Illahee 9/23/12 Noisy Seal, Illahee Preserve Wood Chips, Knotweed Pictures, Rest Place Invasive Plants, Another Beach Theft, Elwha Film Report

Noisy Seal.  It has taken a number of waterfront residents weeks to figure out where the noise from the water was coming from.  Some thought it was coming from Bainbridge Island.  Others thought is was a sick cat near the shoreline.  The noise was occurring at various times of the day and evening and woke up a number of residents.   On a still night when sound travels especially well across the water it appeared to be coming from the Bainbridge Island side, and other times closer to Illahee.  It wasn’t until a seal came close enough to the Illahee shoreline during the day that it could be identified as the source.  Long time waterfront residents commented that they have never heard anything quite like it before.  It has been described a sort of ‘meow’ sound without the ‘me’ part, which leaves just the ‘ow’ portion.  The photo below isn’t the best picture, but it is of the noise making seal.

Illahee Preserve Wood Chips.  Just when there appeared to be a breather for those concerned with wood chips at the Almira parking lot, several more loads were dropped off this past week, see the photo below.  
Knotweed Photos.  There was a telling photo of Japanese knotweed that shows what happens when it is cut — it just grows back at the nodes below the cut.  This was cut earlier this year and already it grew back and will seed out this fall, just a little later than other undisturbed knotweed.  The second photo shows the root structure from an Illahee shoreline residence.  The roots can spread 7 feet laterally and 7 feet in depth.  It is a highly invasive plant species that has moved into Illahee, primarily  along the power line that goes through the Illahee Preserve and along the Illahee salt water shoreline.

Rest Place Invasive Plants.  There are a number of invasive plants along Rest Place, with an infestation of yellow archangel close by in the Illahee Preserve.  On Saturday (9/22/12) several Illahee Preserve Stewardship members started working to eliminate it.  What they found was a bunch of old railroad ties under the archangel and a root structure that was massive — see the photos below.  It will likely take a dedicated work party to get control of this particular infestation that is moving down the hillside toward the creek.

Another Beach Theft.  We received the following notice of another Illahee beach theft that took place last week.  Note that a reward is being offered.  There is no further word on the three kayaks that were stolen at the end of last month.

Sometime in the last week a cart like this was stolen from the beachfront of our house about a half mile north of the Illahee town dock.  The one that is missing does not have the front bow roller that this one shows. Also 2 or 3 of my tires were flat otherwise it was exactly the same. It is the size to put a jet ski on.   They are quite unusual around here.  I would offer a reward to get it back.
Elwha Film Report.  Before the Illahee film is shown at the Admiral Theater on Oct 12th, the Spirit of the Elwha film will be shown.  The Elwha film was shown last week in Port Townsend and it was sold out.   We have attached some quotes about the film.

I’ve forwarded a message that might be of interest to many of you, and/or your constituents.  I went to see two of Shelly’s films in Port Townsend a week ago (a sell-out crowd), and I was very happy to see that there is another local filmmaker focusing on our local environmental issues.

We are excited to be presenting Local Environmental Films at the Admiral Theatre in Bremerton Oct 12 at 7pm. Our River as Spirit – Rebirth of the Elwha showed in Port Townsend at the Rose Theatre on Sunday 9/16/12 at noon and sold out in 20 minutes.  The Illahee – Saving Puget Sound One Watershed at a Time is also a delightful film shot entirely near Bremerton.

Ticket Costs.  We checked the Admiral Theater website to see what the ticket costs are for the two films and the price has not been posted.  We will see if we can find out the cost and pass it on.

Jim Aho

Illahee 9/16/12 Work Party Details, Cat Poster Response, Illahee Preserve Meeting

Work Party Details.  Comments have been coming in regarding how nice things look after the Washington Youth Academy and mentor work party completed their efforts on Saturday morning at the Illahee Preserve.  There were also questions about the work that was accomplished.  This update is to answer the questions and better document the work party efforts on Saturday.  We normally like to have pictures to back up our reports, but there was only one camera there the other day and it was in a pocket.

Work Projects.  The major work projects on Saturday were to clean up the parking lots at Almira and Thompson Lane, finish off the wood chip pile at the Almira parking lot, and clean up four perpetual puddle areas (except for this summer when they actually dried out) of debris along the Golf Course Loop trail.  We have been asked to keep some of the puddles areas along the trails since wildlife have been observed using them as a sort of watering hole.  In the past we had filled many of them with wood chips to eliminate mud holes.  The workers on Saturday tried to come up with a nice compromise of a better delineated trail around an enhanced puddle area.  We think they got a good start on the project but there is still some work to do, so if that is something you would like to help with, please let us know.

Wheelbarrows.  Wheelbarrows are used to move wood chips from where they are dumped by tree companies to the Preserve trail system.  Wood chips are especially appreciated during the wet season to keep the trails from being muddy.  There were 16 wheelbarrows brought in on Saturday to help with the chips, courtesy of Kitsap County, the East Bremerton Rotary, and the Illahee Forest Preserve.  Thanks to those groups for their continued support of the work parties!

Other Tools.  Some of the Washington Youth Academy (WYA) mentors brought tools like shovels as did Preserve volunteers, but for the most part the tools were supplied by Kitsap County Parks.  The Park’s Department has a tool trailer and will bring just about any tool volunteers need to complete projects.  In support of the work party on Saturday they supplied everything from brooms to picks, shovels to garbage bags.  We happened to take a picture of some of the tools as they were being brought back at the end of the work party.  We need to thank Parks for the tool support and their volunteer coordinator to bringing them when we started and then picking them up at the end.  This service has made the Preserve’s volunteer’s work considerably easier. 
Garbage.  One of the major disappointments for many of the volunteers is to watch the Preserve become a garbage dump for some individuals, which continues to happen at the Almira parking lot.  On Saturday many of the WYA teams while working on their projects also picked up trash.  At the end of the day there were many trash bags filled, enough to fill the bed of a pickup.  County Parks hauled the trash away as we and they didn’t want a lingering pile of black trash bags to encourage further dumping.  Thanks again to Parks for this important support!

Cat Poster Response.  We thought we should pass on the comment we received regarding the posting of the cat poster in our last update.

That’s our missing cat poster, thank you for posting the picture, it’s a long shot, but you never know.  We’ve pretty much given up and assume wildlife got to him, we’ve been keeping him inside most every night too.  We have a sad 3 year old little girl though.

Illahee Preserve Meeting on Tuesday.  The monthly Illahee Preserve Stewardship Group meeting is held on the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm and meets at the Port of Illahee meeting room at 5500 Illahee Road.  Illahee Preserve users and Illahee residents are always invited.  

Jim Aho

Illahee 9/15/12 Wildlife Photos, Rolling Hills Dedication, Preserve Work Party, Missing Cat, Rain Stats, Shoreline Knotweed, White Pigeons, Rest Place Concerns

Wildlife Photos.   We have been told over the years that one of things most liked about the Illahee updates are wildlife photos.  In the past we received them regularly from residents, but not so many lately, probably because deer and their photos became common place to residents, especially those with gardens.  So yesterday (Friday) we were happy to see some smaller creatures which are pictured above of a chipmunk, and below of a baby mole.  While we were taking photos of the baby mole a cat came to investigate.  

Rolling Hills Dedication.  On Tuesday a great dedication ceremony was held at Rolling Hills Golf Course to honor Don Rasmussen for his gifting of the golf course to the County in such a way that it also supports one of Don’s favorite charities, the Olympic Peninsula Meals on Wheels program, for the next 20 years.  Jim Dunwiddie, the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Director and Josh Brown, Central Kitsap County Commissioner spoke about the amazing gift.  Irwin Krigsman read the Letter to the Editor from the community that was published in the Kitsap Sun after the gifting, and Jim Aho gave the history of how they came up with the dedication rock.  Don then spoke about the golf course including his desire that it remain a golf course well into the future.  We normally hope for the press to be at events like the dedication since they do such a great job of reporting, but on this day they were not there and while we heard lots of verbal praise about the event, no one sent us anything in writing, so this is our brief summary (and if someone else would like to send in their thoughts, it would be appreciated).  There were a number of people taking photos, but only one sent the following photos in.
Preserve Work Party.  On Saturday morning (9/15/12) the Preserve’s Almira parking lot was filled with cars as volunteers from the Washington Youth Academy and their mentors, worked on a variety of projects in the Illahee Preserve.  Without a photographer in the group, we ended up with just a couple of pictures.  The first is a cadet with his mentor that come from the Spokane area.  The second photo shows cadets and mentors loading up the remaining wood chips from a depleted wood chip pile.  We try to deplete the piles each year before new chips start arriving, normally after storm events.
Missing Cat.  A recent posting of a missing cat appeared the other day along Illahee Road.
Rain Stats.  The other day when it appeared we might break a dry spell record, we sent an email to Barney Bernhard since he maintains a local Illahee weather station.  He reported that the last measurable rainfall up until that time was on July 23 for .04 inches and that the small amount received on Sept 10 was only .13, which in our minds should qualify for some kind of record, as it has been a really dry summer.
Shoreline Knotweed.  We have noticed in the last two years larger concentration of knotweed along Illahee’s shoreline.  This is not good as knotweed is a highly invasive plant species that is especially hard to eradicate and control.  The above picture shows a new infestation.  The more established ones have already flowered.  We found a huge root/bulb mass that had the canes coming out of it, which is probably an indication of why it so hard to control, see the photo below.
White Pigeon Responses.  We received a number of responses regarding the photos of the white pigeons.  We will try to sort through them and share more later.

Rest Place Concerns.  We have received an inordinate amount of comments and concerns regarding Rest Place.  About a half mile of Rest Place borders the east side of the Illahee Preserve and the right-of-way is a regular walking path for many.  There are a number of issues going on so we hope this will be an agenda for an upcoming Illahee Community meeting.

Wildlife Photos.  Please share with us your wildlife stories or photos so we can pass them on as the abundance of wildlife here is amazing the more we are aware of it.
Jim Aho

Illahee 9/10/11 Dedication Invite, Letter to the Editor, Kitsap Sun Stories

Dedication Invite.  Golfers and residents are invited to unveiling of the dedication rock and plaque at Rolling Hills Golf Course on Tuesday, September 11th, at 11:00 a.m.  The ceremony will honor Don Rasmussen’s gifting of the golf course to Kitsap County, and will feature Commissioner Josh Brown, Parks Director Jim Dunwiddie, and representatives from the Illahee Community, and of course Don Rasmussen.

Letter to the Editor.  While this letter to the editor is 2 years old, it is still expresses the sediments of Illahee.
  August 23, 2010
Letter to the Editor:
        Thank you Don Rasmussen and Kerma Peterson, for your extraordinary and especially generous gift of the Rolling Hills Golf Course!  
Illahee has become a recreational destination in Kitsap County and the greater West Sound area in a large part because of your work in establishing a premier and affordable community golf course.  While Illahee’s unique topography has limited development, it has fostered some incredible recreational opportunities such as the golf course, Illahee State Park, the Illahee Preserve, and the Port’s Community Dock, making this area and Kitsap County a great place to live. 
The Illahee Community appreciates your incredible gift and forward thinking that preserves Rolling Hills as a golfing jewel for future generations, and at the same time ensures the continuation of the “meals on wheels” program for seniors throughout the area.  Your gift will also help us eventually control the storm water surges that pollute Illahee Creek and Puget Sound.
Thank you Don and Kerma, Commissioners, and Commissioner Josh Brown for making it all happen!
Barney Bernhard, for the Illahee Community Club
Kitsap Sun Stories.  The links to the stories about Rolling Hills were found at the Kitsap Sun website and also the Illahee Community website for those wanting to refresh their memories.  We have put them in chronological order.
Kitsap Sun Front Page Story.

Kitsap County prepares to take over Rolling Hills Golf Course

Kitsap Sun Follow-Up Story.

Rolling Hills Transfer Seen as Win-Win for Kitsap County, Charity

Kitsap Sun “More Than a Golf Course” Article.
Also, we were impressed by the article in Saturday’s Kitsap Sun by Brynn Grimley who had a great understanding of just why the golf course gift was especially appreciated by the Illahee Community.  The link to her article is:
Kitsap Sun Editorial.
Jim Aho

Illahee 9/6/12 Meadow Planting, Golf Course Celebration, Rock Placement Photos, Beach Thefts

Meadow Planting.  The other evening another 50 pounds of grass seed was planted at the Compass Circle meadow at the Illahee Preserve.  We wondered what a 50 pound bag of grass seed looked like so we took this picture.

Golf Course Celebration.  We just saw the press release for the Rolling Hills Golf Course celebration this coming Tuesday which can also be accessed by clicking on this link:  


Date: September 6, 2012
Contact: Jim Dunwiddie, Director
Kitsap County Parks & Recreation
360.337.5355       or
No: 2012-86

Dedication rock coming to Rolling Hills
September 11 ceremony honors Don Rasmussen’s gift to Kitsap County

What:    Dedication Ceremony

Where: Rolling Hills Golf Course

When:   Tuesday, September 11th @ 11:00 a.m.

(Port Orchard, WA)  The public is invited to attend a special dedication ceremony at Rolling Hills Golf Course this coming Tuesday (September 11) at the Rolling Hills Golf Course. The ceremony honors the 2010 donation of the course to Kitsap County by course owner Don Rasmussen. The ceremony features Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown, County Parks & Recreation Director Jim Dunwiddie, representatives from the Illahee Community Club and Don Rasumussen.

A plaque commemorating the donation is being placed on a large rock that will be installed at the Golf Course. For more information about the importance of this donation, and to see pictures of the dedication rock, follow the links below.

Additional resources:

·        Brynn Grimley’s article from the Kitsap Sun

·        Kitsap Sun Editorial

·        Pictures of the dedication rock


Rock Placement Photos.  We watched the placement of the dedication rock today at Rolling Hills today and took the following pictures from when the Elandan Gardens truck pulled in to when it left.  After the rock was pressure washed it was going to have a tarp put over it until the time of the celebration on Tuesday. 

More Beach Thefts.  We had a report yesterday of another beach theft.  

Not sure if you have any interest in this but someone attempted to “lose” my inflatable dinghy today.  I saw it out floating away and recovered it, but in the process of that realized that other stuff had been fooled with during their activities on our beach this a.m.

Another neighbor on the beach called 911 also.

I called 911 and filled them in.  If you know of someone that you can call to get faster action, feel free. My phone is 377-4577.  I have not touched the dinghy or stuff and it’s tied on the beach for now in case the police might want to look at it or (crazy probably) fingerprint it.

Follow Up Report.  Rick followed up with this report.

Officer Fleming arrived and looked at the dinghy and concluded that the metal surfaces were not smooth enough to result in fingerprints using the tools available.  She commented that if this was a homicide, the budget for fingerprinting using the FBI might result in something, but not for thefts like we are facing on the beach.  Not surprising and reasonable.

The paddle is 5 feet long.

Anyone that wants to come pick them up can email me at:

Jim Aho

Illahee 9/4/12 White Pigeons, Compass Circle Project, Golf Course Celebration, Illahee Stormwater Retrofit Project

White Pigeons.  We have waited a long time, practically all summer, to get a picture of the white pigeons that fly around Illahee at various times.  We have been trying unsuccessfully to take pictures of them in flight and once saw them land on the beach but didn’t have a camera.   We happened to have a camera in our pocket this morning when we saw some of them land in a nearby fir tree.   

We have asked about them in previous updates and wonder who might be raising them as their numbers seem to keep increasing.  Let us know if you have any information as every year we get a number of inquiries.
Compass Circle Wildlife Meadow Restoration Project.  We heard volunteers are working hard to complete the Compass Circle wildlife meadow restoration project before the fall rains begin.  Fifty pounds of grass seed was planted last Saturday, and another fifty pounds are planned for this week as an overseeding of the area.  We took a picture of one of the blocked off trails that used to go through the meadow area.
Golf Course Celebration.  We heard a celebration is being planned at Rolling Hills Golf Course next Tuesday (9/11/12) and are waiting for a press release for the details.  We took a picture of the beautiful landscaping at Rolling Hills the other day and are amazed at all the work going on at the golf course that benefits the Illahee Creek watershed.  Thanks to the golf course personnel for all their work!
Illahee Stormwater Retrofit Project.  We are monitoring the progress of the Illahee Stormwater Retrofit Project that recently requested Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) from interested Engineering Consulting Firms.  We are waiting to see if there will soon be a press release to announce what firm was selected to work on the project, that is the first of several projects to help control the storm surges that ravage Illahee Creek.  Thanks to Kitsap County Public Works for all their efforts to make things better for the watershed, Illahee Creek, Puget Sound, and the residents of Illahee!

Jim Aho