Illahee 6/24/12 Website Information, Website Traffic, Leadership Kitsap Team, LK Accomplishments, LK Thanks, Illahee Film

Website Information.  We thought it would be good to explain some about our website illaheecommunity.com that has be undergoing some recent changes.  We still have lots to learn about websites, but with some help we are getting better.  Awhile back we changed website managers and also the software for creating the website posts that most of you receive as emails.  It has been a learning experience as we went from two or three people involved with putting an update on the website to primarily just me, and after a year or more I think we are getting better. 

Website Heading Photos.  Our website admin adviser has taken it upon himself to take photos from past updates and resize them and rotate their usage as website heading photos.  While we are asking him to remove a couple of them, such as the original Timbers Edge plat layout, we like what he has done and some of our favorites are used in this update. 
Website Traffic.  We were astounded to find out recently just how often the website is accessed, and still wonder if it is really true.  We have been looking at the website, mustat.com, that provides website statistics.  When we first looked at the usage a few weeks ago, the visitors each day averaged 88, followed by the next period at 30, and this time it was 53.  We are presuming these are weekly averages, and we welcome anyone who can double check these figures and verify the information is correct.  Below is what we copied from the mustat website.  Even though it was given a low rating for a website, we think it is quite remarkable for a small community.

Traffic

Each day, illaheecommunity.com generates 266 pageviews from 53 visitors. The website receives an average of 1,649 visits and 8,244 pageviews per month. It is given a rating of E, due to its very low performance.

Per day Per week Per month Per year
Visitors 53 372 1,649 19,414
Pageviews 266 1,862 8,244 97,06
 

Website Photos.  We found out that we need to be careful how large the photos are that we include on the website and in an update.  The large photos that look great on our large screen monitor do not work for many of you, so we have decreased the sizes and are trying to come up with the right percentage.  Thanks to those who have responded when something doesn’t work right.
Website Fonts.  We have been told to stop using the font “Comic Sans” and we are currently using “Serif” but would like to find something else.  We don’t know what the reasons are but we are trying to conform.  These issues are behind the scene items, but we know some of you are interested.
Leadership Kitsap Team.  We attended the Leadership Kitsap (LK) graduation event this past week and we need to again thank the LK “Dragons” (one of four teams) who decided their team project would be to help the Illahee Preserve.  The team consisted of 7 members whose names and their sponsors are:
Zeb Breuchman, PSNS & IMF
Doug Campbell, Navy Region Northwest
David Dinkuhn, Parametrix
Gessica Guidry, Kitsap Public Health District
Debbie Robinson, NUWC Keyport
Rochelle Stockwell, Clearwater Casino
Connie Zapp, Holly Ridge Center
Description of LK Support.  Several have tried to describe the impact of the LK support to the Preserve.  The one we liked best was “It was like the Preserve won the lottery.”  Another closeup was “It was like having a magic genie and the first wish was the genie couldn’t say no.”  And, “It was like an answer to prayer.”
LK Accomplishments.  Below are just some of the accomplishments we are aware of, there may be more.
1.  Numbered sign posts at each trail intersection.
2.  Map showing the numbered sign posts, courtesy of Rice, Fergus, Miller architectural firm.
3.  Concept map showing Almira Parking lot improvements, courtesy of Parametrix.
4.  “Day at the Park” celebration on May 5th.
5.  Reader board notice for above celebration and listing of website, which might explain our 88 visits a day.
6.  Illahee raspberry Preserve gifts for the celebration.
7.  Raised over $1000 for the Illahee Forest Preserve 501.c.3.
8.  Increased the awareness of the general public to the Illahee Preserve.
9.  Created a new logo for the Illahee Preserve.
10.  By establishing a celebration date, interpretive signs were completed, an Eagle Scout project kiosk was installed, a paver walkway plan was established, and new trails were created and old trails were closed.
It was an amazing amount of work that was accomplished in the roughly 5 or 6 months and we thank each member of the “dragons” for all they accomplished and the Leadership Kitsap program.
Illahee Film Question.  There has been a question as to whether Illahee residents would attend a showing of the Illahee film if it was shown at the Admiral Theater.  Evidently the Illahee filmmaker, Shelly Solomon, as recently completed a film on the Elwha Dam removal and a proposal was made that both films should be considered for showing at the Admiral.  We said we would put out the question in an update.  We don’t know what the admission cost would be.
Jim Aho

Illahee 6/21/12 Preserve Meadow Restoration, Sign Vandalism, TE Meeting Report

Preserve Meadow Restoration.  Last Sunday afternoon (6/17/12) we received a call that the tractor doing the ground preparation for the Compass Circle Meadow Restoration Project had been fixed and they were already at the Preserve finishing the dirt work.  By the time we arrived they had finished their efforts and the area was ready for the finish raking.  Several people responded that evening and the next morning and by noon the next day the entire meadow area had been planted with the grass seed supplied by the Oregon State University.  After waiting for months for everything to come together, it all happened in less than 24 hours.  Thanks to Doug O’Donnell of the East Bremerton Rotary and Dave his helper for their two trips to the Preserve and for persevering after their tractor broke down during the first trip!  The photo above shows the meadow area after the contouring and raking.  Now we just hope the planted turf grass seed germinates and prospers.  And, we should note, in the worked up soft soil there were deer tracks as there were concerns the deer had left for quieter areas of the Preserve.

Sign Vandalism.  It is sad to report vandalism in the Preserve, especially to signs that were put in as part of Eagle Scout projects.  Both of these incidents occurred about the same time and nearby each site were the same brand of discarded beer cans.
TE Meeting Report.  Lots of folks have been curious about what happened at the Timbers Edge meeting on Monday evening so we need to get out this report.  Attorney Ryan Vancil presented the situation that would make it possible for the community to acquire the Timbers Edge properties.  He noted there is a willing seller, Jim James, who would like to sell the development and would sell it to the community.  He noted because of the economy the development is stalled which is why it is available.  And he noted that if the community is interested in seeing a different outcome than the presently approved development, there are some creative opportunities available.  He gave an example of a community on Bainbridge Island that worked out to everyone’s benefit.  It all starts with a willing community to be involved in working together to make it happen.  

Questions?  There was a long question and answer period with a common theme that residents wanted a lower density development and how that could be obtained.  There was also a question whether the 5 acre piece of property that was the Avery Homestead could be a local park.  Others said some portions of the 15 acres would be a natural addition to the Illahee Preserve.  But, before anything can get started some background work needs to be done, such as getting an assessment or appraisal or value of the TE development.  One of the residents asked if we should also be talking with Mr. Tallman, who evidently is holding the notes for the properties.   

A Willing Community?  At the end of the meeting residents were asked if they were interested in pursuing and possibly purchasing the TE development.  The response was nearly unanimous to proceed and begin with obtaining the necessary background information.  The issue will be discussed further on Tuesday evening when the Illahee Forest Preserve holds their monthly meeting.  This will also be a discussion item for the IllaheeCommunity.Com (ICC) non-profit group (formally the Illahee Community Club).  

More Details to Follow.  There are many details that will need to be worked out before anything will be ready to move forward.  We were intrigued by the creative options presented by Mr. Vancil and want to learn more before reporting on them.  We, like others in attendance, felt that this just might work out for the good of the community and the Illahee Preserve, and is definitely worth checking it out.  

Jim Aho

Illahee 6/17/12 Deer, Timbers Edge Background, Monday Meeting, Attorney Support, Groundwater Policy

 Deer Photos.  Some recent deer pictures have been received, the second one taken on Saturday.  Still hoping for someone to get a good Illahee coyote photo.

Timbers Edge Background.  We have been asked to provide some more background regarding the Timbers Edge development, as there are a number of people who are either new to the community or were not following the newspaper reports on what has been a long community battle with the county and the developer regarding details of the project.  We just talked with someone who reminded us that there ~650 people in 2005 who signed the petition against the development, which went through a number of changes, and was finally approved in 2009.   There are so many aspects that were reported on during the last 5 or more years, that we recommend you just go to the Illaheecommunity.com website and click on “Timbers Edge” and review the many posts that reported on the project over the last few years.

Hearing Examiners Report.  For those who would like more legal details and the conditions placed on the development, the Hearing Examiner’s Decision can be found at:  http://www.kitsapgov.com/dcd/lu_env/he/decisions/cy2008/he-rd-080828-068-reissued.pdf.

Why Monday’s Meeting?  We have been asked “..why are having another Timbers Edge meeting since the project has already been approved?”, and our response is we are expecting a new legal notice soon in the Kitsap Sun regarding a trustee sale of the Timbers Edge properties on the steps of the Kitsap County court house.  We have seen two earlier legal notices and are now expecting another, following the gifting of the 24 acres to the Port, and want to know if there is anything the community can do if and before the properties are auctioned off.   Once a notice is placed in the paper there isn’t much time to come up with a response.

Attorney Ryan Vancil.  There have also been questions about whether the community has retained attorney Ryan Vancil and what the costs are.  Ryan represented the Illahee Community for the Timbers Edge hearings, both before the Hearing Examiner, and also the appeal before the County Commissioners, for which he was paid with donations from the community.  He has also been instrumental in working through the gifting of the 24 acres to the Port of Illahee.  He has done the later pro bono, and has agreed to help with options because of his past work with the community and he believes in what the community is trying to do.  It isn’t often we get this quality of legal help at no cost and his commitment to Illahee is appreciated.

Groundwater Policy.  The community has been concerned about our aquifers and groundwater recharge, or lack thereof, and has been hoping the county would realize just how delicate some of our situations are and come up with a policy that reflects what is happening.  Not long ago the County Commissioners came up with a Water as a Resource policy, and we were pleased to find the following statement in their policy document:

2011 Water Policy Implementation Plan Status Report

Groundwater Supply:

Groundwater is the source of potable water for unincorporated Kitsap County.  80% of citizens within Kitsap County and its associated cities derive their potable water from the ground.  Studies conducted by the USGS, local water utilities, and the University of Washington indicate that this supply is fed exclusively by precipitation that falls on the Kitsap Peninsula.  Therefore any actions that reduce water infiltration reduce aquifer supplies.  The result could be an unsustainable water supply.

Groundwater also supplies base flow to creeks, streams and wetlands.  As groundwater levels decrease this base flow lowers and aquatic species suffer.

Comments?  There have been few comments re Timbers Edge recently and we would solicit comments either pro or con.

Monday’s Meeting.  We hope to see you at Monday’s meeting (6/18/12), which starts at 6:30 pm at the Sylvan Way library.  Copies of the Illahee Film will be available at $20 each or $15 each for 3 or more.  Blue-ray versions will not be available and will be $25 when they come in.

Jim Aho

Illahee 6/14/12 Monday Meeting Notices, New Website Host, Rotating Website Pictures, New Port Commissioner, Film DVDs

Monday Meeting Notices.  Notices referring to the Monday Timbers Edge meeting with attorney Ryan Vancil were posted around Illahee on Thursday.  This is an important meeting as the development has already been approved and could go in as planned.  Discussion will center around the whether there are any other options available to the community?  

Spelling Corrections.  Thanks to those who help us with correcting our spelling etc.  We thought the following was a polite way to say we spelled poplar wrong:   Did you mean poplar or popular trees….???   Frankly Poplar Trees have never been very popular. 
New Website Host.  A new website host has been contracted with in order to save the IllaheeCommunity.Com (ICC) non-profit group some hosting dollars.  Costs such as this are one of the reasons for a modest $10 annual membership fee, though many residents are lifetime members since they have contributed $100 or more in the past.  For most the change of a website host is transparent and will only be noticed as there were some cosmetic changes made at the same time.

Rotating Website Pictures.  One of the cosmetic and mostly artistic changes made to the website are the rotating photos of Illahee at the top of the website, which is illaheecommunity.com.  If you hit the refresh tab you will be able to eventually see them all.  We were not happy to have the Timbers Edge plat show up though and need to find out more about how they were generated.

New Port Commissioner.  On Wednesday evening a new Port of Illahee Commissioner, Cassie Magill, was sworn in as a replacement for Dennis Sheeran as the representative of the northern district of the Port.  Cassie has been an Illahee resident since 2005 and owns a real estate management company Cassiana LLC.  She joins George Schaefer and Mike Mantzke as our Port Commissioners who meet the second Wednesday of the month at 5 pm.  The meetings are open to the public and residents are welcome.
Film DVDs Received.  The rest of the Illahee film DVDs arrived Thursday afternoon and will be available for purchase at the Monday meeting at the library.  The blue-ray batch had some problems and will be delivered later. 
Illahee Day August 11.  The Port of Illahee picked August 11 as Illahee Day for 2012.  The commissioners discussed an emphasis which could be working on the newly acquired Dietch property, both inside where the Port meets, and outside.  When a final decision is made they will put out fliers.

Jim Aho

Illahee Update 6/13/12 Illahee Creek Culvert, Timbers Edge Meeting, Fir Drive, Twin Towers, Homeless Camp Cleanup, Compass Circle Project, SMP Hearing, Illahee Tree

Illahee Creek Culvert Clearance.  The clearance for water to flow through the Illahee Creek culvert that goes under Illahee Road is now at 19 inches.  Without going back to previous Updates, it seems like this is the smallest opening we have seen.  When the culvert was put in the reported clearance was 7 feet, and the stabilized clear opening on the drawings shows a 5′ 6″ clearance or 66″.  
Upstream Surge Problem.  Slowly over the years the sediment in the culvert and along the flood plain has risen, in spite of the culvert being periodically cleaned out of sediment.  While you can’t dig out an entire flood plain, you can try to control the upstream storm surges that transports the sediment, which is what the recent Department of Ecology grant is supposed to help with.  As some have stated “It doesn’t do any good to keep cleaning out the culvert if you don’t try to take care of the upstream source of the problem.”  This is also why many are concerned with the possibility of the Timbers Edge development moving forward.  The development was approved by the Kitsap County Hearing Examiner and is currently on hold with financial issues.  In the photo below the banks of the creek look like they are covered with snow, but it is just the seed tufts from area popular trees.
Important Timbers Edge Meeting Scheduled.  With all the concerns about how the Timbers Edge development will affect Illahee, an informational meeting will be held on Monday evening, June 18, 2012 at the Sylvan Way library at 6:30 pm.  The project will be reviewed along with the conditions put on the project by the Hearing Examiner.  Attorney Ryan Vancil will discuss the various options available to the community as they deal with this approved, but financially challenged project.  As has been stated before, this development has the potential to have a major impact on Illahee and especially Illahee Creek base flows and the recharge of an aquifer that is already at water balance.

Fir Drive Road Improvement.  We were recently asked why Kitsap County Public Works is fixing a big road problem that residents complained about during the Timbers Edge hearings?  Residents were told by the county’s Department of Community Development (DCD) during the hearing that Fir Drive was in good shape to handle the traffic from the proposed development, and now two years later, at tax payers expense, the county is fixing one of the road issues residents, and the traffic expert hired by the community, pointed out as being a major problem.  We have to agree it appears the county (DCD?) messed up, and we understand why residents continue to be cynical.


Illahee’s Twin Towers.  The skyline at the top of Illahee hill is active with a second cell tower going in, next to the cell tower that is disguised at an over-sized flag pole.  There are some upset residents with the second tower going in as they felt there were better locations that were not looked at.  They are also upset with our fire district officials not checking with the nearby residents before they authorized them to put the second one in.  And, we have heard the adjacent neighbors property values will be lower since their house is within the fall zone of the tower, not to mention the visual impacts of having two towers next door.
Homeless Campsite Cleanup.  It has been some time since three homeless campsites have been used so it is now time to clean up the mess.  One site was kept rather clean and they left a rather neat pile of garbage.  The other two sites left everything scattered around the woods.  Preserve volunteers are looking at a time to clean up the sites and the Park’s Department has agreed to haul away the debris.
Compass Circle Project.  This project has had lots of hiccups from the beginning, with the latest being a problem with a tractor pin malfunction, that resulted in a support arm falling and breaking off a hydraulic fill casting, which ended the meadow ground work.  They are still trying to get the right part to fix the tractor and finish the job, which is slow because the work is being done by volunteers who have other jobs and priorities.

SMP Hearing.  There were several Illahee residents at the Planning Commission’s Public Hearing regarding the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Update.  We have copied one of the letters that was submitted at the end of this update.  The record is remaining open for another two weeks for those who would like to provide written comments.

Illahee Tree on Kitsap Sun Front Page.  Tuesday morning’s Kitsap Sun front page featured an Illahee tree, a 100 year copper beech tree, that is purported to have been planted by Teddy Roosevelt’s personal physician, Dr. Henry LaMotte.  LaMotte homesteaded the property at the mouth of Illahee Creek in 1909, that was later purchased by Dr. Ray Schutt around 1934.  The link to the article is:  http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/jun/11/tree-has-roots-in-presidential-history/

Jim Aho


Kitsap County Planning Commissioners

Subject:  Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Update Hearing

Enclosures:  (1)  Letter to Kitsap County Commissioners re the 2012 Remand, dated June 6, 2012

(2)  Resolution 2012-01  “Illahee Community Board Response to 2012 Remand Options,” dated June 5, 2012 

1.  In accordance with the SMP Update process that solicits public comments, enclosures (1) and (2) are hereby submitted.

2.  While the subject matter of both enclosures (1) and (2) refers to the 2012 Comprehensive Plan Remand, the concerns are also with the SMP dual designation of the northern shoreline of the Illahee Community.  The dual designation along that stretch of shoreline puts a sensitive conservancy shoreline next to an upland residential area with an urban zoning density of 5-9 homes per acre.  How can the county say it is trying to protect a conservancy shoreline area that has a high habitat value when the upland properties are zoned with densities that have proven to be problematic for shoreline habitats? 

3.  Recommend this inconsistency be corrected either within the Remand process or the SMP Update review process, or both.

Illahee Update 6/10/12 Eel Grass, Shoreline Hearing, SMP Update, Remand Responses, Coyotes

Email Photo Problem.  A number of you who receive the email version of Illahee Updates reported problems recently with the size of our photos.  We first publish these updates for the website illaheecommunity.com, which looks great when previewed, but then we copy it to an email, which evidently doesn’t work for some.  We have a choice how big to make the photos for the website so will try smaller ones in hopes it will solve the problems.  Please let us know if you have problems with the eel grass photo. 

Eel Grass.  When we walked a portion of the Illahee shoreline during last weeks low tides, there were several eel grass beds, which are considered great habitat for a number of marine animals.  While eel grass is among the seaweed it is not considered a seaweed, but is an underwater grass that grows in the spring and summer and dies back int he fall and winter.  The Department of Ecology has a good website for marine species and we have attached their site for eelgrass for those interested:   http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/pugetsound/species/eelgrass.html

Shoreline Hearing.  The second and last public shoreline hearing before the Planning Commission will be held Monday (6/11/12) at 6 pm at Poulsbo’s City Hall.  The first hearing was last Tuesday in Port Orchard, which we didn’t attend, but have provided the link to the Kitsap Sun’s coverage that appeared in Thursday’s paper: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/jun/06/shorelines-plan-undergoes-public-review/.  We would encourage residents to arrive at 5 pm to review the maps and materials before the actual hearing.

SMP Update.  The Shoreline Master Program is being updated with some significant changes.  Information about the Update can be found on the county’s website.  The link to the Staff Report to the Planning Commission is: http://www.kitsapshoreline.org/SMP_Update_Staff_Report_052112.pdf  The link to the SMP website containing more information and also the draft SMP is:  http://www.kitsapshoreline.org/  The shoreline designations for Illahee are shown below with major portions of the northern shoreline having a duel designation that was upsetting to many as was expressed in their remand comments, i.e., they thought it wrong to try and protect a sensitive conservancy shoreline next to housing densities of 5-9 homes per acre (see the comments in the Remand report that follows).
Remand Responses.  We reported earlier on the Remand Hearing on Monday (6/4/12).  The coverage in the Kitsap Sun on Wednesday mentioned Illahee with the sentence “Illahee residents and others generally supported the plan to remove portions of Illahee from the urban growth area.”  The link to the article is:  http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/jun/05/kitsap-county-commissioners-weighing-desires-for/

Illahee Community Responses.  We saw several responses that are rather long but worth copying.  The first is from the IllaheeCommunity.Com board which came as a resolution.

Resolution 2012-01 

Illahee Community Board Response to 2012 Remand Options 

Whereas Illahee was founded 96 years ago and has maintained its community status and identity, and

Whereas the citizens of Illahee have been active and involved in the governance of its affairs, and

Whereas Illahee was placed in the Urban Growth Area (UGA) during the 1998 Comprehensive Plan Update, when the area between Bremerton and Silverdale was blanket zoned, and 

Whereas Illahee has over the last 14 years (after the 1998 placement into the UGA) acquired nearly 600 acres of forest, park and recreational lands for the Illahee Preserve (a Kitsap County Heritage Park), and

Whereas a large portion of the 600 acres of acquired land constituted the primary areas where Illahee’s future growth was projected to take place in 1998, and

Whereas Illahee’s only commercial area with urban services was removed from the community’s recommended sub-area boundary during a review process by the Planning Commission, and

Whereas Illahee is left with primarily natural resource lands, geological features, and recreational lands that greatly impede urban levels of development and supporting infrastructure, and

Whereas Illahee was built out as a rural and later a semi-rural community, and is mostly void of urban features and urban services, such as transportation, sewers, sidewalks, etc (with a few minor exceptions), and

Whereas the Growth Management Act specifically discourages adverse urban growth impacts to vulnerable aquifer recharge areas supporting potable water services and stream base flows (supporting anadromous fish), as is the situation with the Manette aquifer as verified in the Remand’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), and

Whereas the Growth Management Hearings Board has remanded the 2006 Comprehensive Plan back to Kitsap County to reconsider the size of its Urban Growth Areas,

We therefore respectfully request you consider the Illahee Community as a prime candidate for the necessary remand reductions and the reductions be considered in the following order of preference:   

(1)  Alternative 1 (for Central Kitsap and East Bremerton) be adopted along with a rural designation for the area east of Illahee Road to the shoreline and north to University Point (to further protect its sensitive conservancy shoreline), or 

(2)  Alternative 2 (for Central Kitsap and East Bremerton) be adopted as presented.

The second is a letter that is also long but says the same thing only a little differently.  

Subject:  The 2012 Remand

Request you choose Alternative 1 for the Illahee Community (as displayed on the East Bremerton and the Central Kitsap maps) with the addition of a rural connection east of Illahee Road to the shoreline extending south from University Point until it connects with the rural designation at old Illahee.

This request supports the conservancy designation given to the shoreline in the Shoreline Master Program by eliminating the conflicting situation of having a sensitive shoreline bordered by an upland zoning that would put 5-9 homes next to it.  The two classifications seem to be at odds with each other and have been an area of contention for many Illahee residents since the Comp Plan Update of 2006.

The request to make the shoreline area rural also eliminates a situation where the Illahee Community could be considered a rural island, which could complicate the providing of county services.

The primary reasons to support of this request are the natural features in Illahee which greatly limit urban densities and increase the costs of development, both to the developers and the county.  As two respected developers stated on Monday during the remand hearing, Illahee should not be in an urban growth area.

The final reason, and one that no one wants to talk about, is that the Manette aquifer is currently at water balance, and moreover, it is already impacting Illahee Creek’s ability to support fish, because local wells are decreasing the base flows in the creek.  The Illahee community has taken the initiative to have the scientific studies prepared and has had them presented at the Norm Dicks Center.  It is time for county to recognize these studies and adjust their planning efforts accordingly, i.e., look at ways to reduce the population projections for Illahee. 

Thank you for considering this request to take major portions of Illahee out of the UGA.


Beach Coyotes.  This morning a big coyote was seen going south along the beach.  A few years ago we used to see fox in the morning going north where we knew they had a den.  With seals, otters, eagles, raccoon and deer seen regularly along the shoreline, this was the first coyote seen on the beach by this family.  Now we just need to get a photo of one to share.

Jim Aho

Illahee Update 6/4/12 Remand Hearing, Extreme Summer Tides, Sea Stars, Geoducks, Deer

 

Remand Hearing.  We attended the remand hearing on Monday to see what was being said about the various alternatives being proposed for the County Commissioners to act on.  We were expecting a very large crowd and some contentious testimony, but what we saw as a good crowd with courteous and informative testimony.

 

Illahee Mentioned.  We were glad to see an Illahee resident there who spoke for Alternative 1 and a similar designation for the north shoreline area.  She also referenced the Illahee film and turned in a copy as justification for her position.  Later on in the hearing, during the testimony of several developers, there was reference to areas where developments should not occur, and Illahee was mentioned as one of those areas.  When developers are making these comments as public testimony it must be like vindication to those Illahee residents who felt that Illahee should never have been included in the urban growth area in the first place.

Extreme Summer Tides.  In case you haven’t noticed there are some extreme summer high and low tides this week.  Above is a tide chart that should be close and shows the extremes.  Below is a photo looking across the water toward Illahee State Park.

Sea Stars.  We found a couple of very large starfish, or sea stars, today.  The photo at the beginning of the post is a sunflower sea star.  This pink one among the seaweed was worth a picture.

Notice the tube feet on the picture below which have suction pads at the end.
Geoducks.  We also found some successful geoduck diggers at Illahee State Park today,  
some with some small geoducks, 
 and one very large geoduck,
which had a broken shell, which exposed its innards. 
Deer.  We’ve noticed more deer showing up during the daytime and caught this one feasting on an Asian pear tree and a plum tree.  They were also in the garden somehow getting through or around our 7′ high fence.
Jim Aho

Illahee Update 6/1/12 Deer, June Events, Preserve Wildlife Meadow, Remand Hearing, Shoreline Hearing, Timbers Edge Meeting, Ecology Grant

Deer.  With two major park areas (which total over 600 acres themselves), forests and riparian areas, and open space areas, it is no wonder there are lots of wildlife, including many deer, in Illahee.  Reports of fawns and twin fawns have come in, along with the normal complaints of deer eating roses, etc, not to mention gardens.  It is a rare day when one doesn’t see any deer during an extended walk in the area.  Thanks to those who send in pictures such as these.

Major June Events.  There are at least 4 major June 2012 events affecting Illahee.  (1)  The Preserve’s wildlife meadow restoration project, (2) the remand hearing on Monday(6/4), (3) the Shoreline hearings on Tuesday(6/5) in Port Orchard and the following Monday (6/11) in Poulsbo, and (4) a yet to be set up meeting on Timbers Edge.  This is a busy time of the year to fit in these events with others such as graduation parties, vacations, and outside recreation opportunities.

Wildlife Meadow.  The Compass Circle area in the Illahee Preserve has been cleared of felled trees and soon will be tilled in order to plant grass seed.  The plan is to get the area ready for planting ASAP in hopes to catch some June rainy days to help the grass seed germinate and get established.  The actual meadow area before the clearing was only about a quarter acre, and now is greater than an acre.  Removing the perimeter alders and clearing the blackberry bushes makes the area look refreshingly open which should  make for a great meadow.

Remand Hearing.  A special public remand hearing before the Kitsap County Commissioners will take place on Monday (6/5/12) at 5:30 pm at the County Administration building in Port Orchard.  The commissioners are hoping to hear from residents as to what zoning changes, if any, they would like to see for their community.  For Illahee residents who have had concerns about their being included in the Urban Growth Area (UGA), which brings along with it urban housing densities and urban infrastructures such as sewers, this is their opportunity to either suggest lowering the urban densities (Alternative 2) or removing portions of Illahee entirely from the UGA (Alternative 1).  We heard from a few residents who forwarded their preferences.

……  I cannot decipher the zoning map but wish to express the desire to not be included in an urban redistricting. I also have no desire to pay an enormous amount of money for a sewer hookup as I see no benefit to doing so………

I along with most people in the area support Alternative 1 to the CK UGA. I live on Hicks avenue, which Alternative 2 proposes running a new sewer line. A sewer line on Hicks avenue is completely unnecessary. The area has little development potential left and as you have stated in your emails and comments to the county it would be best to use septics in this rural area to maintain aquifer levels in support of Illahee creek. I can maybe see running sewer if this area were just starting to be developed say 30 years ago, but not today.

Shoreline Hearings.  There are two public hearings opportunities in June before the Planning Commission regarding the Shoreline Management Program (SMP) update.  The first is on Tuesday (6/6/12) beginning at 6 pm at the County Administration building in Port Orchard.  The second is next Monday (6/11/12) at the Poulsbo City Hall at 6 pm.  Both of these meeting will offer an open house at 5 pm preceding the hearing.  The purpose of these meetings are to hear testimony regarding the SMP update draft document that is available on the county website at:  http://www.kitsapshoreline.org/

Timbers Edge Meeting.  Later in June after the Remand Hearing and the SMP hearings, a meeting will be set up to discuss options available to residents regarding the expected trustee sale of the Timbers Edge project.  We will provide more information on this meeting as it becomes available.
Ecology Grant News.  We recently received a copy of Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown’s May newsletter, which provides more details about the recent Department of Ecology (DOE) grant to help control the stormwater surges that have plagued Illahee Creek for years and resulted in the brown sediment laden waters well out into the bay after every storm.  We will try to get more information and maps to better understand the magnitude of the project.  Thanks to the county for submitting the grant and to DOE for approving it and helping with a major portion of the funding.  The newsletter is attached above and the link to the newsletter is:   http://www.kitsapgov.com/boc/brown/Newsletter/2012%20Newsletters/May%202012%20Newsletter%201st%20Edition.pdf

Jim Aho