Illahee 2/28/13 Deer Fern, Tree Planting Event, 2012 Accomplishments, Treatment Plant Meeting

Deer Fern.  Ferns are some of the most beautiful native plants in the forest, and there are a number of different varieties in the Preserve.  Previously we covered licorice ferns, the ones found on the trunks of trees.  This update covers deer fern, as one was found in riparian area mentioned in the next paragraph.  Deer ferns are common in Europe and in the Northwest and are normally found in wet and shady areas.  Unique to this fern is it has two different fonds (one of which is shown below), the second of which we will try to photograph when it emerges.  It is reported they are called deer ferns because deer, and elk, like to browse on them.

Tree Planting Event.  On Wednesday five individuals showed up to plant 400 western red cedar saplings in and along the Steele Creek riparian areas.  They worked in some pretty thick brush, mostly salmon berry, as can be seen in the photo of two Stream Stewards, Donna and Lya.  Another opportunity for volunteers to help will be next Wednesday (3/6/13) at 9 am, where they will be meeting at the Almira parking lot, in hopes others will show up to plant roughly another 400 saplings.  If you have any questions call us at 479-1049.
2012 Accomplishments.  At Kitsap County Park’s annual stewardship meeting, the various stewardship groups presented their 2012 accomplishments.  We were amazed at the accomplishments these volunteer stewardship groups made, and especially those made by the Illahee Preserve groups (the Illahee Preserve Stewardship group and the Illahee Forest Preserve non-profit group) who gave the following report:

2012 Highlights

1.  Illahee Film debuted with showings in Canada, Bremerton, Olympia, and Port Townsend.

2.  One of the Leadership Kitsap groups picked the Illahee Preserve as its team project and completed trail intersection markers, maps, future plans, and celebration event.

3.  Illahee Preserve and Rain Garden signage and frames were designed, printed, fabricated, and installed.

4.  Eagle Scout candidate Eliot Orando completed a kiosk and established a new walkway area at the Almira entrance.

5.  Community, Rotary, Navy, Washington Youth Academy, and CK Super Saturday volunteer work parties supported Preserve projects.

6.  The gifting of the Rolling Hills Golf Course to the county and the Preserve was recognized by the Illahee Preserve with a large granite rock, plaque and ceremony.

7.  The Compass Circle Meadow Restoration Project nearly completed with enlarging and grading of the meadow area and planting of grass.

8.  Contacts and arrangements were made to have the sediment removed from the Illahee Creek culvert placed at the Preserve.

9.  Ground preparation, the placement of 100 yards of fill, and volunteer grading began for a future picnic shelter at the Almira entrance.

10. Cleaned up a major homeless camp area with the support of the Sherriff’s Dept, Parks, and the Missions Creek Corrections Center for Women.

11. Prepared an area along State Route 303 for a new Rotary sign to better advertise the location of the Illahee Preserve.

12.  Wildlife monitored by community members with photos and reports posted on website and emailed to approximately 500 recipients.

13.  New website,, established for the Illahee Preserve to monitor projects and record hours.

14.  Worked with the Port of Illahee and the Illahee Community group to secure 21 acres of prime riparian and wildlife habitat adjacent to the Preserve to be used as a match during the next round of RCO grants (for submittal in 2014).

Treatment Plant Meeting.  A small group of neighbors and interested parties attended the briefing on the upgrading of the Wastewater Treatment Plant that will break ground soon.  The discharge of treated effluent into Puget Sound waters was a concern by some when the Health Department did their briefing last month at the Illahee Community meeting.  In two years the upgrade should be complete and cleaner water will be available for irrigation and smaller and cleaner discharges into the Sound.  This is good news for those concerned about the health of the Sound, and for those concerned about water being available to replenish our aquifers.  The changes to the plant were marked on a big drawing that we took a picture of (see below).  They said if there were any questions to just contact them.
Jim Aho