Illahee Community Update 7-30-11 Red Tide, Robbery, Preserve Camping,&Port Acquisition

Red Tide Warning.  We realize many are unaware of the red tide warning that extends from Kingston to Rich Passage, which means shellfish harvesting is closed in the Illahee area due to the possibility of paralytic shellfish poisoning.  Warning signs are up at the docks and we took this picture at the Illahee community dock.  We have linked the article that appeared in the Kitsap Sun:

Red Colored Water along the Shoreline.  We often receive photos and input from residents, and a few weeks ago there were concerns over what appeared to be a reddish color in the water along some Illahee beaches.  See the attached photos showing the discoloration.  We don’t know if this has anything to do with the recently announced red tide.
Illahee Robbery and $500 Reward.  We happened to notice a paper posted on the bulletin board at the Illahee dock this morning telling of a robbery that took place on Thursday.  The notice is all we know about it at this point.
Preserve Camping.  While working with a boy scout on his Eagle Scout project we came across a very wet campsite earlier this week.  It appears they didn’t want to carry all their belongings and used a Safeway grocery cart to haul their belongings into the Preserve.  Thankfully we see less and less of this type of activity as the Preserve is used by more and more people.  Let us know if you see this anything like this in the Preserve so we can have it removed.
Port Acquisition.  And now for some good news.  We received the following notification by email on July 28th that the Port of Illahee has acquired the Deitch property next to the Illahee community dock:
It is with great pleasure that the Port announces we have signed papers to close today on the purchase of the Deitch property next to the Dock.  With this acquisition, the Port can now begin to plan the future expansion of the Port and appropriate honoring of Don Deitch who had been a long time active Port Commissioner and positive influence in the Illahee community.  We want to thank the Deitch family for their cooperation and efforts in making this possible.  Please join us for “Illahee day” on Aug 20th, to celebrate this acquisition and help in the “Beautification of Illahee” by spending the morning cleaning up around the Dock and community.  Food and refreshments will be provided.  Watch for more information and work sign ups.
Thanks to the Port Commissioners!!!   There are many in the Illahee community who have hoped that this acquisition was possible, and some who approached us to let them know if they could help, even financially if needed.  We don’t know what the next steps are, but the most important one has been made, the purchase.  We have a couple photos of the property, one from the parking area, and the other from the community dock.
Jim Aho

Illahee Community Update 7-25-11 Brush Picking Articles, Garden Tour, Fishing

Last Tuesday’s Stewardship Meeting Decision.  At last Tuesday’s meeting of the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee the group decided it did not want any brush picking going on in the Preserve.  Illegal brush picking had been stopped in one area of the Preserve and it was felt it could be stopped in the active use areas this next season.  If not the subject could be revisited.

Results on the Front Page on Wednesday.  And so when the Kitsap Sun carried the news as the lead article the next morning on the front page, many were surprised at how well the article covered the story and especially how timely it was since the decision wasn’t made until 8 pm that evening.  It is hard to keep up with the Kitsap Sun reporters when it comes to covering Illahee news.  The link to the article is:
And Covered Again on Sunday.  The lead editorial on the Opinion page on Sunday again covered the Illahee brush picking topic along with a Frank Shier’s cartoon, that we probably can’t include due to copy rights laws.  We copied the article since some of you have said you don’t like to click on the links:
Kitsap County officials made a good call in allowing volunteer stewardship groups to decide if commercial brush picking should be allowed in the county park lands they work to maintain and protect.That’s particularly true in the Illahee Preserve, where for years volunteers have fought a continual battle with illegal brush pickers, among others. The sprawling, 380-acre park is located between Riddell and McWilliams roads, near residential and commercial areas with high population densities. Due largely to that easy access, the site has a history of use for large-scale trash dumping, encampments by homeless people and illegal brush picking.It’s been a long, hard campaign for Illahee Preserve volunteers and supporters — first by gaining legal protections for the property, and then by cleaning up and restoring the forestlands, building trails and trying to ensure that misuse of the preserve doesn’t continue.Because of that, members of the stewardship committee were concerned — putting it mildly — when they received notice from the county that officials were allowing commercial brush picking in the Illahee Preserve. Kitsap County has a long-standing contract with Raymond Evergreens to pick salal, huckleberry and other greenery from county park lands, and when the contract was updated earlier this year, the Preserve was added to the list.A clear distinction must be made between the low-impact, environmentally friendly picking done by Raymond’s trained crews, as opposed to illegal brush pickers who can do real harm to forestlands.As Illahee steward Jim Aho said, referring to Raymond’s workers, “They do it right, which is good because we’ve never seen anybody do it right in Illahee.”There’s also the fact that in areas opened up to licensed commercial brush picking, illegal brush picking greatly diminishes or disappears entirely.Regardless, the stewardship committee voted against allowing commercial brush picking in the Preserve.That decision is acceptable to county officials, who say they won’t force commercial brush picking on county lands where a dedicated stewardship group opposes it.We applaud the county for its sensitive and responsible handling of this issue, and for the double layer of environmental care that comes with it. That is, to be authorized to pick brush commercial, a firm must not only satisfy the county’s requirements, but also those of the volunteer stewards who put their hands and hearts into maintaining the public forestlands we cherish.
Garden Tours.  We have been asked about whether there would be any Illahee garden tours this summer.  Some of those who were considering were hesitant at the time because the deer were eating most everything.  
August 20th Date?  We did find two who were still interested and were wondering if the afternoon on Saturday August 20th might be a good date, since Illahee Day was being planned for the morning with a lunch at the Port facilities.  We will be checking with the other gardeners who had expressed that they might be willing, again assuming the deer have left their gardens alone.
Charter Boat Fishing in Illahee.  Last week we noticed a charter boat fishing the area between Illahee State Park and the Illahee community Dock.  We aren’t sure if they caught anything, but it is encouraging to see them fishing the area.
Crab Fishing at the Docks?  We heard the crab fishing has been good at the two Illahee docks and would like to have someone report along with some photos.
Website Status Report.  We heard the website is still down.  We have been offered a server to host the Illaheecommunity website but evidently the operating system on the server is not compatible with the new website software, and they are now looking for work-arounds.   We will keep you posted on the progress and we should also note there are residents who have volunteered to help with website hosting costs if funding is needed.
Your Concerns?  Let us know your concerns since we need prodding at times.  It was an email asking about the garden tours that go that one on track again.
Jim Aho

Monday Meeting to Hear Brush Picking Proposal.  We received notice last week that brush picking was being proposed for the Illahee Preserve (as a funding source for the Parks Dept) and late last week we heard that Scott Raymond of Raymond Evergreen was going to be available to discuss the subject with the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee and other interested parties.  

Sensitive Subject.  We remember from responses this past year that this is a very sensitive subject to Illahee residents.  When we put out an update about brush picking in the Preserve we received over 30 responses almost immediately.  That was the biggest response in recent years.  If you are interested and/or concerned you are welcome to attend.
Meeting Time & Place.  The meeting is Monday (7/18/11) at 6:00 pm at the Parks Department Office area in the Training Room, which are both under the Eagles Nest at the Fairgrounds.
Stewardship Meeting on Tuesday.  Also, residents are welcome to attend the regular monthly Stewardship meeting on Tuesday (7/19/11) at 6:30 pm in the Port meeting room at 6650 Ocean View Blvd, where the brush picking proposal is on the agenda, along with other Preserve issues.  We received the following email and link from a concerned resident who heard about the proposal which should make for an interesting meeting on Tuesday:
Article by a local Tahuya Forest property owner’s observations about brush picking and its effects on his propety in the woods:
Port Meeting Last Wednesday.  We have been asked about what happened at the Port of Illahee meeting this past Wednesday, since we noted it in our last update.  Illahee Day will be August 20th and it will be a clean-up day.  Also, the Port is working on a number of items that we have been asked not to put in an update until they materialize.  There is one report that we can share which is the grant status report.
Grant Status Report.  One of the items we found most interesting at the Port meeting was the status report on the Port’s grant from the Department of Ecology.  Some very interesting things have been happening and others will be happening.  We have attached the report below.  We were impressed that the volunteer hours and in-kind contributions amounted to nearly $45,000, thereby decreasing the impact on the Port’s finances (which are our tax dollars).  As the report says – THANK YOU TO THE PORT AND ALL THE VOLUNTEERS!
Photo of Illahee Film Project.  We want to include at least one photo in each update and found this one of Shelly Solomon filming Bob Johnston at the Illahee dock early this summer.  Bob is not only an Illahee resident but is also an oceanographer on the Puget Sound Partnership’s Science Panel.
Jim Aho
 Port of Illahee Grant Report 7-13-11 1.  Grant Funding Ends.  The funding for the grant ended June 30, 2011.  While not all the products have been delivered, they are in process.  It was decided during the final phase of the grant, to concentrate on products that will not be put on a shelf, as would likely happen with written reports, and look to more visible communication avenues such as websites, films, and interpretive signs to get out the grant information. 2.   Water Quality Report.  We are finishing the water quality report, which documents the fecal coliform monitoring results that were obtained during 40 months of testing at 14 different locations.  3.  Websites.  The Port of Illahee website,, now has all the Centennial Clean Water Act Grant Quarterly Progress reports and the link to the Kitsap County website,, for the Parametrix Illahee Creek Watershed Surface Water Management Plan.  The Illahee Community website,, has been transferred to another hosting site and is in the process of having historical data transferred and will include the embedding of current updates in the home page.  All three websites (Port, County, & Community) are considered essential to distributing grant information and findings, as the watershed plan is just the starting point for current and future actions necessary to protect and restore the waters of Illahee Creek and Puget Sound. 4.  Interpretive Signs.  Twelve interpretive signs have been ordered from Alderwood Signs in Lynnwood, WA, and 12 base units have been ordered from JPL Habitability in Manette, WA.  Drafts of the signs were completed in the software Photoshop in order to make it easier for our volunteer graphics artist, Vic Keranen, to work with.  The text on the signs went out for multiple reviews and revisions with the various organizations involved.  The installation of the signs and base units will be accomplished by volunteers. 5.   Public Information and Education.  Shelly Solomon, the filmmaker hired to present the findings of the Parametrix report, has interviewed many experts and residents and is finishing up the film project one section at a time.  Shelly is known for her high quality films and her ability to tell a compelling story.  There is a short and long version of the film which includes some of the history of Illahee.  Volunteers have been crucial and supportive.  Also helping with the funding of portions of the film, in addition to the Port of Illahee and the Department of Ecology, are Kitsap County, the Illahee Community, and the Illahee Forest Preserve. 6.   Habitat Work Schedule (HWS).  Volunteer Joy Davison completed the entry of our prepared documents for the West Sound Watershed Council (WSWC) into the DFW Habitat Work Schedule (HWS) used by the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP) & Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) databases, to document current and future Illahee restoration projects.  We have been requested to have photos of each of these projects, which is another outstanding task that needs to complete. 7.  Volunteers.  Nearly every task of the grant has used volunteers to the maximum, which has helped leveraged grant money to the maximum benefit of the Port of Illahee and the Illahee community. The documented in-kind support was $44,295! Thank you to the Port and  all the volunteers who have made this grant successful!

Illahee Community Update 7/12/11 Port&Preserve Meetings, Website, Photos

Port of Illahee Monthly Meeting.  We have been asked to let people know when the monthly Port of Illahee meeting is held and are sorry for such a late notice.  Meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month at 5 pm at the Port meeting room at 5560 Ocean View Blvd.  Visitors are always welcome.  The next meeting is this Wednesday, July 13th.

Illahee Preserve Meetings.  We have also been asked to let people know when the Illahee Preserve groups meet.  Their meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Port meeting room at 5560 Ocean View Blvd.  Their next meeting is July 19th and visitors and interested persons are also also welcome.
Illahee Community Website Update.  Sometimes we wonder if people use the website, and have been told by a number of people that the website is down, so we know it is being looked at.  The website has been transferred to another hosting site (in Spokane) and the transfer of data is taking more time than we wished.  The data transfer is being done by a volunteer who thinks kayaking and mountain climbing trips take precedence.  We hope this can be done quickly now that Mt Rainier has been climbed.
Deer on July 4th.  We have often heard of peoples concern for pets and wildlife during the time around the 4th of July.  We received a photo of a deer on the 4th that seemed totally unconcerned about the noise from fireworks going on all around her.  We also noticed the white markings on the back legs that are an indication of an albino deer in the area years ago.
Aircraft Carrier Picture.  We received the following photo of the USS John C Stennis as it came in awhile ago with the Illahee community dock in the foreground.  Thank you for passing on your photos.
Meeting Invitations.  We hope to see some of you at the Port of Illahee meeting and/or the Illahee Preserve meeting coming up soon.
Jim Aho

Infrared Camera Photo.  More than one person has commented about how they wish they had an infrared camera to determine what was eating their plants, etc.  We received the following photo of two young deer along with this note:
Deer browsing  below bird feeder at night. taken with my $99 infrared camera.

Coyote Comments.  Some comments regarding coyotes have come in since sending out the pictures in our last update.  One was a verbal about watching a young coyote pup coming out of the woods to watch a small dog playing in a yard.  Others have commented about hearing coyotes at night.  And an email from a couple of days ago:

This morning about 8AM we saw a coyote on the beach in front of our house (halfway between the park and dock) and crows were attacking it – it was moving south away from them!
Graduation Balloons?  A few weeks ago we saw a beautiful string of balloons at a driveway entrance and took a picture in case you missed it.   Since it was about graduation time we felt it must have some party.
Illahee Bird Pictures.  We received the following note and pictures of some more Illahee birds:
We’ve enjoyed a huge variety of birds at our place this year.  Our most active feeder is just 10 feet from our living room window, so we always try and have a camera handy and we thought we’d send in a few shots.The American Goldfinches are non-stop on our porch, but they’re mostly on our sunflower chip feeders.  We snapped some shots of our seed/suet feeder with some of the woodpeckers that have been dropping by.  We have a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers always around and the male and female Northern Flickers always show up together (got one shot of the female landing).  We’re not sure if the smaller woodpeckers are Hairy Woodpeckers the Downy Woodpeckers, but they’ve just started showing up in the last few weeks.Enjoy the pictures and thanks for the newsletter updates!
Thanks for Sharing Photos.  Thanks to all those who send in photos to share.  We have been told over and over again that while residents like to know what is happening in the Illahee area, they most like to know and see the area’s wildlife.
Jim Aho