>Orca Video&After Storm Issues – 12/15/10

>Orca Sightings in Illahee.  About 9 am today (12/15/10) we received a call that some orcas were going north through Illahee.  By the time we looked out they had disappeared.  Then later in the day we were notified there were several out front.  We grabbed a camera and got some video as they passed by.  It wasn’t until we looked at the video tonight that we realized there were two adults and a young one.

Kitsap Sun Report.  In Thursday’s Kitsap Sun will be an article about others who saw them and where they have been.   Click on the following link to read the article:   http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/dec/15/transient-killer-whales-seen-in-kitsap-waters/

Seal Seen Hugging the Beach.  We also had a report that as they went by a seal was seen close in by the beach, evidently trying to stay away from danger.

Video on YouTube.  With some help from one of our children, we were able to upload the video of the orcas on YouTube.  The link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rduYVcEyS1w
After Storm Pictures.  With a borrowed camera we were able to take some pictures of the effect of the storm on the Illahee Creek culvert and the tons of sediment deposited near the mouth of the creek.  

Notification of Emergency Illahee Creek Dredging.  It also appears the county will be dredging material from the downstream end of the culvert.  See the attached email from WDFW.  We have also attached the signed HPA (Hydraulic Project Approval) form.

I just wanted to give you a heads up that an emergency request was made by Kitsap County to remove sediment at the downstream end of the culvert. They will likely be mobilizing in the next few days. The HPA is attached for your information.
Gina Piazza
Area Habitat Biologist
Washington Dept. Fish and Wildlife
450 Port Orchard Blvd, Suite 290
Port Orchard, WA  98366
Phone: 360 895 3965
Fax: 360 876 1894

Response to the Dredging.  We received the following response to the dredging from Judith Krigsman, who gave us permission to print her concerns.
I find the current plan to clean out the culvert located at 5140 Illahee Road most concerning.  As the property owner at the inlet side of this culvert I can’t imagine how this is going to help the current situation.  It appears that the problem existing on my side of the culvert at 5171 Illahee Road is the side that needs fixing.  As I watch the floodplain rise on my property and see the amount of sediment that is all but totally filling this newer culvert, the ticking time bomb will still exist for road washout even if an emergency cleanout is activated.  The actions by others including the work done by the current owner of this property is creating havoc on the flow of this amount of velocity of water and sediment during these storm events.  The kink which has been taken out of the stream which served a purpose of slowing down the water during these events is now being allowed to wash out the entire point.  Just look where all the sediment is now resting on the property adjacent to the site of the proposed cleanout.  I do believe a meeting should be held immediately to talk through some of these issues before another cleanout takes place.  Illahee Creek is a dynamic water system; this practice of emergency clean-outs is not the fix which needs to take place, let’s talk!

Our Thoughts.  After seeing the amount of sediment that has been deposited at the mouth of the creek by this last storm, literally tons, there is no way that removing a few dump truck loads of sediment will do much of anything.  It is a nice gesture, but it isn’t getting to the sources of the problem, which are the storm surges coming primarily from the area north of the golf course.  

Not a New Problem.  The culvert issue has been known by the county for some time, but they needed a watershed study before they could do anything.  The Port of Illahee put in for a grant with DOE and together they paid for a comprehensive watershed study that was completed by Parametrix.  The fixes come with a multi-million dollar price tag, which emphasized the need for the county to obtain the golf course, as it is the logical place to try and restrain the problematic storm water surges.  The community is crossing their fingers that the golf course gifting paperwork will complete soon so that stormwater restraining projects can begin.

Raised Flood Plain.  What is interesting about the Illahee culvert situation is we are essentially dealing with a flood plain that steadily increasing in elevation with each storm.  A Timbers Edge report stated the elevation downstream of the culvert increased 18 inches from the December 2007 storm.  Upstream of the culvert, the reservoir that Dr. Schutt put in years ago, has filled with sediment.  With the flood plain rising on both sides of Illahee Road, and short of digging out the whole flood plain, the only solution many see is raising the height of the culvert. 

Your Thoughts On This Issue?  Please let us know your thoughts on the stormwater/culvert issues as a possible failure of the culvert would affect everyone who travels this portion of Illahee Road.

Jim Aho