Illahee Update 5/22/12 New Growth, Aquifers and Growth, Expert Reports, SEIS Report, Remand Requirement, Remand Options, Decision by June 2012

New Plant Growth.  After a couple days of rain the new growth in plants is readily visible as readily seen on sword ferns in and around the Preserve.

Aquifers and Growth.  We were reading the SEIS (Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement) that recently came out as part of the Remand currently going on in Kitsap County, and were happy to see that it confirms what Illahee residents have been saying and documenting for years, i.e., that Illahee has major groundwater and aquifer problems.  

Expert Reports.  The SEIS findings corroborate what the experts have been telling us that water rights in the aquifer have been over-allocated and that withdrawals affect the base flows in Illahee Creek.  Our own expert found the Manette aquifer is currently at water balance and well withdrawals are already impacting Illahee Creek’s ability to support fish. 

SEIS Report.  The SEIS is a big document so we have copied the applicable page (3-26) that discusses the issue.  The entire report can be found on the Kitsap County website at: http://www.kitsapgov.com/dcd/community_plan/remand%202011/remand_seis.htm
Applicable Section Enlarged.  Note the reference to Illahee at the end.
 
Why Be Involved?  Should residents be concerned?  Are we concerned about our ground water (drinking water)?  Is Illahee Creek, as a fish bearing stream, worth saving?  Is getting control of the excessive sediment that raises the flood plain and fills the Illahee Creek fish holes and culvert, not to mention polluting Puget Sound, a worthy cause worth fighting for?  These are questions residents have asked, and have requested more information about what can be done.  This is also the reason residents have funded a number of expert studies to make sure what they see in the stream can be scientifically supported.

Remand Requirement.  Kitsap County is required to resize (reduce) its Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) based on certain rationales, one of which can be environmental concerns.  Based on the SEIS and the communities own studies and reports, it would seem that Illahee is an area where resizing and reductions in the projected population growth are necessary.

Remand Options.  The options available to Illahee residents seem to be those noted on the county’s website as Alternative 1 and Alternative 2, or combinations thereof.  For instance if someone liked Alternative 1, but felt the shoreline area in north Illahee should be the lower density shown in Alternative 2, they would so state.  

Central Kitsap UGA Alternative 1 Map.  Yellow is urban low (5-9 homes/acre)
East Bremerton UGA Alternative 1 Map.  Gray is rural, one home for 5 acres.
Central Kitsap UGA Alternative 2 Map.  Blue is urban restricted (1-5 homes/acre) 
East Bremerton UGA Alternative 2 Map.  Green is Illahee Greenbelt (1-4 homes/acre)
Your Thoughts?  We have been asked by a number of residents to explain what the Remand issues are all about.  We know that some Illahee residents received notices from the county regarding recent meetings on the 15th and 17th to discuss the issues, and know that some of you attended, but still didn’t understand everything.  We have presented what we think are the main issues, and welcome other comments.

County Decision To Be Made By June 2012.  Time is of the essence if you want to voice your thoughts.  According to the legal notices in today’s Kitsap Sun, the public hearing will be at the Commissioner’s meeting on June 4, 2012, with written comments in by 4:30 pm on June 6, 2012. 

Jim Aho