Illahee 12/29/16 Photos, New Year’s Day Memorial Hike, Shelter Preparations, Preserve End of Year Financial Support

Photos. Thanks to Chris for the photos below “from yesterday’s walk, a Brown Creeper and a Hairy Woodpecker! Other species observed included a Golden-crowned Kinglet and several chickadees. Even in a slow time of the year there are many forest residents making their way in the Preserve.” 

 
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New Year’s Day Memorial Hike/Jog.  While taking photos of the future shelter site (see next item) Tabatha was putting flagging out for a New Year’s day memorial hike/jog that was advertised on several Facebook sites for a 9 am start.  We said we would let people know what the flagging was for in case they wanted to join in.
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Shelter Preparations.  A recent trip to the Illahee Preserve’s Almira parking lot found some grading work being done.  The East Bremerton Rotary Club has approved building a picnic shelter at the Almira entrance and the site looks like it is nearly ready for the install to begin.
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Preserve End of Year Financial Support.  We were requested to note that the Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) group, the 501.c.3 non-profit group that supports the Illahee Preserve, is in need of financial support.  Funds are used primarily to purchase properties like the 25.5 acres in 2015, and legal costs associated with trying to protect wetland and stream buffers.  Contributions to the IFP are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, and need to be postmarked by Dec 31, 2016 to be credited to 2016 taxes.  Contributions can be mailed to:  Illahee Forest Preserve 501.c.3, Jon Buesch Treasurer, 6253 East Blvd NE, Bremerton, Wa 98311.
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 12/25/16 Photos, Preserve Garbage Dumping, Guard Rail Damage, Mail Theft Chase, Goose Road Crossing?

Photos.  Thanks to Chris for the following photos taken in the Preserve last week.  We need help coming up with wildlife photos and really appreciate contributions like these!

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Preserve Garbage Dumping.  This was found at the Thompson Lane parking lot on Friday.  Volunteers usually find a way to take care of most dumping, but this was about 20 big bags so a call was made to the Park’s Department to see if they could help.  The second photo was some dumping along side another road in the Illahee area.

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Guard Rail Damage.  We saw some questions about a guard rail that was damaged near the Illahee Creek culvert so we took some photos.  The guard rail is designed to absorb the energy when impacted and that is what it did.  It sheared off two posts at it’s base, and then folded the steel rail like an accordion.  In the old days the old style of guard rails would have caused major damage to a vehicle and anyone inside.  It appears the people must have driven off after the accident based on the input below from the property owners.

We’re not aware of any one being hurt, or what caused the damage. The police do not have a report in their records.  We were  gone between 12:30 – 2:00 PM on Thursday, 12/22/16. Surprised when we returned home.

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Mail Theft Chase.  We came across the scene below on Saturday and found it had just happened during an attempt to catch someone stealing mail on School Street.  They said they were chasing a gray Mazda 3 hatchback when they lost control going around the corner.  They were disappointed when a deputy said he couldn’t help them despite their seeing the person going through mail boxes and stealing the mail.

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Goose Road Crossing?  There are a number of Canada geese in the area north of the Illahee Community Dock and as they consume more and more grass they are crossing Illahee Road.  There were residents who at one time wanted deer crossing signs along Illahee Road, and may now want goose crossing signs?

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Jim Aho

Illahee 12/18/16 Photos, Illahee Preserve 2017 Plans, Reduced Timbers Edge Moving Forward, Purchase Price?, Contamination Testing

Photos.  The last ones being of Illahee Creek and the culvert.

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Illahee Preserve 2017 Plans.  We came across a document that we aren’t sure if it is still official.  We think it should be as it highlights future and ambitious plans for the Illahee Preserve, including plans for “TE Phase II” for a “Proposed South Entrance, Homestead Park, & Native American Exhibit” that seems to be overtaken by recent events.
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Reduced Timbers Edge Moving Forward.  The Timbers Edge development was greatly reduced (by two-thirds) with the purchase last year of the 25.5 acres.  The hopes for state grant funding for the remaining third did not materialize, so unless something extraordinary happens, there will be a 45 lot reduced development on the site.
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We saw comments (by a member of the group that initially opposed TE) regarding the reduced development that indicates the owner and developer worked collaboratively with the community to ensure if a development went in it would not impact the base flows of Illahee Creek. 
 1.  They gave us an opportunity to purchase the most sensitive riparian parcels, and we did with the purchase of the 25.5 acres for the Illahee Preserve.  Not only did they give us the opportunity, they also contributed significantly themselves.  How often does that happen?
 
2.  Our hydrologeolgic studies noted the impact of sewers and the tightlining of the stormwater, on the base flows of Illahee Creek, and this amended application eliminates the sewer line in favor of a community drainfield, and the stormwater is being infiltrated on site.  They listened to us when we said the soils in this plateau area are nearly perfect for infiltration.  The planned drainfields and stormwater infiltration areas mimic the natural conditions existing on the site and will therefore continue to support the critical base flows in the creek.
 
3.  While it would always be nice to have larger lots the density is roughly 4 homes per acre and they are permitted (grandfathered) up to 9 homes per acre.  They are basically abiding with our Illahee Greenbelt Zoning of 1 – 4 homes per acre, which is almost unheard of for a property like this.  I don’t know how we could do any better with density.
 
4.  Additionally, they gave us an opportunity to look over the preliminary plans and determine access points for the Preserve and the drainfield area provides a nice border on the west side.
 
5.  And most importantly, if we should be able to come up with purchase funding, they will sell us the property.  This is another unbelievable gesture on their part.  Our problem is with timing at this point as we are up against the project clock that requires them to begin the project this coming Spring of 2017.  
 
6.  We worked hard this year trying various avenues for funding with the major emphasis on RCO funding and we eventually found a funding source that used our previous purchase as a match.  Kitsap County Parks even hired a contract grant writer to assist and we were hopeful until at the very end we realized state wide competition was rough and we didn’t fare as well as we hoped.  We did get verbal support for a 2017 appropriation this upcoming 2017 legislative session, but it wouldn’t be available until summer at the earliest, which doesn’t meet the project start date (though it could work only if the start was slow until the funding was secured.)
 
7.  The bottom line — my assessment is we are most fortunate to have a property owner and a developer who have bent over backwards to work with us.  There may be a few minor details to work on if we don’t come up with the purchase funds, but overall things couldn’t have gone better and I have a great respect for Mr. Tallman and Mr. Johnson, and thank them for patience and generosity.
Purchase Price?  Inquiries regarding what it would take to purchase the development.  Without an Options Agreement it would be guessing but think the earlier $970K could be reduced to about $820K.  One person is willing to start a fund with a $10K gift and a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from an IRA was received recently.  If there is enough interest a capital campaign can be organized.  Let us know if you would like to help with a campaign or to contribute, or just want further details and we will pass the information on.
 
Contamination Testing.  This past week an environmental firm came to test the soil around the petroleum underground storage tanks at the Illahee Food Store site.  We watched the process with great interest and when those drilling and preparing the samples were seen smelling a particular sample and said it smelled of gas, we can only conclude contamination will also found by the testing lab.  
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p1030199Evidently the Port also felt this was a good possibility as we found the following resolution on their website:
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We will continue to follow this story as there are many concerned about the store being vacant and abandoned for nearly 15 years, and have expressed support for the Port acquiring it.
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 12/11/16 Photos, Humming Bird Correction, Illahee Preserve Work Party, Old Gas Tanks Inspected, Illahee Store UST Drilling Monday, Port Meeting Wednesday

Photos.

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Humming Bird Correction.  Thanks to Paul for correcting me as I incorrectly identified the humming bird in the last Update.   
 
The exposure is a bit dark, but the hummingbird in the photo appears to be a male Anna’s hummingbird.  If the photo was taken recently, the photographed bird cannot be a rufous.  Rufouses winter in Mexico and along the Gulf Coast of the United States.  The larger and hardier Anna’s hummingbirds are year-round residents in western Washington.  Anna’s hummers are the birds hitting the hummingbird feeders hard right now.
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Illahee Preserve Work Party.  A week ago a small group of Olympic High School volunteers helped haul rocks, which are many times heavier than wood chips, to fill a particularly wet section of a trail.  
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Old Gas Tanks Inspected.  The Department of Ecology recently conducted their routine inspection of the gas tanks at the Illahee Store.  The inspector said she would like to have these tanks taken care of as they have not received the required cathodic protection (necessary for steel tanks) when the power to the store was shut off many years ago.
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Illahee Store UST Drilling Monday.  We found some colorful “locate” markings around the vacated Illahee Food Store the other day and understand soil testing will occur Monday, to determine if the underground gas storage tanks ever had any leaks.  We also noted the septic system was checked the other day and the drainfield lines located. 
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Port Meeting Wednesday.  Just a reminder the Port of Illahee monthly meeting is this Wednesday (12/14/16) at 5 pm.  Also a reminder that two port commissioner positions will be up next year and interested residents need to apply in May for the November 2017 election.
 
Jim Aho