>Corrected Link To Mediation Article – 6/30/09


Wrong Link to Mediation Article.  We provided the wrong link to the Kitsap Sun article regarding mediation.  Our website person quickly caught the mistake.  We are sorry for the error.  The corrected link is provided below:
Illahee Mentioned in Mediation Article.  The Kitsap County Commissioner’s have added a mediation step to their land use process and said it was because of the Illahee Community’s outfall fight (which was to keep the 42″ diameter stormwater pipe from being installed under the Illahee Community Dock).  While the community came to an agreement with the developer, the primary problem was with Kitsap County for allowing the outfall in the first place.  We hope the mediation process also includes the Kitsap County employees, who in spite of being paid by the citizens, do not always act in their best interests of local communities.  The corrected link to the article is:    http://kitsapsun.com/news/2009/jun/24/kitsap-commissioners-ok-new-land-use-mediation/

>Miscellaneous Items – 6/30/09


Aquifer Meeting Tonight (6/30). This is a reminder of the Aquifer meeting tonight (6/30) a 6:30 pm at the Norm Dicks Center.

Questions Already. We have some residents who have to work evenings or have other meetings and cannot attend the aquifer meeting. We took some their questions early which include these:
  1. We have a development that wants to put in high density homes with sewers along the Illahee Creek corridor. The adjoining residents would like to see lower density homes with septics. Should we be concerned about nitrates from the septics getting into the aquifers?
  2. Over the years there have been conflicting reports of where our ground water is coming from. Some of us remember hearing it was coming from the Olympic Mountains. Now it is said to come locally as our rain water infiltrates down through the soil and into the aquifers. Does anyone really know where our water comes from? And, how can we be sure the latest information is correct?
  3. If groundwater and aquifers are so important, how come we haven’t heard much about them from our government officials? Who is in charge of managing the groundwater and aquifers?
  4. I’m concerned about the low flows in Illahee Creek. Who is supposed to be watching out for our streams? The state, the county, the federal government? Does anyone really care? The only group we ever hear about caring is the tribes because of salmon. Should we be talking with them?
  5. Do things like rain gardens and infiltration pits actually work? And what happens when we get a major downpour like what happened on December 3rd of 2007 and the rain gardens and infiltration pits can’t absorb all the water?
  6. If the stormwater contaminates that are polluting Puget Sound are infiltrated into the ground, won’t they eventually pollute our groundwater?
  7. I live some distance away from Illahee Creek, about a mile, and want to know if my infiltrating of my roof rain water will help?
  8. What about people who have zinc strips on their roofs, or copper impregnated shingles, to keep the moss off? Won’t those metals harm the groundwater? And, what about pesticides and other lawn chemicals?
Canada Geese Eating Up the Blueberries. While we like our wildlife we have reports the Canada geese have developed a taste for green and ripening blueberries. They have already devoured the berries on some of the small bushes and are working on the big bushes. Time to put the nets up.

Another Deer Solution. Thank you to all who provided your remedies to keep deer out of garden areas. Here is the latest:
Just thought I’d throw my two cents in on the subject of critters in the garden …. so here’s a couple more suggestions ….not only does human hair work, but dog hair works great too, put it in old nylons and hang it around your garden area, chicken house,etc….. and it will keep those critters at bay, I have a friend who lives on a farm in Hungary and this is how she keeps the foxes out of her hen house….and deer out of her garden.

Fly solutions, For those of you who have trouble with those little flies that come in when you leave your door open and just circle around in the air this is an “old wives tale” that works….put water in a plastic baggie and hang it above your doorway or let it hang on little rope and you will never have one of those pesky little flies in you house….
Community Garden Tour Response. Just a few responders to the idea of having an Illahee gardens tour. We will see what that group wants to do and report back. Let us know if you would like to be part of the group.

New Format. We were asked to eliminate the underlining in our Updates as it makes it more difficult to transfer them to the illaheecommunity.com web page.

Eagle Attacking Ornamental Chicken Article. When we posted the “eagle attacking ornamental chicken” item in a previous update, we didn’t have a picture of the chicken. The next day the Kitsap Sun did a front page report, complete with a picture. The chicken looked very real so we now understand how this happened. Click on the following for the picture and article. http://kitsapsun.com/news/2009/jun/23/eagle-eyed-misguided-bird-leaves-illahee-empty/

Illahee Mentioned in Mediation Article. The Kitsap County Commissioner’s have added a mediation step to their land use process and said it was because of the Illahee Community’s outfall fight (which was to keep the 42″ diameter stormwater pipe from being installed under the Illahee Community Dock). While the community came to an agreement with the developer, the primary problem was with Kitsap County for allowing the outfall in the first place. We hope the mediation process also includes the Kitsap County employees, who in spite of being paid by the citizens, do not always act in their best interests of local communities. The link to the article is: http://kitsapsun.com/news/2009/jun/24/kitsap-commissioners-ok-new-land-use-mediation/

Illahee Referenced in Rob Woutat Article. There was a recent article by Rob Woutat in the Kitsap Sun where he mentioned what it was like living in the Illahee community. Unfortunately, the Kitsap Sun has not made that article available on its website. When it shows up, we will provide a link to it.

Jim Aho

>Why Attend Tuesday’s Meeting? – 6/28/09


Interest in Tuesday’s Meeting. There have been questions about, and interest shown, concerning Tuesday’s meeting at the Norm Dick’s Center (a presentation by hydrologist Dr. Joel Massmann beginning at 6:30 pm on 6/30/09). Some very busy people wanted more information and have asked us some blunt questions about attending.
Why should I attend Tuesday’s meeting? We were asked the following question “Can you give me a good reason why I should take the time to attend Tuesday’s aquifer meeting?” When we started to respond with a detailed explanation we were asked for the short version. Our responses are therefore a short version and a longer more detailed version.
THE SHORT VERSION. The aquifers that supply our drinking water and the water to Illahee Creek may be over allocated. According to the numbers, If everyone used their water right allocations our aquifer levels and the low flow in Illahee Creek would steadily decrease. We need to understand what is happening and what we can do to help make sure critical water resources are sustained into the future.

THE LONG VERSION. Rainfall A Problem? Water is a key ingredient to life and in Illahee all our water comes from aquifers that are recharged by local rains. At one time experts thought our water came from the Olympic Mountain area and only relatively recently discovered that it is the infiltration of our own rainfall into our aquifers that supplies our drinking water. When we thought there was an over abundance of water, we and the county treated our rainwater (stormwater) as a problem rather than a resource. The state and county developed regulations to dump our rainwater (stormwater) from our roofs, driveways and roads through drains and pipes into nearby creeks and into Puget Sound, with little thought of infiltrating it back into the ground.

Aquifer Issues Not Getting Attention. While things are beginning to change with a new emphasis on controlling stormwater and Low Impact Development (LID) applications (primarily because the stormwater is polluting Puget Sound), the importance of infiltration to replenish our aquifers hasn’t gotten the commensurate attention by the public or the press.

Illahee Studies Conducted. What got the attention of many Illahee folks on this subject, was a concern of the low flows (or baseflows) in Illahee Creek, along with high flows (storm surges), both of which are damaging to fish in the stream. Years ago the Port of Illahee was concerned enough to begin discussions with Kitsap County on how to control the surges that sent brown silt laden sediment flows for miles into Puget Sound, which led to the Port applying for grants to study the problem. When a new development planned to install large concrete detention vaults on the steep and unstable slopes of Illahee Creek, the Port and the Community hired experts to study the impacts to the creek (which eventually resulted in a change to some of their plans).

Aquifer Importance Identified. Those studies documented that Illahee Creek was entirely fed by shallow aquifers during non-precipitation periods and concluded that high density development in the area will decrease the baseflows in Illahee Creek. We learned the area is designated as a critical aquifer recharge area by Kitsap County. The studies were also instrumental in the area being down-zoned in 2006.

Why Attend – Replenishment Rate Unsustainable? So why attend? According to the Illahee Creek Aquifer Protection Plan (part of the recent Parametrix “Illahee Creek Watershed Surface Water Management Plan”) as we read it, the water rights exceed the replenishment rate for the Manette Peninsula and within the Illahee Creek watershed. In other words, if each holder of water rights fully utilized those rights, the aquifers and creek levels could not be sustained.

Why Attend – Illahee Creek Aquifer Not Being Replenished? Secondly, those residents watching and monitoring Illahee Creek are alarmed at the current low flows and wonder if there are areas around the creek where the aquifer is not being replenished. They are concerned that this lack of replenishment could spell the end of Illahee Creek as a fish bearing stream. In this day and age we should not be destroying a stream’s ability to support fish.

Why Attend – To Understand and Act? Finally, we need to understand what is happening with our drinking water and stream flows, and what we can do to help make sure our critical water resources are sustainable.

Answers on Tuesday. Dr. Massmann should be able to explain our situation and give us some answers.
Other Responses Later. We have received other responses regarding this meeting and will publish them later.
Jim Aho

>Important Aquifer Meeting&Rain Garden Report – 6/24/09


Important Illahee/Aquifer Meeting on Tuesday, June 30th.  Hydrologist and ground water consultant, Dr. Joel Massmann, will be presenting a briefing on GROUNDWATER, AQUIFERS & INFILTRATION REQUIREMENTS – A Briefing of the Manette Peninsula Aquifer and the Illahee Watershed aquifer Protection Plan from 6:30 – 8 pm at the Norm Dicks Center on Tuesday, June 30, 2009.
Who is Dr. Massmann?  When the Illahee Community was concerned about the low flow in Illahee Creek a number of years ago they went looking for the best independent hydrologist they could find and hired Dr. Massmann to conduct that study.  He is a groundwater consultant with over 25 years experience. He is the founder of Keta Waters and was previously a faculty member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington.
Also Part of the DOE Grant Team Studying the Illahee Watershed.  Dr. Massmann was also a member of team Parametrix assembled to develop the Illahee Creek Watershed Surface Water Management Plan for the Port of Illahee and as part of a Department of Ecology grant.  Dr. Massmann wrote the Aquifer Protection Plan for the final report which he will likely be including as part of his presentation.
Presentation Items.   Dr. Massmann will discuss the underlying aquifers and groundwater recharge on the Manette Peninsula and within the Illahee Creek watershed.  The presentation will address questions regarding how much fresh water is in these aquifers, where does this fresh water come from,  and where does it go.  These questions will be described in the context of relationships between groundwater for municipal supply and groundwater to support stream flow and wetlands. 
Questions & Answer Session.  There will be an opportunity to ask questions of Dr. Massmann.  Additionally, Dave Tucker, from the Kitsap County Publlic Works Department is planning on attending and will also be available to answer questions.
Why Attend?  The Manette Peninsula aquifer is the primary source of the stream flows in Illahee Creek. Illahee Creek is fed entirely by the aquifer when there is no rain and already has low baseflows during these non-rainy periods.  It is those low baseflows that jeopardize the ability of the stream to support salmon, not to mention that the creek is also affected by the stormwater surges that produce the storm surges that tend to flush out the salmon.  Some feel the stream is already approaching marginal baseflows and it will be unable to withstand the added pressures of developments like Timbers Edge.  That is why the Illahee Community Club has appealed the Hearing Examiner’s decision to approve the Timbers Edge development.  This is an opportunity to get some answers from a recognized expert who is familiar with the aquifers and the Illahee Watershed area.
Infiltration Needed.  One of the messages we think we will hear from Dr. Massmann is the need to infiltrate the rains we receive, rather than trying to pipe the water to Illahee Creek or Puget Sound.  We have heard that infiltration should be as close as possible to surfaces like roofs, driveways, and roadways, and thus the emphasis on bioretention features like raingardens, bioswales, infiltration pits, pervious surfaces, and the like.
Rain Garden Class.  We had an Illahee resident who attended a Sea Grant and Kitsap County rain garden class this past Saturday and thought this might be a good class of the Illahee community, since our soils are generally very permeable (note that there were a number a gravel pits in the area in the recent past) and we need to replenish the aquifer that supplies Illahee Creek.  We will provide more information on this in a following update.
Questions?  The meeting is on Tuesday at the Norm Dicks Center on 6th Street in downtown Bremerton.  Evening parking is readily available.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 479-1049,
Jim Aho

>Wildlife Items – 6/23/09


Eagle Goes After Ornamental Chicken.  There are several farms in Illahee and this one is unique in many ways, including how they have learned to live with the wildlife. 
…………..we’ve been having some Eagle problems.  However they were here before us so they might have been E-mailing (that’s Eagle-mail) to each other about humans getting in the way of their way of life over the years!  They probably also E-mail that Honeyhill Farm is easy pickins.

We are fairly certain that an eagle got our male Guinea rooster in the pasture 3 days ago………..only tons of feathers left, and coyotes can’t get into the pasture because of the hot fence we have around the bottom of the fencing.

The day after that I heard some banging noises on the front porch………and ran to look.  There was an eagle trying to steal a fake rooster that I use for decoration.  It is a realistic, life size plastic/fake with chicken feathers glued all over it.  There were several crows dive bombing the eagle.  I chased it off and put the fake rooster back on her “perch.”  Now they’ll probably E-mail that some of Honeyhill’s chickens are really tough!!

At this point I’m worried about our mini dachshund and my cats.  We still have 4 chickens left but I’m sure they are plenty tender.   I guess that’s the price we pay for living in their territory.

Illahee Eagle With Fish.  We were talking with an Illahee waterfront resident who said she snapped of photo just after an eagle had gotten a fish from the bay.  She gave us permission to send out her photo, which is attached.
Sunflower Sea Star.  Sea stars, or star fish, can come in many different species and colors.  We found a number of small sunflower sea stars at Schutt’s Point on Monday including the bright orange one in the photo.  Some interesting facts about sunflower sea stars: it is the largest and fastest sea star in Puget Sound, it can grow to 3 feet in diameter and can mover over 3 feet per minute.  It eats nearly everything, including clams, crabs, snails, sea cucumbers, urchins, and other sea stars.  They have an interesting water-vascular system, or hydraulic system, that allows them to move by moving water in and out of small tube feet in each of their arms.
Low Tides & Clam Digging Success.  We also came across a father and son digging for geoducks and they had mistakenly dug a horse clam.  We asked if we could lay the horse clam next to a goeduck so we could take a picture to show the difference between the two big clams.  The horse clam is on the left and the geoduck is on the right.

Midshipman Fish.  Last year we gave a report on midshipman fish and decided to check under a rock to see if there would be a midshipman fish and some eggs.  We found two fish under the rock along with some eggs.  The male midshipman fish digs out the hole under the rock and then emits a croaking noise to entice female fish to come in and lay her eggs, which are deposited on the underside of the rock.  Sometimes there will be many eggs of different colors under a rock, indicating the male has been successful in attracting several females.  The second photo gives a better picture of what these fish look like.  They are nocturnal so they aren’t likely to be caught by those fishing during the day.
Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous Items – 6/19/09


Aquifer Briefing Scheduled.  We just saw a draft of a press release be prepared for a briefing at the Norm Dicks Center on June 30th from 6:30-8 pm.  The tentative title of the briefing is:
A Briefing of the Manette Peninsula Aquifer and the Illahee Watershed Aquifer Protection Plan by Dr. Joel Massmann
Rain Gardens.  We think the briefing will talk about the importance of infiltrating our groundwater back into the aquifers by things like rain gardens.  The county has been holding rain garden seminars this month at various nurseries and we hope to get a report from someone who is supposed to attend one on Saturday afternoon at the Clear Creek Nursery.
Illahee Preserve Rain Garden.  We attended the Illahee Preserve Stewardship meeting on Tuesday where they discussed the rain garden at the center of the new parking lot.  A summary of what they are planning on doing is noted below.
We missed our window of opportunity for getting the rain garden installed, which is turning out to be okay with our current dry spell.  We are looking at using the fall for our planting time and want to have it be an education event for the community.  We want to involve Parks and Public Works, along with Sea Grant as they are all involved in promoting water quality through items like rain gardens.  We have talked generally with all them regarding water quality issues in Illahee and will be talking with them specifically regarding this educational opportunity. 
Blue House Numbers.  Many have noticed the blue house numbers that are appearing more frequently in the county.  We had the following email sent in that provides more information:
I found a great service CK Fire District is offering to homeowners.  They will furnish blue background with white numbers address signs.  (Might have seen them along Illahee Rd.)

All you need to do is Call the Fire District (447-3561)   There is no fee and all you need to do is pick them up at the CK Fire District office.

These are quite reflective and would help emergency vehicles find your home if necessary. 

Deer and Slug Suggestions.  Thank you for all who sent in slug suggestions.  Here are some of the responses:
I apologize in advance if you have already received a plethora of gardening advice, but I have had luck against deer in the garden and received some advice regarding slugs.
For the deer, I have heard they really don’t like the smell of human hair. We had an abundance of deer footprints in our garden beds, and that night I went out and sprinkled hair cuttings I had saved from my kid’s at-home hair cuts all around the perimeters of the beds. If you need some hair, I can save some for you.:) No problems since.
For cutting worms and slugs, my mom has tried a mixture of crushed egg shells and fireplace ash. We’ve had problems with the green beans and lettuce being eaten, so we might try this one as well. No reports on the success of this method yet.
Another way to get rid of varmints like raccoons and otters (I might have passed this back already, my apologies if a repeat) is to sprinkle urine around on a regular basis. This is a marking thing recognized by most mammals. Yeah I know it’s gross, but it’s also cheap and readily available. There are commercial repellents out there which are nothing more than lion urine. Has to be a carnivore and it doesn’t take much. (Humans count as carnivores) for best results do twice a week. Don’t laugh, Mowat Farley found it kept the wolves out of his campsite when he was doing his famous study over 30 years ago, in the Canadian tundra. Just walking a male dog around the property will do the trick too.
Slugs: best repellent I’ve found is fireplace ash, again spread very thin and loose in a perimeter around the area you wish to be left alone. They don’t like ash on their soft bellies. Also cheap and easy to get. Do two or three times a week. Our squash is surviving this year due to my diligence in spreading ash!
Daytime Deer.  A number of residents have noticed deer roaming their neighborhoods during the daylight hours.  We had to stop this week for two deer on Illahee Road in the afternoon who didn’t seem to want to leave the roadway.
Carpenter Ants in the House!  We had someone ask if anyone had recommendations about what to do when carpenter ants show up in your house.  We explained they probably need an exterminator and they asked if we could see if anyone has any recommendations.  Let us know and we will pass the information on.
Helicopter To Aid in Car Removal?  Inside the Illahee Preserve is an old rusted out late 50’s Chevy.  The car is along side a trail the Rotarian’s have worked on and they have been trying to figure out how to get it out.  We heard they are looking at a helicopter removal and are currently waiting for an okay from Kitsap County Park’s personnel.  We also heard the Kitsap Sun and a Seattle TV station are interested in covering the event, it it gets the okay from Parks.
Status of Timbers Edge Counter Proposal.  We asked the status of the Timbers Edge Counter Proposal and received the following statement.
We have been asked to provide the status of community discussions regarding a possible counter proposal to the current Timbers Edge project.  The Illahee Community met on May 18, 2009 to determine if community consensus could be reached on a proposal.  After a varied and concerned exchange, it was decided was a special task group would take the discussions of the evening and work on a proposal to present at another community meeting.  The goal is to come up with a proposal most everyone in the community can support, along with the board members of the ICC.  The special task group has been corresponding via email and because of vacations is still working on a proposal.
Thank You!!  Thank you to all who passed on information or asked for updated information. 
Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous Items – 6/10/09


Update Frequency.  The slower frequency of updates has brought some questions.  We have been trying to do some extra projects and gardening including trying to keep the deer at bay with fencing only to have trouble with slugs and cutworms eating our new starts.  We feel like parents trying to protect their young ones until they are old enough to be on their own.
Garden Tours?  We have had a number of people mention that it would be nice to have a tour of some of the Illahee area gardens.  They noticed the advertisements for the Bremerton Urban Garden Society (BUGS) edible gardening tour a couple of weeks ago and thought it would be good to try something of the sort for Illahee.  Let us know your thoughts on this and if there is enough interest we will try to get the interested parties together.  If you know of some interesting Illahee area gardens (flowers and or vegetable), let us know, and we will pass that on also.  .
Canada Goose Gathering.  Recently there was an early morning gathering of Canada geese along the beach that numbered 32.  There were 4 goose families, one with four fairly good sized goslings, and the others smaller in size and numbering 5, 4, and 1 goslings.  There were four mated pairs that had no offspring, and two that were without mates.  We were able to get a picture of three of the families, which is attached at the end of the email.
Other Wildlife.  The river otters have been active as have the ravens and the bald eagles. 
Illahee Preserve.  We went for a walk in the Illahee Preserve on Wednesday evening and were greeted with newly laid wood chip trails, courtesy of the East Bremerton Rotary.  They evidently had a bunch of chips that were delivered to the new parking lot today (Wednesday) and decided to put them on some of the new trails they had blazed from the new parking lot.  We were amazed at the amount of chips they put down in one evening.  We have also impressed by the number of people using the Preserve. 
Thanks to the Preserve Volunteers!  Thanks to the Rotarian’s, the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Group, and the Illahee Forest Preserve (the non-profit support group for the Preserve) for all their trail work and support of this forest treasure.
Jim Aho