>Thursday Meeting Questions – 1/28/09

>Thursday Evening Meeting Questions. We have received a few questions about Thursday evening’s meeting at the Norm Dicks Center to present the approved Illahee Community Plan and hear a presentation by Parametrix of their study of the Illahee Creek watershed.

Why the Norm Dicks Center Instead of the Library? First of all the library was not available and it is harder to schedule because of the cutback in the library hours. Secondly, the Norm Dick’s Center is a state of the art facility for presentations. And, by having the meeting in the evening, parking is readily available.

Why Brief the Approved Community Plan? We have found that there are a number of Illahee residents who are not familiar with all of the aspects of the Community Plan, including some of the boundary changes made at the last minute by the County Commissioners. We felt this would be a good opportunity to combine two meetings to make it more efficient for community members. There is also a question of whether there is a need for the Citizen Advisory Group to continue.

Is the Watershed Report the Grant Report? The quick response is Yes. The long response is the Port of Illahee received a Department of Ecology grant of $181,000 to complete a basin assessment and to develop a Surface Water Management Plan. The report was issued in late 2008 and is just getting ready for distribution. This will be the first public presentation of the findings of the report.

Why Was the Grant Needed? There are a number of issues with Illahee Creek and the watershed. They have to do with problems with:

  • Surface Water Runoff
  • Landslides
  • Reduced Aquifer Recharge
  • Water Quality
  • Filling of the Illahee Creek Culvert
  • Degraded Salmon Habitat

Are There Solutions? That is what the Parametrix report is supposed to do, tell us what the solutions are to the above problems.

Do You Need Help? We have not asked for help yet, but we would like to ask for some via this email update. We would like to have some reference tables at the back of the room for those wanting information regarding the Illahee Forest Preserve and the Illahee Community Club. Our resident photographer has another engagement and we would like to have someone take photos of the meeting and another person to operate a video camera. We have the camera, but not a tripod. We have the conference room from 5 pm to 9 pm and will start setting up at 5:30 pm for those who may be able to help.

Thank You for Your Questions.

Jim Aho
PS – Ten signs were placed throughout the Illahee Community. The one in the attached photo was on Sunset. We often have the signs at the end of McWilliams taken down by someone so there may be only nine out there.

>Wildlife Update&Meeting Info – 1/26/09


River Otters. We asked for pictures of river otters and just received one. There have been three otters seen in the area for quite some time now, and it is good to get a photo of them.

Bald Eagles. We also just received some bald eagle photos. The latest were from this past Sunday when at least 5 bald eagles were seen taking turns eating something on the beach, with one of them being an immature eagle who had to wait until after the others had finished. We were trying to figure out what the eagles were feeding on, and it appeared to be possum based on the tail, shape and color.

Plant Salvage Question. We had questions of whether there was any plant salvaging done at the construction sites along Almira. There was some salvaging done a year ago at the Illahee Preserve parking lot site where plants were moved elsewhere in the Preserve. They looked at moving some of the huckleberry bushes a few weeks ago, but there were no good candidates as only small huckleberry bushes are normally successfully moved. We don’t know if there was anything done at the Keller House site.

Native Plants Available. We contacted Jim Trainer, our local Illahee forester, who noted the following:

1. Every year I giveaway between 10,000-50,000 surplus native trees compliments of Mike Driscoll of Hood Canal Nursery, Port Gamble,WA.

2. In Illahee I have a small native tree and plant nursery for sale. See Treez, Inc. website www.treezinc.com for tree and plant lists

3. 20,000 douglas fir seeds were distributed in the Illahee Preserve. Compliments of Treez, Inc. and Hood Canal Nursery.

Illahee Meeting Location. Some people have asked about the location of the Illahee meetings on Thursday evening (1/29/09). The Norm Dick’s Center is located on 6th Street in Bremerton and is the 6 story government building that is only a few years old. It has a main floor conference room that is state of the art and is the location for many meetings including the Bremerton City Council meetings. The big screen projector makes this an ideal place for presentations like we are expecting on Thursday.

Parking Available. The benefit of having this meeting in the evening is that there is usually ample parking available in the area.

Questions? If you have questions, please let us know what they are as others are probably asking the same ones.

Jim Aho

>Press Release – 1/23/09


Important Meeting on 1/29/09. The following Press Release was sent to local papers today regarding briefings that should be of interest to all Illahee residents and others in Kitsap County.

The Illahee Creek Watershed Surface Water Management Plan final report briefing by Parametrix, and a briefing of the adopted Illahee Community Plan by Kitsap County, will be held at the Norm Dicks Government Center on the evening of January 29, 2009 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

Speakers will be: Erin Nelson, the Parametrix Project Manager for the Port of Illahee / Department of Ecology Centennial Clean Water grant; and Katrina Knutson, Senior Planner with the Kitsap County Department of Community Development.

The Parametrix report is funded by a grant obtained by the Port of Illahee from the Washington State Department of Ecology and includes basin assessments, an aquifer protection plan, and specific recommendations to correct identified problem areas. The briefing will provide an overview of the assessment findings and then concentrate on the identified recommendations and projects needed to fix the problems. The Parametrix report is related to ongoing water quality testing and stormwater planning supported by Kitsap County Health District and Kitsap County Public Works.

The Illahee Community Plan was recently adopted by the Kitsap County Board of County Commissioners and represents a collaborative effort between Kitsap County and the Illahee Community to develop a plan that meets the needs of both Kitsap County and the Illahee Community. The briefing will cover the revised community boundaries, the new Green Belt Zone, the View Protection Overlay, and a brief discussion of whether the Citizens Advisory Group should continue.

The presentation schedule is as follow:

6:30 pm Illahee Community Plan Briefing

7:00 pm Parametrix Briefing

A question and answer session will follow each presentation.

Questions? If you have any questions, the point of contact is Jim Aho @ 479-1049.

>Almira Construction Projects – 1/22/09


Almira. The north end of Almira between Riddell Road and Fuson Road is only a half mile long road that is usually quiet and short cut for some going north to connect with Wheaton Way or State Highway 303. However, there are two new construction sites along that section of Almira that make the trip a little more exciting these days.

Keller House. The first is utility work and clearing on the west side of Almira for the Keller House project next to and part of the Kitsap Mental Health facility. The land was donated by Kitsap County in 2007. Some of the work was on the east side of the road next to the Illahee Preserve where a curtain drain was installed that takes water coming from the Preserve and directs it to a culvert under Almira where it becomes a small seasonal stream that flows between the new Keller House and the existing mental health facilities. The first two attached photos are of the Keller House project.

Preserve Parking Lot. The second set of photos are of the other construction site that is on the east side of Almira across from the Kitsap Recovery Center. The site is being cleared is for the Preserve parking lot which is scheduled to complete in about 6 weeks (early March 2009).

Jim Aho

>Illahee Preserve Items – 1/21/09


Parking Lot Construction. Construction has begun on the primary parking lot for the Illahee Preserve. The new lot is off of Almira, just south of the intersection with Fuson Road. BLEWS Construction out of Spokane is the construction company. We met with Martha Droge, the lead Parks Planner with the Parks Department, Larry Achibald, the Project Manager, and Cheryl, the Superintendent this morning to discuss the project, which will complete in about 6 weeks, pending on the weather cooperating.

Parking Lot Design. The design of the parking lot has been going on for a number of years. It took about two years for the Stewardship group to settle on a final location and rough design, and another two years of discussions with Park’s planners, and then another two years of getting a final design and money into the Parks Department’s budget. Pat Fuhrer of MAP Ltd in Silverdale is the engineer who took the rough concepts and plans and developed the parking lot drawings, which will sometime in the future include nearby restrooms.

Ecological & Functional Design. The design of the lot features a rain garden where stormwater will be directed at the center of the parking area with any overflow going to a bio-retention stormwater facility. The retention facility will be planted with wetland types of grasses and will hopefully, because of a seasonal relatively high ground water level, provide water for the Preserve wildlife during wet periods. The Stewardship group has talked about providing a fountain or other system in the pond area to provide water for wildlife during dry periods. During high rainfall times the overflow from the bio-retention facility will go into the County’s storm drain system.

New Sign From The Rotary. The East Bremerton Rotarian’s are providing the sign that will placed by the parking lot. The sign is being built by Sign Man Archie out of Silverdale and is reported to be half finished. It will be similar to the other Illahee Preserve signs.

New Trail Photo. Near the end of Thompson Lane is the new trail that was built a couple of weeks ago as can be seen in the attached photo.

Raven Photo. Also attached is a picture of a couple of the Ravens who have been inhabiting the Illahee Preserve. They are seen on the top of the North Perry Reservoir at the top of Riddell Road.

Request To Apologize. We have been asked to apologize for the comments in the email we attached about the car damage received by one of the work party volunteers who parked their car on Thompson Lane and it appeared to be deliberately sideswiped. The email seemed to denigrate the whole group of residents living at the end of Thompson Lane. The Update was passed on to someone who knows most of the residents and they were sure it wasn’t any of their acquaintances. And so we apologize for not properly editing the email.

Responses Appreciated. We appreciate any and all responses, especially corrective ones.

Jim Aho

>Wildlife Photos – 1/19/09


Pictures of Illahee Wildlife. Many of you have told us that you enjoy the wildlife updates and especially the photos of local birds and animals. We would like to get some of the river otters that frequent the area and any other animal or bird that we haven’t sent out photos of. We will pass them on if you send them to us. If you want credit, please note that.

Previously Sent Fox Photo. We had a biologist send in the following comment regarding one of the fox photos we sent out last week: The second picture looked like the fox may have had mange.

Baby Fox Photos. John Lind sent in a couple of baby fox photos he took a few years ago.

Hairy Woodpecker. Last weekend during the Rotarian work party a Hairy Woodpecker was sighted along the new trail that was being built.

Common Mergansers. A frequent sight along the Illahee shoreline areas are groups of Common Mergansers swimming along the shoreline. Mergansers are fish ducks and are avoided by hunters and as one reference book says “the ire of fisherman and hatcherymen.” When they encounter a school of fish the whole group becomes active diving after the fish. The group seen here is a little less than a hundred and are most often seen during high tides. We haven’t seen as many of their cousins this year, the Red-breasted Mergansers.

Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous Items – 1/16/09


Gilberton Creek. There is water flowing in Gilberton Creek from the new culvert to Puget Sound. Most of it appears to be from groundwater flow that is piped to two vertical concrete pipes upstream of the culvert.

Gilberton Creek Bank Washouts. We were surprised to see the washout areas from a moderate rainfall. The first photo is looking toward the culvert inlet and it taken from upstream. The second and third photos are looking back toward the culvert outlet and at the plastic cover that has been placed over the roadway bank washout area.

Gilberton Creek Restoration. A grant has been applied for to restore Gilberton Creek. We are waiting to find out if the Great Peninsula Conservancy (GPC) is successful in obtaining the grant. They were supposed to know by January 2nd, but an email to them this week indicated they had not received any confirmation. We found out about the grant when the GPC put out a position announcement to hire a “Gilberton Creek Community Restoration Project Coordinator.” Applications are to be in by 1/16/09 and are dependent upon the receipt of grant funding.

Illahee Creek. The report from Illahee Creek is little change was noticed from the last snow and rain events. It was noted however that sediment has nearly filled the area excavated by the county in the fall.

Illahee Preserve Parking Lot. Work should begin the next week on the new Preserve parking lot along Almira. We will try to get some photos.

Last Weeks Preserve Work Party. If anyone drove along Riddell Road by the Preserve last Saturday morning they were aware of a large Rotarian Work Party, along with some Illahee residents, working on trails within the preserve. Lots of wood chips were moved in the area along Thompson Lane, and a new trail was established. Some are probably aware that Thompson Lane serves about 14 home sites in the center of the Preserve area. One of the Rotarians stayed late to finish up some work and had his car sideswiped as it was parked along Thompson Lane. We have included his writeup of the event.

I suppose I should let you know about an unfortunate incidence which occurred after our work party at Illahee Forest Preserve last Saturday. I went back down to our trail project to do some additional sculpting and packing of the fill materials along the trail where East Bremerton Rotary and other volunteers had earlier been working. I took my car because it had my tools, plus it was a lot quicker to drive than walk from the Riddell Road parking lot. As I’ve done so many times during dozens and dozens of work sessions in Illahee Forest, I parked my car along the driveway. There was a wide spot in the driveway which allowed my car to be well off the road. From there I joined Lori Raymaker and Jim Aho to walk over to the proposed parking lot area along Almira Drive. When I got back an hour later someone had done a surgical sideswipe of my car. The ground was wet and soft so you could see where someone had swerved way over to hit my car. They targeted the driver’s rear view mirror. Bingo! They just nicked the trim on my side. I think I’ll be able to clean it up. However the mirror is beat up. I’ll need to replace it.

I thought others would want to know.

Dates to Save. Please save the evening of January 29th for a presentation of the final Parametrix report on Illahee Creek issues. We are also planning to have an overview of the approved Illahee Community Plan. On February 14th the Illahee Community Club will meet at the Sylvan Way Library at 1:30 pm. We will provide more information on these meetings later.

Jim Aho

>Fox Photos&Timbers Edge Info – 1/13/09


Mottled or Cross Fox? Some are asking for more information on exactly what a mottled fox is and are wondering if it isn’t a cross between a dog and fox. We did some more research and found the more common name is a Cross Fox. “Cross foxes are a color variant of the Red Fox Vulper Vulpes. Other color variants are the silver fox and black fox. A litter of kits (baby foxes) can have all the variants. The cross fox gets its name from the cross on its back. There is a black stripe that goes from the top of the head to the tail and a second stripe that runs across the shoulders forming a cross.” (from the website CrossFox.Info)

Photos. John Lind was able to get some photos a few years ago, which are attached. About that same time period we noticed a differently colored fox heading north along the beach very early in the morning, like he had strayed too far at night and was hurrying home.

Fox Report. We just received the following report as we were working on this Update.

Jim, last fall we saw two foxes stalking the neighbors cat one evening. One was typical red in color, the other one was charcoal grey/ black in color. I went out to rescue the cat and the black one was about twenty feet away, not wanting to give up on the cat. This was 11 PM, on Canoe Trail NE. Thunderbird Park.

Timbers Edge Legal Documents. We have been providing the closing argument documents of the Timbers Edge appeal and we wanted to provide those prepared by the Timbers Edge lawyer, Ron Templeton. We sent Document #4 out and are having problems sending out Document #5. It is only 8 pages but it was sent out as a very large pdf file of 2.3 megabytes and too large for many on our email list to receive. We will try to send it on to you if you if you desire to see it; simply respond to this email. We are sending out the final document which is Document 6, which we found very informative and provided a nice conclusion to many of the previous documents.

Document #1. Illahee Community Club Closing Brief Regarding Lack of Compliance with County Code (Sent out on 1/10/09) (NOTE: large file to be sent upon request)

Document #2. Illahee Community Club Closing Brief Regarding Lack of Compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) (Attached)

Document #3. Illahee Community Club Closing Brief Attachments (Attached)

Document #4. Timbers Edge Closing Arguments (Attached)

Document #5. Timbers Edge Rebuttal to the Illahee Community Club’s Closing Briefs (NOTE: 2.3MB file to be sent upon request)

Document #6. Illahee Community Club Reply to the Timbers Edge Rebuttal (Attached)

Timbers Edge Legal Fund Status. We will try to get a report of the status of the Timbers Edge legal fund and find out what is planned for the future and include it in a future Update.

Jim Aho

>Wildlife&Timbers Edge Info – 1/11/09


Peacocks in the Preserve? If you are wondering if there were really peacocks in the Illahee Preserve we have two photos that show evidence of the demise of one next to the Preserve parking area on McWilliams Road. On Saturday, while looking at the trail work done by the Rotary and some Illahee residents, we could hear a peacock’s call in the Preserve. Evidently, someone on the south side of McWillams Road raises peacocks, according to a recipient of our Updates.

Mottled Fox Sighted. There have been mottled foxes along the shoreline area of Illahee for years. They are noctural animals and not often seen. When they are seen they can easily be mistaken for a dog because of their mottled coloring. We had to go to some detailed fox books a few years ago to verify that there really are mottled foxes and that was what we had in that area of Illahee. We have seen red foxes in the Brownsville area, and red foxes have been seen in the area around Illahee State Park and the Preserve. So far it is just the one area where the mottled foxes have been seen.

Photos? We have heard of one person who has photographed some of the mottled foxes and hope to get ahold of them and get some pictures to share.

Timbers Edge Legal Documents. We have been providing the closing argument documents of the Timbers Edge appeal and now it is time to provide those prepared by the Timbers Edge lawyer, Ron Templeton. There will be two documents which will be Document #4 and Document #5.

Document #1. Illahee Community Club Closing Brief Regarding Lack of Compliance with County Code (Sent out on 1/10/09) (NOTE: FILE IS TOO BIG TO UPLOAD)

Document #2. Illahee Community Club Closing Brief Regarding Lack of Compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) (Attached)

Document #3. Illahee Community Club Closing Brief Attachments (Attached)

Document #4. Timbers Edge Closing Arguments (Attached)

Document #5. Timbers Edge Rebuttal to the Illahee Community Club’s Closing Briefs

Document #6. Illahee Community Club Reply to the Timbers Edge Rebuttal

Lots of Information. We understand this is a lot of information to comprehend. There are many people who will be affected by the Timbers Edge development and so we want to provide them the necessary information. Newspapers do not the the space to cover extensive projects like this so this is likely the only place this information will be available, except for the files at the county.

Jim Aho

>More Questions&Timbers Edge Info – 1/11/09


More Questions. There are questions regarding the Illahee Creek culvert and the new Gilberton Creek culvert.

Illahee Creek Questions. What is happening with Illahee Creek? Did the County’s excavation of all the sediment in the culvert work? Were there any problems with the December storms? We heard the culvert is filling back up with sediment – is that true?

Gilberton Creek Questions. We heard there is a grant being applied for to restore Gilberton Creek? Are you going to post any pictures of the small bank washouts upstream and downstream of the new culvert? Is the Great Peninsula Conservancy trying to buy Gilberton Creek adjoining properties? We heard that the southern portion of the Gilberton Creek watershed and the culvert is within the Illahee Community boundary, but not the lower portion of the stream? Who is the point of contact for Gilberton Creek questions?

Timbers Edge Legal Document List Update. It turns out we did not list all the legal documents in our previous Update. We left off the “attachments” to the Illahee Community Club closing arguments (now Document #3) and failed to note the Timbers Edge closing arguments (now Document #4). We think the following list of documents is now correct. (NOTE: SOME OF THESE DOCUMENTS ARE TOO LARGE TO BE UPLOADED AT THIS TIME)

Document #1. Illahee Community Club Closing Brief Regarding Lack of Compliance with County Code (Sent out on 1/10/09)

Document #2. Illahee Community Club Closing Brief Regarding Lack of Compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) (Attached)

Document #3. Illahee Community Club Closing Brief Attachments (Attached)

Document #4. Timbers Edge Closing Arguments

Document #5. Timbers Edge Rebuttal to the Illahee Community Club’s Closing Briefs

Document #6. Illahee Community Club Reply to the Timbers Edge Rebuttal

State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Appeals. We don’t know much about these appeals except they seem to be subjectively decided. The issue seems to be what is a “significant” impact. The developers deny their project will have a significant impact and are good at finding engineers who agree with them. After all, it is a matter of someones interpretation of “significant.”

County Generally Sides With Developers. The county normally tries to work out the best deal they can for the environment, to a point. However, when the developer’s engineers come in with documents that say there will be no significant impact of a project they need to generally agree since these documents are signed by registered Professional Engineers. That is unless there is conflicting information.

Community Involvement Needed. That is where communities need to be vigilant because there are developers, engineers, and expert witnesses out there who will provide answers not necessarily for the benefit of the community or the environment.

Illahee Involvement Example. An example of how the Illahee community first became involved with Timbers Edge project was when large concrete detention vaults were being proposed to be installed on the steep slopes of Illahee Creek. Briefly, the developer’s geotech firm said it wasn’t a problem, so the community hired a geotech firm to do an independent study and they concluded there were problems. That situation then required a third party independent study that agreed there were problems. If the community had not gotten involved they would likely be living with the detention vaults, along with all the county taxpayers would have inherited paying for any future problems.

Another County Reason to Side With Developers. Another reason the county sides with developers is if they deny a project and the developer challenges it in court and is successful, the county ends up paying all the court costs along with damages. So with those possible financial liability concerns, county officials are likely advised to side with the developers and very rarely do they find “significant” impacts that would warrant an environmental impact statement or EIS.

Another Problem for Communities. Another problem communities have is they do not have equal status once the county has made a determination there is no significant environmental impact or that the impact can be mitigated to not be a significant impact. The county environmental officer’s decision is weighted or given extra authority over that of the community. The only possible way to prevail is for the community’s expert witnesses to be so good or compelling that Hearing Examiner is somehow swayed to rule against the county officer. It then becomes a situation of the Hearing Examiner’s ability to understand the issues and rule appropriately. In Kitsap County they have rarely, if at all, over-ruled the environmental officer’s decision.

Why The SEPA Appeal Then? That is a good question for the Illahee Community Club. We have heard they felt they had no choice. They have told us that they feel the possibility of losing Illahee Creek as a salmon stream was a significant environmental impact that the Hearing Examiner could not ignore.

SEPA Arguments. That was a long introduction from our non-legal background and possibly uninformed perspective of the SEPA issues. The particulars of the Timbers Edge SEPA appeal are in the attached document. The attachments to the SEPA appeal are in the second attached document.

Comments Appreciated. We have given you our best understanding and appreciate any alternative interpretations and comments.

Jim Aho