Illahee 6/28/13 First Fawn Picture, Pigeons, Crab Seasons, Lost Cat, Another Buffer Reduction Email, Storm Ponds on Golf Course?

First Fawn Picture.  Thanks for those who share their photos including this one of a fawn, which was sent with the following note:

I was hoping for a better picture but the deer wouldn’t cooperate!

Pigeons.  We still haven’t determined who is raising the white pigeons that can be seen flying around Illahee.  The other day we noticed a first sighting of a native Band-tailed Pigeon in the Illahee Preserve and just happened to be able to get a picture.  When we came home there was white feather on the patio from the local white pigeon flock, which to us was a sign to share the photo, including one of the white feather.
Crab Seasons.  Not many days to go before this year’s crab season begins.  Below is a copy of this year’s regulations.  We will provide more information on crabbing later.
Lost Cat.  No picture yet on this lost cat, but here is the email.
We are missing our big yellow/orange older male cat “Woody”.  He is not a very friendly cat.  He’s been gone since last weekend sometime (we were out of town).  Can you please set a message out.  Our phone is 360-479-6756, address is 6232 Illahee Road.  Thank you so much. 
Another Buffer Reduction Email.  We heard at least a few residents registered their concerns about the buffer reduction application for a property where the North Tributary of Illahee Creek flows.  This one provides a few more details, including noting several drainage pipes emptying into the stream.  We found them the other day and took this photo.  We have also copied the email, but not the referenced document covering the water quality report.  We can include that in a future Update if anyone is interested.

After reviewing the subject Notice of Application 13 00816 and the HMP, walking most of the steam bed on 6/26/13, and hearing on 6/27/13 how Kitsap County appears to think this application is going to be an improvement for the area, I would like to register my opposition to the application to reduce buffers and relocate the stream for the following reasons:

Re:  Code Interpretation

1.  Kitsap County has evidently taken liberties in their interpretation of the Kitsap County Code in the following instances:

a.  In addition to allowing a buffer reduction of 50%, they are also allowing the minimum building setback of 15 feet to also be reduced by 50%.

b.  And, evidently it is common practice to allow driveways within the reduced buffers.  I can understand instances where driveways should be allowed within full buffers, but not within buffers already reduced by 50%.

2.  Section 19.300.315.A “Buffers and Building Setback” addresses details specific to each issue and in Item 9 it does not refer the building setbacks as a buffer to also be reduced by 50%, but rather allows only “Minor structural or impervious intrusions into the areas …”    The proposed setback of 7.5 feet is not a minor intrusion into the setback minimum of 15 feet.

9.    “Building or Impervious Surface Setback Lines. A building or impervious surface setback line of 15 feet is required from the edge of any fish and wildlife habitat conservation area buffer. Minor structural or impervious surface intrusions into the areas of the setback may be permitted if the department determines that such intrusions will not adversely impact the fish and wildlife habitat conservation area. The setback shall be identified on a site plan and filed as an attachment to the notice as required by 19.100.150 (Critical Area and Buffer Notice to Title).”

Re:  Stream Restoration Proposal

1.  Any lot with a stream running though it is problematic, especially when the lot is rectangular and the stream orientation runs the long length of the lot.

2.  Further complicating the issue is the area of the subject lot is encumbered by a number of manmade “enhancements” which include:

a.  Major amounts of fill dirt brought in to fill the south end of the ravine in which the stream channel historically ran.

b.  The wetland features of the area were eliminated, primarily to the west, with a curtain drain that pipes ground water directly into the stream channel.  In spite of the curtain drain the area reportedly still floods during heavy rains.

c.  A drainage pipe for other upland properties west of the stream also collects upland groundwater that is piped directly into the stream channel.

d.  Reports that at one time a pond was envisioned between 1st Street and Wise Street and that some excavation was initiated.

e.  Many of these items were likely the result of past actions and should be investigated.

f.  The stream and area also has a fecal coliform pollution problem.

3.  In spite of these manmade enhancements, the North Tributary of Illahee Creek has been flowing from the 1st Street culvert to the Wise Street culvert in a channel that is working, though there are blackberries covering roughly 80 feet of the upstream portion of the channel, which should not be a big restoration concern.   The stream bed is walkable from the culvert under Wise Street up to the last approximately 80 feet.  Flow control during major storms for this portion of the stream is provided by the smaller culvert on 1stStreet.

4.  It appears the stream restoration proposal of this application is to move the stream to the west and out of the way of any reduced buffer intrusion and take care of the blackberries.  Stream restoration projects are complex, not to mention those with other issues, and should be developed and designed by independent agencies and professionals, not beholden to any particular land owner.   In this case it doesn’t make sense to relocate/disturb a streambed that has been in operation for nearly 40 years and call it a ‘restoration project’ just to be able to build a house next to the same, but relocated, stream.

5.  The jurisdiction for any stream relocation lies with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and they should deny this application.

Re:  Water Quality (Fecal) Issues

1.  Water quality monitoring of the North Tributary of Illahee Creek was accomplished relatively recently which found high fecal coliform (FC) levels in the area.  This would correspond with the reports of residents noting sewage smells coming from the area.

2.  The information is found in the “Illahee Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP)” Grant G0700283 Final Report dated June 2011.  Section 4 “Water Quality Monitoring” provides the details that include three monitoring sites at the mouth of the Wise Street culvert.  The geometric mean for the three stations were 55, 22, and 79 with 50 being the standard for Illahee Creek, which indicates a fecal coliform pollution issue that needs to be addressed.

3.  For those who want to see the details of the report, Section 4 of the report is attached.

Re:  Water Quantity Issues

1.  The Illahee Creek Watershed has some major issues that are referenced in the Parametix report “Illahee Creek Watershed Surface Water Management Plan” which available on the county’s website at http://www.kitsapgov.com/dcd/community_plan/subareas/Illahee/Surfacewater_Management_Plan.htm.  Subsequently the Department of Ecology has funded a grant to Kitsap County Public Works to determine ways to control the stormwater surges affecting Illahee Creek.  That grant project is currently ongoing and any proposed stream restoration project in the area should be part of the efforts to minimize the effects of stormwater on the creek.

Storm Ponds on Golf Course?  Some residents noted a strange yellow tank type of vehicle at Rolling Hills Golf Course on Thursday.  It was a drilling rid investigating the possibility of putting in storm ponds on the golf course to help control the storm surges that are filling the Illahee Creek culvert with sediment.  Many think the culvert under Illahee Road will someday fail, similar to what happened with the Gilberton Creek culvert failure some years ago, so it is imperative the surges be controlled, which might possibly save the culvert from failure.

Jim Aho