Illahee 6/4/13 Compass Circle Deer, Illahee Road Project Nearly Complete, Aquifer Question & Response, Graffiti Response

Compass Circle Deer.  When the idea was posed years ago to restore the compass circle area in the Illahee Preserve into a wildlife meadow there were a number of people who were dubious, so when we were checking on the blackberry situation today (we have worked two years to get control of them) we were happy to see a deer grazing, and we noticed they were also helping with the blackberries by eating the new growth.

Illahee Road Project Nearly Complete.  It seems like a strange way to do it, but after they paved the current Illahee Road project, they are coming back and installing the access covers for where the stormwater grating piping connects with the main stormwater piping that was installed.  We tried to show the process in case you wondered what was going on.
Aquifer Question & Response.  We have been asked about the rationale for why septics are preferred over a sewer system for the Timbers Edge project.  We are taking portions of an email we saw on the subject as it provides a brief history of the concerns and what was done about them, and why our local aquifer is so important to our water supply and Illahee Creek.
The 1998 Comp Plan blanket zoned much of the area in question into an UL (Urban Low) designation as it roughly put the entire area between Bremerton and a future Silverdale into an Urban Growth designation.

In 2006 during the Comp Plan Update, the community hired engineering consultants who noted much of the area including Timbers Edge was critical to recharging the aquifers, and based on those studies the zoning designation was changed from UL (5-9 dua) to UR (Urban Restricted) (1-5 dua).

In 2008 as part of the Illahee Community Plan the zoning changed slightly as the area was zoned 1-4 dua and called the Illahee Greenbelt Zone or IGZ, which incidently has a minimum lot size of 10,890 sq ft.

In 2011, following the completion of the Bainbridge Island USGS Aquifer Study, hydrologist Dr. Joel Massmann gave a presentation at the Norm Dicks Government Center on March 29th, where he reported that using the USGS model, since the Bainbridge Island study also covered the Manette Peninsula area, that well withdrawals were already decreasing the base flows of Illahee Creek and likely affecting the salmonid population.

The Illahee aquifer situation is critical, which is what has been documented since at least 2005, and most recently verified by the USGS, who were at the Massmann presentation, and represent a truely independent government analysis of the aquifer situation.

If Timbers Edge had proceeded with their grandfathered and planned high density development, we would have requested a new SEPA threshold determination, based on the new information.  We were already talking with Ecology on how to proceed, and we were ready to go to the tribes for support.  The good news is that we haven’t had to go through another fight because this time the developers are listening to us and want to do the right thing, which is to support replenishing the aquifers and supporting the baseflows in the creek.

From what we see so far is they are satisfying many of the Hearing Examiner’s and the Commissioners’ conditions on the project by infiltrating the stormwater to the maximum extent possible, all of which benefits the already critical aquifer situation. 

It isn’t very often we have a developer who is listening to the community and attempting to do what the community wants, which in this case is protecting an aquifer and a salmon stream. 
Graffiti Response.  Below a response we received when we reported on the graffiti tagging of some Illahee Preserve signs.  Thank you to all those who read the updates, and for those who respond with helpful suggestions.  
Much as I hate those trail closure signs, I dislike even more the ignorant behavior of the graffiti mongers.  Might be worth considering something like this.
Jim Aho