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Pigeon Guillemot.  On July 1st a Pigeon Guillemot was observed at the Illahee Dock, which is a rare occurrence because of the presence of bald eagles at the dock, seen nearly every morning on the light posts.
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Illahee Day 2017.  The Port has set August 12 as the date for Illahee Day.  This will be Port Commissioners’ George Schaefer and Cassie Magill’s last Illahee Day and they requested to be in charge of refreshments in honor of their many years of service to the community. George has been a commissioner for 16 years and Cassie for 4 years.  Plan on joining them and the festivities to be held on the Illahee Store property on Saturday, Aug 12th.  Below is last year’s sign.  
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Jim Aho

Illahee 6/28/17 Killdeer Eggs Hatch, Stormwater Meeting Report, Illahee Regional Stormwater Facility, Illahee Store Activity, Locate Services, Private Locate Services, Old Store Gas Tanks, Draft Testing Plan

Killdeer Eggs Hatch.  Incubation time for Killdeer eggs is 24-28 days and three eggs, laid on a path to the beach, were right on time.  They survived daily multiple trips back and forth by geese, not to mention not being stepped on by a bear and her cub.  Now we are watching the adults chase away the crows who seem to be after the young chicks.

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Stormwater Meeting Report.  One of the most informative meetings on local stormwater issues was held on 6/19.  10 signs were placed throughout the community informing residents resulting in the attendance being better than other county stormwater meetings, with many waiting for a summary in a community update (next section). 
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Illahee Regional Stormwater Facility.  Briefly the project is a $2.5M Stormwater Regional Facility to be built over several years in three different phases, which are shown below.
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Illahee Store Activity.  More activity at the Illahee Store on Monday (6/26/17) as a second round of contamination surveys begin.
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Locate Services.  Utilities need to be identified whenever drilling occurs and they can determined by basic or enhanced services.  These photos show the basic services looking for power and gas.
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Private Locate Services.  With USTs (Underground Storage Tanks) enhanced services are required which use ground penetrating radar to see what is underneath.  Not only did they locate the existing tanks, they could also see where the tanks from the old Illahee Store were removed.
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Old Store Gas Tanks.  The photo below is from 49 years ago when the Illahee Flag Pole was dedicated.  The old store was located much closer to Illahee Road, and the USTs for the gas pump were on the north side of the store, and according to the testing the pit can be seen where they were removed.
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Draft Testing Plan.  The draft drilling plan to check for additianal possible site contamination is shown below and will likely be modified based on the new information from the private locating services.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 6/15/17 Stormwater Meeting, Countywide Open House Meetings, Past Problems, Brown Water in the Bay, New Culvert Underdesigned, Outfall at Illahee Dock, Gilberton Creek Washout, Port Stormwater Grant, Grant Recommendations, Illahee Preserve Acquisitions, County Progress

Stormwater Meeting.  There is an important meeting regarding stormwater for Illahee residents and the Sylvan Way Library meeting room is a great place for events like this.

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Countywide Open House Meetings.  While this is part of a county wide effort (see writeup below) to inform residents of stormwater programs, experts will be able to discuss Illahee specific projects that are ongoing.
 

If you have questions or concerns about stormwater drainage or flooding issues on or near your property join us for this open house.  We want to hear from you.  Stormwater staff will be available to listen to your concerns and gather input regarding our services and programs. They are also available to answer questions and provide a variety of brochures and resources.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about the Stormwater Division’s services as well as the Clean Water Kitsap program. Clean Water Kitsap is a partnership program between Kitsap County Public Works, the Kitsap Public Health District, Kitsap Conservation District and WSU-Extension. We work together to protect water quality by identifying and reducing sources of pollution, providing technical assistance for a variety of best management practices related to septic systems, livestock manure management, rain gardens and more.

 
Past Problems.  Illahee has a history with earlier questionable stormwater decisions, primarily permitting.
 
Brown Water in the Bay.  During every major storm event sediment is deposited out into the bay from the storm surges the plague Illahee Creek from developments authorized within the watershed.
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New Culvert Underdesigned.  The relatively new Illahee Creek culvert (1999) under Illahee Road quickly filled with sediment beyond the design height indicating an underdesign.  With limited height clearances it is susceptible to a washout if it becomes clogged.
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Outfall at Illahee Dock.  Some years ago the Port of Illahee fought the county with attempts to install an outfall at the Port dock.  This resulted in an poorly designed and installed outfall north of the dock that is presently an eyesore, that is someday supposed to be corrected.
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Gilberton Creek Washout.  Also a number of years ago there was a major washout of the Gilberton Creek culvert, due to the lack of recognition of cumulative projects impacting the culvert.  While the culvert was then replaced, there were no apparent public lessons learned responses.  Just prior the washout of the road a bus loaded with children passed over it.  The local community hoped that it would have resulted in some kind of public lessons learned response, but it didn’t.
 
Port of Illahee Stormwater Grant.  The bright spot after the above stormwater failures was the Port’s success in obtaining a Centennial Clean Water Fund grant to develop a Surface Water Management Plan, which resulted in comprehensive study of the watershed and water issues which is now being used to correct many of the past failures.
Grant Recommendations.  Many recommendations were suggested, however, the cost of correcting all the identified problems was $20 million, not including the recommendation to acquire critical properties.
 
Illahee Preserve Acquisitions.  The Illahee Preserve has been successful in many of it’s acquisition efforts, but still has a way to go.  We found the following information especially encouraging.
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County Progress.  Kitsap County is also making steady progress on the recommendations, which we will hear more of at Monday’s meeting, along with their other programs.
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Jim Aho