Illahee Update 6/13/12 Illahee Creek Culvert, Timbers Edge Meeting, Fir Drive, Twin Towers, Homeless Camp Cleanup, Compass Circle Project, SMP Hearing, Illahee Tree

Illahee Creek Culvert Clearance.  The clearance for water to flow through the Illahee Creek culvert that goes under Illahee Road is now at 19 inches.  Without going back to previous Updates, it seems like this is the smallest opening we have seen.  When the culvert was put in the reported clearance was 7 feet, and the stabilized clear opening on the drawings shows a 5′ 6″ clearance or 66″.  
Upstream Surge Problem.  Slowly over the years the sediment in the culvert and along the flood plain has risen, in spite of the culvert being periodically cleaned out of sediment.  While you can’t dig out an entire flood plain, you can try to control the upstream storm surges that transports the sediment, which is what the recent Department of Ecology grant is supposed to help with.  As some have stated “It doesn’t do any good to keep cleaning out the culvert if you don’t try to take care of the upstream source of the problem.”  This is also why many are concerned with the possibility of the Timbers Edge development moving forward.  The development was approved by the Kitsap County Hearing Examiner and is currently on hold with financial issues.  In the photo below the banks of the creek look like they are covered with snow, but it is just the seed tufts from area popular trees.
Important Timbers Edge Meeting Scheduled.  With all the concerns about how the Timbers Edge development will affect Illahee, an informational meeting will be held on Monday evening, June 18, 2012 at the Sylvan Way library at 6:30 pm.  The project will be reviewed along with the conditions put on the project by the Hearing Examiner.  Attorney Ryan Vancil will discuss the various options available to the community as they deal with this approved, but financially challenged project.  As has been stated before, this development has the potential to have a major impact on Illahee and especially Illahee Creek base flows and the recharge of an aquifer that is already at water balance.

Fir Drive Road Improvement.  We were recently asked why Kitsap County Public Works is fixing a big road problem that residents complained about during the Timbers Edge hearings?  Residents were told by the county’s Department of Community Development (DCD) during the hearing that Fir Drive was in good shape to handle the traffic from the proposed development, and now two years later, at tax payers expense, the county is fixing one of the road issues residents, and the traffic expert hired by the community, pointed out as being a major problem.  We have to agree it appears the county (DCD?) messed up, and we understand why residents continue to be cynical.

Illahee’s Twin Towers.  The skyline at the top of Illahee hill is active with a second cell tower going in, next to the cell tower that is disguised at an over-sized flag pole.  There are some upset residents with the second tower going in as they felt there were better locations that were not looked at.  They are also upset with our fire district officials not checking with the nearby residents before they authorized them to put the second one in.  And, we have heard the adjacent neighbors property values will be lower since their house is within the fall zone of the tower, not to mention the visual impacts of having two towers next door.
Homeless Campsite Cleanup.  It has been some time since three homeless campsites have been used so it is now time to clean up the mess.  One site was kept rather clean and they left a rather neat pile of garbage.  The other two sites left everything scattered around the woods.  Preserve volunteers are looking at a time to clean up the sites and the Park’s Department has agreed to haul away the debris.
Compass Circle Project.  This project has had lots of hiccups from the beginning, with the latest being a problem with a tractor pin malfunction, that resulted in a support arm falling and breaking off a hydraulic fill casting, which ended the meadow ground work.  They are still trying to get the right part to fix the tractor and finish the job, which is slow because the work is being done by volunteers who have other jobs and priorities.

SMP Hearing.  There were several Illahee residents at the Planning Commission’s Public Hearing regarding the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Update.  We have copied one of the letters that was submitted at the end of this update.  The record is remaining open for another two weeks for those who would like to provide written comments.

Illahee Tree on Kitsap Sun Front Page.  Tuesday morning’s Kitsap Sun front page featured an Illahee tree, a 100 year copper beech tree, that is purported to have been planted by Teddy Roosevelt’s personal physician, Dr. Henry LaMotte.  LaMotte homesteaded the property at the mouth of Illahee Creek in 1909, that was later purchased by Dr. Ray Schutt around 1934.  The link to the article is:

Jim Aho

Kitsap County Planning Commissioners

Subject:  Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Update Hearing

Enclosures:  (1)  Letter to Kitsap County Commissioners re the 2012 Remand, dated June 6, 2012

(2)  Resolution 2012-01  “Illahee Community Board Response to 2012 Remand Options,” dated June 5, 2012 

1.  In accordance with the SMP Update process that solicits public comments, enclosures (1) and (2) are hereby submitted.

2.  While the subject matter of both enclosures (1) and (2) refers to the 2012 Comprehensive Plan Remand, the concerns are also with the SMP dual designation of the northern shoreline of the Illahee Community.  The dual designation along that stretch of shoreline puts a sensitive conservancy shoreline next to an upland residential area with an urban zoning density of 5-9 homes per acre.  How can the county say it is trying to protect a conservancy shoreline area that has a high habitat value when the upland properties are zoned with densities that have proven to be problematic for shoreline habitats? 

3.  Recommend this inconsistency be corrected either within the Remand process or the SMP Update review process, or both.

Illahee Update 6/10/12 Eel Grass, Shoreline Hearing, SMP Update, Remand Responses, Coyotes

Email Photo Problem.  A number of you who receive the email version of Illahee Updates reported problems recently with the size of our photos.  We first publish these updates for the website, which looks great when previewed, but then we copy it to an email, which evidently doesn’t work for some.  We have a choice how big to make the photos for the website so will try smaller ones in hopes it will solve the problems.  Please let us know if you have problems with the eel grass photo. 

Eel Grass.  When we walked a portion of the Illahee shoreline during last weeks low tides, there were several eel grass beds, which are considered great habitat for a number of marine animals.  While eel grass is among the seaweed it is not considered a seaweed, but is an underwater grass that grows in the spring and summer and dies back int he fall and winter.  The Department of Ecology has a good website for marine species and we have attached their site for eelgrass for those interested:

Shoreline Hearing.  The second and last public shoreline hearing before the Planning Commission will be held Monday (6/11/12) at 6 pm at Poulsbo’s City Hall.  The first hearing was last Tuesday in Port Orchard, which we didn’t attend, but have provided the link to the Kitsap Sun’s coverage that appeared in Thursday’s paper:  We would encourage residents to arrive at 5 pm to review the maps and materials before the actual hearing.

SMP Update.  The Shoreline Master Program is being updated with some significant changes.  Information about the Update can be found on the county’s website.  The link to the Staff Report to the Planning Commission is:  The link to the SMP website containing more information and also the draft SMP is:  The shoreline designations for Illahee are shown below with major portions of the northern shoreline having a duel designation that was upsetting to many as was expressed in their remand comments, i.e., they thought it wrong to try and protect a sensitive conservancy shoreline next to housing densities of 5-9 homes per acre (see the comments in the Remand report that follows).
Remand Responses.  We reported earlier on the Remand Hearing on Monday (6/4/12).  The coverage in the Kitsap Sun on Wednesday mentioned Illahee with the sentence “Illahee residents and others generally supported the plan to remove portions of Illahee from the urban growth area.”  The link to the article is:

Illahee Community Responses.  We saw several responses that are rather long but worth copying.  The first is from the IllaheeCommunity.Com board which came as a resolution.

Resolution 2012-01 

Illahee Community Board Response to 2012 Remand Options 

Whereas Illahee was founded 96 years ago and has maintained its community status and identity, and

Whereas the citizens of Illahee have been active and involved in the governance of its affairs, and

Whereas Illahee was placed in the Urban Growth Area (UGA) during the 1998 Comprehensive Plan Update, when the area between Bremerton and Silverdale was blanket zoned, and 

Whereas Illahee has over the last 14 years (after the 1998 placement into the UGA) acquired nearly 600 acres of forest, park and recreational lands for the Illahee Preserve (a Kitsap County Heritage Park), and

Whereas a large portion of the 600 acres of acquired land constituted the primary areas where Illahee’s future growth was projected to take place in 1998, and

Whereas Illahee’s only commercial area with urban services was removed from the community’s recommended sub-area boundary during a review process by the Planning Commission, and

Whereas Illahee is left with primarily natural resource lands, geological features, and recreational lands that greatly impede urban levels of development and supporting infrastructure, and

Whereas Illahee was built out as a rural and later a semi-rural community, and is mostly void of urban features and urban services, such as transportation, sewers, sidewalks, etc (with a few minor exceptions), and

Whereas the Growth Management Act specifically discourages adverse urban growth impacts to vulnerable aquifer recharge areas supporting potable water services and stream base flows (supporting anadromous fish), as is the situation with the Manette aquifer as verified in the Remand’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), and

Whereas the Growth Management Hearings Board has remanded the 2006 Comprehensive Plan back to Kitsap County to reconsider the size of its Urban Growth Areas,

We therefore respectfully request you consider the Illahee Community as a prime candidate for the necessary remand reductions and the reductions be considered in the following order of preference:   

(1)  Alternative 1 (for Central Kitsap and East Bremerton) be adopted along with a rural designation for the area east of Illahee Road to the shoreline and north to University Point (to further protect its sensitive conservancy shoreline), or 

(2)  Alternative 2 (for Central Kitsap and East Bremerton) be adopted as presented.

The second is a letter that is also long but says the same thing only a little differently.  

Subject:  The 2012 Remand

Request you choose Alternative 1 for the Illahee Community (as displayed on the East Bremerton and the Central Kitsap maps) with the addition of a rural connection east of Illahee Road to the shoreline extending south from University Point until it connects with the rural designation at old Illahee.

This request supports the conservancy designation given to the shoreline in the Shoreline Master Program by eliminating the conflicting situation of having a sensitive shoreline bordered by an upland zoning that would put 5-9 homes next to it.  The two classifications seem to be at odds with each other and have been an area of contention for many Illahee residents since the Comp Plan Update of 2006.

The request to make the shoreline area rural also eliminates a situation where the Illahee Community could be considered a rural island, which could complicate the providing of county services.

The primary reasons to support of this request are the natural features in Illahee which greatly limit urban densities and increase the costs of development, both to the developers and the county.  As two respected developers stated on Monday during the remand hearing, Illahee should not be in an urban growth area.

The final reason, and one that no one wants to talk about, is that the Manette aquifer is currently at water balance, and moreover, it is already impacting Illahee Creek’s ability to support fish, because local wells are decreasing the base flows in the creek.  The Illahee community has taken the initiative to have the scientific studies prepared and has had them presented at the Norm Dicks Center.  It is time for county to recognize these studies and adjust their planning efforts accordingly, i.e., look at ways to reduce the population projections for Illahee. 

Thank you for considering this request to take major portions of Illahee out of the UGA.

Beach Coyotes.  This morning a big coyote was seen going south along the beach.  A few years ago we used to see fox in the morning going north where we knew they had a den.  With seals, otters, eagles, raccoon and deer seen regularly along the shoreline, this was the first coyote seen on the beach by this family.  Now we just need to get a photo of one to share.

Jim Aho

Illahee Update 6/4/12 Remand Hearing, Extreme Summer Tides, Sea Stars, Geoducks, Deer


Remand Hearing.  We attended the remand hearing on Monday to see what was being said about the various alternatives being proposed for the County Commissioners to act on.  We were expecting a very large crowd and some contentious testimony, but what we saw as a good crowd with courteous and informative testimony.


Illahee Mentioned.  We were glad to see an Illahee resident there who spoke for Alternative 1 and a similar designation for the north shoreline area.  She also referenced the Illahee film and turned in a copy as justification for her position.  Later on in the hearing, during the testimony of several developers, there was reference to areas where developments should not occur, and Illahee was mentioned as one of those areas.  When developers are making these comments as public testimony it must be like vindication to those Illahee residents who felt that Illahee should never have been included in the urban growth area in the first place.

Extreme Summer Tides.  In case you haven’t noticed there are some extreme summer high and low tides this week.  Above is a tide chart that should be close and shows the extremes.  Below is a photo looking across the water toward Illahee State Park.

Sea Stars.  We found a couple of very large starfish, or sea stars, today.  The photo at the beginning of the post is a sunflower sea star.  This pink one among the seaweed was worth a picture.

Notice the tube feet on the picture below which have suction pads at the end.
Geoducks.  We also found some successful geoduck diggers at Illahee State Park today,  
some with some small geoducks, 
 and one very large geoduck,
which had a broken shell, which exposed its innards. 
Deer.  We’ve noticed more deer showing up during the daytime and caught this one feasting on an Asian pear tree and a plum tree.  They were also in the garden somehow getting through or around our 7′ high fence.
Jim Aho

Illahee Update 6/1/12 Deer, June Events, Preserve Wildlife Meadow, Remand Hearing, Shoreline Hearing, Timbers Edge Meeting, Ecology Grant

Deer.  With two major park areas (which total over 600 acres themselves), forests and riparian areas, and open space areas, it is no wonder there are lots of wildlife, including many deer, in Illahee.  Reports of fawns and twin fawns have come in, along with the normal complaints of deer eating roses, etc, not to mention gardens.  It is a rare day when one doesn’t see any deer during an extended walk in the area.  Thanks to those who send in pictures such as these.

Major June Events.  There are at least 4 major June 2012 events affecting Illahee.  (1)  The Preserve’s wildlife meadow restoration project, (2) the remand hearing on Monday(6/4), (3) the Shoreline hearings on Tuesday(6/5) in Port Orchard and the following Monday (6/11) in Poulsbo, and (4) a yet to be set up meeting on Timbers Edge.  This is a busy time of the year to fit in these events with others such as graduation parties, vacations, and outside recreation opportunities.

Wildlife Meadow.  The Compass Circle area in the Illahee Preserve has been cleared of felled trees and soon will be tilled in order to plant grass seed.  The plan is to get the area ready for planting ASAP in hopes to catch some June rainy days to help the grass seed germinate and get established.  The actual meadow area before the clearing was only about a quarter acre, and now is greater than an acre.  Removing the perimeter alders and clearing the blackberry bushes makes the area look refreshingly open which should  make for a great meadow.

Remand Hearing.  A special public remand hearing before the Kitsap County Commissioners will take place on Monday (6/5/12) at 5:30 pm at the County Administration building in Port Orchard.  The commissioners are hoping to hear from residents as to what zoning changes, if any, they would like to see for their community.  For Illahee residents who have had concerns about their being included in the Urban Growth Area (UGA), which brings along with it urban housing densities and urban infrastructures such as sewers, this is their opportunity to either suggest lowering the urban densities (Alternative 2) or removing portions of Illahee entirely from the UGA (Alternative 1).  We heard from a few residents who forwarded their preferences.

……  I cannot decipher the zoning map but wish to express the desire to not be included in an urban redistricting. I also have no desire to pay an enormous amount of money for a sewer hookup as I see no benefit to doing so………

I along with most people in the area support Alternative 1 to the CK UGA. I live on Hicks avenue, which Alternative 2 proposes running a new sewer line. A sewer line on Hicks avenue is completely unnecessary. The area has little development potential left and as you have stated in your emails and comments to the county it would be best to use septics in this rural area to maintain aquifer levels in support of Illahee creek. I can maybe see running sewer if this area were just starting to be developed say 30 years ago, but not today.

Shoreline Hearings.  There are two public hearings opportunities in June before the Planning Commission regarding the Shoreline Management Program (SMP) update.  The first is on Tuesday (6/6/12) beginning at 6 pm at the County Administration building in Port Orchard.  The second is next Monday (6/11/12) at the Poulsbo City Hall at 6 pm.  Both of these meeting will offer an open house at 5 pm preceding the hearing.  The purpose of these meetings are to hear testimony regarding the SMP update draft document that is available on the county website at:

Timbers Edge Meeting.  Later in June after the Remand Hearing and the SMP hearings, a meeting will be set up to discuss options available to residents regarding the expected trustee sale of the Timbers Edge project.  We will provide more information on this meeting as it becomes available.
Ecology Grant News.  We recently received a copy of Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown’s May newsletter, which provides more details about the recent Department of Ecology (DOE) grant to help control the stormwater surges that have plagued Illahee Creek for years and resulted in the brown sediment laden waters well out into the bay after every storm.  We will try to get more information and maps to better understand the magnitude of the project.  Thanks to the county for submitting the grant and to DOE for approving it and helping with a major portion of the funding.  The newsletter is attached above and the link to the newsletter is:

Jim Aho

Illahee Update 5/26/12 Stennis Work Party, Wildlife Meadow, Sewer Requirements, Sewer Plans, Responses, Deadline June 6th

Stennis Work Party.  There was no question about something big happening at the Illahee Preserve on Thursday (5/24/12) morning as between 50 and 60 cars were parked along Riddell Road near the Petersville entrance.  Sailors from the USS John C Stennis descended on the Preserve’s Compass Circle Wildlife Meadow Restoration Project to help move and cleanup over 60 felled perimeter alder trees so the meadow restoration project could continue moving ahead in hopes to get wildlife grasses planted and established during the quickly fading spring planting season.

Old Trails Decommissioned.  The branches and logs from the downed trees were used to decommission old and redundant trails near the newly established Compass Circle trail.  There were 14 trail sites that were closed off, which took nearly all the woody debris which left the compass circle area cleaned up. 

Much Thanks and Gratitude!  This was a big project and required many hardworking teams to finish it.  We were thankful that more people volunteered than we had hoped for because we needed them all to finish by noon.  We were hoping for 30-35 and instead ended up with 60+/-, and it worked out perfectly.  
Thank you to a great bunch of hardworking men and women sailors, and a few families.  
And thank you to the Stennis administration for suggesting this project as an opportunity to volunteer!

Urban Growth Area (UGA) Sewer Requirements.  We had several emails asking about how the Remand issue will affect sewer requirements for Illahee.  We also had questions about sewers related to the Timbers Edge project and we had a comment that our $20,000 estimate to hook up to the pressurized system the Timbers Edge development is planning on putting in was probably low and should be more like $25,000 to $30,000.  There is a requirement that Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) eventually be sewered.  So if Alternative 2 is adopted (which leaves Illahee in the UGA) then sewers would someday need to be installed, likely as shown below.  (Note that the TE sewer does not show up on the diagram below, probably because it is considered a temporary installation.)
Rural Sewer Requirements.  There are no requirements for sewers in those areas designated as rural, which is why the sewer plan shown below only shows sewers in the section of Illahee that the county says needs to remain urban.  
Remand Responses.  We were also advised that the Kitsap County website contains responses they have already received on the Remand issues.  We have attached the two links that contain the responses.  The first is a summary matrix of the comments and the second contains the comments themselves.

June 6th Deadline.  Illahee residents have a once in a lifetime opportunity to let the County Commissioners know what they would like to see happen in their community, whether they see themselves as rural (Illahee was zoned and considered a semi-rural before the Growth Management Act) or urban (a city) with infrastructure features, such as sewers, that are a requirement for anyone within the UGA.  This is a unique opportunity for residents to have a say in their destiny and that of their community.  We would like to publish some of your responses, anonymously if you wish, just send them to us.

Clarification.  We thought residents had to choose between Alternative 1 or 2, or a combination thereof.  It turns out we were wrong as there are several who would like to see the shoreline area in north Illahee be rural and taken out of the UGA entirely as the shoreline is one of the more pristine beaches in the county, primarily due to the steep bluffs above the shoreline.  They reminded us that Eric Baker said this request can be made.  The attitude of many residents during the creation of the Illahee Community Plan has been that there shouldn’t be pristine shoreline areas next to dense urbanization as this doesn’t seem right, nor in concert with shoreline regulations that are supposed to protect sensitive and pristine shorelines.   Again, let us know your thoughts on issues such as these so we can pass them on to the greater community.

Jim Aho

Illahee Update 5/23/12 Timbers Edge?, Bargain & Sale Deed Recorded, 21 Acres Secured, Remaining 15 Acre Development for Sale, Timbers Edge Development Impacts, Community Options? Meeting?

Timbers Edge & Kitsap Sun Legal Notices?  One of the most frequent questions we are asked is “What is happening with the Timbers Edge (TE) development?”  For several months in a row there were notices in the legal section of the Kitsap Sun about the impending trustee sale of the properties, and then nothing.  We expect things to pick up again in the paper, now that some of the “open space” property has been finally gifted to the Port of Illahee (a requirement for the developer when the Illahee Community dropped its appeal the the Shorelines Hearings Board).  
Timbers Edge properties are shown in purple.  
This map shows all the approved preliminary plats in Kitsap County.  
This map shows the location of Timbers Edge in Illahee.  

Bargain & Sale Deed Recorded.  Below is the notice we received last Thursday (5/17/12) that the “Bargain & Sale Deed” was finally recorded.  It took a number of months to be officially recorded due to an incomplete description of the properties being gifted, and eventually required a surveying group to determine the correct wording.

Gentlemen – At long last the Bargain and Sale Deed for the Timbers Edge 21 Acres has been recorded.  Recording # 201205170123.  When I get a copy back from Pacific Northwest Title I will send you a copy.  The land is in the hands of the Port, and secured from development.  Earlier development plans for this property included approximately 26 units, roads and a storm water pond to  be built on the “Future Development” tract, and another 6 units with roads on the “Open Space” tract – 32 lots and infrastructure which will never be developed due to the efforts of the Illahee community and the Port.   This land is now on the way to becoming a permanent part of the Illahee Forest Preserve.  


Well done. 

This map shows the original plat.  
This map shows the revised preliminary plat. 
21 Acres Secured.  The development plans for the original 36 acres of property along the steep and unstable banks of Illahee Creek and along the border of the Illahee Preserve have changed for the better over the last 8 years.  The 21 acres just gifted represents primarily riparian open space lands, not suitable for development, and a portion of the property that does not slope advantageously for handling storm water.  The 21 acres represents prime Illahee Creek riparian and wildlife habitat adjacent to the Illahee Preserve.

Remaining 15 Acre Development for Sale?  Now that the 21 acres have been officially removed from the development it is expected the earlier advertised trustee sale will move forward.  We have heard the developer continues to court possible investors in order that the development will be continue, but has also said he would sell it to the Illahee community.  If he is successful with developers we are left with a 15 acre development to deal with (with 10 acres being developed at 9 dwelling units/acre and 5 acres developed at 5 units/acre or 100+ homes).

Timbers Edge Development Impacts?  If the TE development moves forward as planned (and approved by the Hearing Examiner) there will be a number of adverse impacts, some of which are:

     1.  Roughly 100+ homes will be constructed on mostly 40′ by 90′ lots.
     2.  A roughly one mile pressurized sewer line will be run through historic Illahee to the Illahee North pump station.
     3.  Those residents living along the route could be required to hook up to the sewer line (est cost $20K or more) 
     3.  There will be a yet undetermined stormwater impacts.
     4.  There will be a yet undetermined aquifer impacts.
     5.  There will be a significant traffic impacts along Fir Drive.

Previous Efforts?  We have been asked about previous attempts to find funding with land trusts, grants, and the like.  All those previous efforts have failed, for a variety of reasons.  

Meeting to Discuss Other Options?  While earlier efforts to find a way to purchase the TE development have failed, we have been requested to have a meeting to discuss the situation and explore other possible options.  We have been in contact with attorney Ryan Vancil, who has represented the Illahee community groups through the TE proceedings, and he has consented to discuss other options with the community.  A number of residents have expressed interest in such a meeting so we will next try to contact other groups, such as the Illahee Community group, the Illahee Forest Preserve, the Port of Illahee, and other concerned residents and citizens in Kitsap County.

Still Supportive?  Many are wondering how long this project has gone on, and it appears it first started in 2004 and resulted in financial support from the beginning (with yearly contributions from residents averaging roughly $10,000 a year for many years).  Those who are still interested in seeing this through to the end say that this may be the opportunity we have been waiting for as there are some interesting possibilities:

     1.  Develop the area at a lower density with septic systems (a request that was made early on that was acceptable to the nearby residents and would have eliminated any community legal challenge).
     2.  Develop the old Avery homestead parcel (5 acres) at a lower density with septic systems and eventually sell the remaining forested parcels to the Illahee Preserve
     3.  Find a buyer for the old Avery homestead parcel who wants a small farm and eventually sell the forested area to the Illahee Preserve.
     4.  Solicit funding to purchase all the TE parcels for the Illahee Preserve.

Meeting Notice Later.  We will notify the community and interested parties when a meeting place and time has been scheduled.  In the meantime we would like to know your thoughts on the TE development and what you would like to see happen.

Jim Aho

Illahee Update 5/22/12 New Growth, Aquifers and Growth, Expert Reports, SEIS Report, Remand Requirement, Remand Options, Decision by June 2012

New Plant Growth.  After a couple days of rain the new growth in plants is readily visible as readily seen on sword ferns in and around the Preserve.

Aquifers and Growth.  We were reading the SEIS (Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement) that recently came out as part of the Remand currently going on in Kitsap County, and were happy to see that it confirms what Illahee residents have been saying and documenting for years, i.e., that Illahee has major groundwater and aquifer problems.  

Expert Reports.  The SEIS findings corroborate what the experts have been telling us that water rights in the aquifer have been over-allocated and that withdrawals affect the base flows in Illahee Creek.  Our own expert found the Manette aquifer is currently at water balance and well withdrawals are already impacting Illahee Creek’s ability to support fish. 

SEIS Report.  The SEIS is a big document so we have copied the applicable page (3-26) that discusses the issue.  The entire report can be found on the Kitsap County website at:
Applicable Section Enlarged.  Note the reference to Illahee at the end.
Why Be Involved?  Should residents be concerned?  Are we concerned about our ground water (drinking water)?  Is Illahee Creek, as a fish bearing stream, worth saving?  Is getting control of the excessive sediment that raises the flood plain and fills the Illahee Creek fish holes and culvert, not to mention polluting Puget Sound, a worthy cause worth fighting for?  These are questions residents have asked, and have requested more information about what can be done.  This is also the reason residents have funded a number of expert studies to make sure what they see in the stream can be scientifically supported.

Remand Requirement.  Kitsap County is required to resize (reduce) its Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) based on certain rationales, one of which can be environmental concerns.  Based on the SEIS and the communities own studies and reports, it would seem that Illahee is an area where resizing and reductions in the projected population growth are necessary.

Remand Options.  The options available to Illahee residents seem to be those noted on the county’s website as Alternative 1 and Alternative 2, or combinations thereof.  For instance if someone liked Alternative 1, but felt the shoreline area in north Illahee should be the lower density shown in Alternative 2, they would so state.  

Central Kitsap UGA Alternative 1 Map.  Yellow is urban low (5-9 homes/acre)
East Bremerton UGA Alternative 1 Map.  Gray is rural, one home for 5 acres.
Central Kitsap UGA Alternative 2 Map.  Blue is urban restricted (1-5 homes/acre) 
East Bremerton UGA Alternative 2 Map.  Green is Illahee Greenbelt (1-4 homes/acre)
Your Thoughts?  We have been asked by a number of residents to explain what the Remand issues are all about.  We know that some Illahee residents received notices from the county regarding recent meetings on the 15th and 17th to discuss the issues, and know that some of you attended, but still didn’t understand everything.  We have presented what we think are the main issues, and welcome other comments.

County Decision To Be Made By June 2012.  Time is of the essence if you want to voice your thoughts.  According to the legal notices in today’s Kitsap Sun, the public hearing will be at the Commissioner’s meeting on June 4, 2012, with written comments in by 4:30 pm on June 6, 2012. 

Jim Aho

Illahee Update 5/21/12 Ducks, Preserve Work Party, Illahee Store Comments, Press Release for Illahee Work, Sequel Film Item?, TE Update Coming

Ducks Find Ditch.  With 0.6 inches of rain today (5/21/12) we weren’t surprised to see a couple of Mallard ducks swimming in a local ditch.

Preserve Work Party on Thursday.  On Thursday morning a group of sailors from the John C. Stennis will volunteer to help clear the downed alder trees from the Compass Circle Restoration Project area.  We are still hoping to get the ground cleared and grass seed established before the summer dry season, and hope we haven’t lost our window of opportunity.  Thanks in advance to those groups of volunteers who step forward to help, and to the East Bremerton Rotary for making it happen!  We have been told to let the Kitsap Sun photographers know about these events to we will see if they make it.
Illahee Store Comments.  There has been lots of concerns about what will happen with the Illahee Store, with many hoping the Port of Illahee will eventually be able to purchase the property.  The following email seems to describe many of the issues involved:

re: the store…  removing the pumps is a 2 hr deal.  What the owner would almost certainly have to do before being able to sell the property is to certify that there is no sub-soil contamination by leaked petroleum products.  Certification would be done by drilling cores and doing soil testing, but as long as tanks are in place that’s a waste of time – if not leaking today, they will tomorrow.  Drilling is a long & loud process – you would be aware if it had happened.  Plus, in the second photo you can clearly see that the underground storage tanks are still in place.  Those tanks are almost certainly steel and they have almost certainly leaked.   Given proximity to the Sound, someone will eventually have to drain & excavate those tanks, then dig up any contaminated soil and have it trucked to a hazardous waste disposal facility.  It will cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Another option will be to declare strategic bankruptcy, default the property to the county for unpaid taxes, and the county will get stuck for the remediation.  Neither option I’m sure is very interesting to the owner.   Third option would be if some large corporate entity wanted the property badly enough to take on the cost of remediation as part of the transfer of ownership.  Given the size of the site and the level of traffic, that doesn’t seem likely to me.

Leasing the property to a new operator, on the other hand, would bring in a revenue stream while leaving the ticking time bomb undisturbed.  Of course the longer it sits the more expensive to clean.  It would be interesting to know what year the first underground storage tanks were installed on the site.  I expect someone knows the answer to that one.

I’m sure Port of Illahee (or anyone) would be glad to own this location if environmental certification is part of the deal.  Otherwise, it’s a pig in a poke.

County 5/21/12 Press Release.  We are happy to report Kitsap County has obtained grant funding for an important Illahee project.  The link for the Press Release that covers several projects is:    We have excerpted several paragraphs related to Illahee.

Kitsap County Green Stormwater Retrofit 
Projects Funded

(Port Orchard, WA) – Kitsap County received four grants from the Washington State Department of Ecology to build green stormwater retrofit projects in Manchester, Illahee, Silverdale, and in some County parks. The grant funds will be combined with funds from the Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Management utility. These green stormwater projects will use native plants, healthy soils, and permeable pavement to manage stormwater on properties in a cleaner, more natural way. They will result in healthier water in our streams and Puget Sound.

Illahee – to build bioretention areas (rain gardens) throughout the Illahee Creek Headwater drainage area, retrofit an existing stormwater pond, and build a new regional stormwater treatment facility at the headwaters of Illahee Creek
“In addition, I am excited about solving some stormwater problems in Illahee,” says Commissioner Brown. “The creek has suffered significant damage from flooding. Stormwater also flows directly into Puget Sound without treatment. This project will use natural features to slow and absorb stormwater, and will filter stormwater before it flows into Puget Sound. The Illahee community will certainly benefit from reduced flooding impacts and healthy waterways.”
Sequel Film Item?  Since most Ecology grants have a public information and education requirement, we are hoping the above Illahee storm water project can be documented from start to finish in the sequel film the Illahee community is proposing.

TE Update Coming.  There has been some updated information related to the Timbers Edge (TE) development that will require more space than can be added here, so soon there will be another update regarding TE.

Jim Aho

Illahee Update 5/18/12 Illahee Film Questions and Answers

Illahee Film Questions.  Lots of questions continue to be asked about the new Illahee film “Illahee -Saving Puget Sound One Watershed at a Time“.

BC Showing This Weekend?  Our filmmaker, Shelly Solomon, is showing her film series, which includes the Illahee film, this weekend in Vancouver, British Columbia at a “Restoration 2012: Beyond Borders” conference program entitled “Engaging Your Audience:  Promoting Restoration Via the Power of Film – Films shown in spectacular Blu-Ray”.

Reviews?  We are anxious to hear how the film is reviewed outside of Illahee.  We have been told that what the Illahee community has done is an inspirational story, so it would be interesting to see if others concur. 

Local Reviews?  There have been many favorable verbal comments about the film, but no real reviews yet, though there have been some short emails.  It would be good if someone would review the film so we could pass on their evaluation.

Another Showing?  We have also been asked if there will be another local showing.  We would like to see that happen in conjunction with Shelly’s most recent film “River as Spirit – Elwha River Flyover.”

On BKAT?  Eventually the Illahee film will be offered to the Bremerton Kitsap Access Television (BKAT) station to see if they would air the film, but not until after there is another local showing.

DVD or Blu-Ray Format?  Since most do not have the equipment to play Blu-Ray videos, regular DVDs comprised the bulk of the first order.  The initial order of DVD’s was for 200 DVDs and 20 Blu-Ray DVDs.

Cost To Fund the Film?  It is difficult to determine the real cost to produce the Illahee film because of the number of hours experts, the filmmaker, and residents spent that were pro bono (donated without costs).  Some have said we have a $40,000 film that cost just under $20,000.  What community members found out in the producing process was that nearly every graphic and photo used in the film has a cost associated with it, not to mention the cost of the helicopter flyover of the area, which was paid separately by residents and others in Kitsap County.  Major contributors to the film were the Department of Ecology, the Port of Illahee, the filmmaker, the Illahee Forest Preserve, and the Illahee Community.

Experts/Professionals.  All of the experts/professionals in the film donated their time, and include:  Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe;  Josh Brown, Kitsap County Commissioner; Joel Massmann, PhD, Keta Waters; Chris May, PhD, SSWM; Paul Dorn, Fisheries Biologist for Suquamish Tribe; and Derek Booth, PhD, Stillwater Sciences.

Replication Costs?  Another consideration following the completion of the film was how to ensure high quality replication and packaging, which were additional costs.  In order to continue to maintain the high standards that were set for the film, high quality copies and attractive packaging were ordered from the filmmaker.  

Suggested Contributions?  Determining what the suggested donation should be for the film required looking at recouping the replication costs and looking ahead to completing a sequel film to cover the important items that did not fit into this film, which included footage from a PhD oceanographer on the Puget Sound Partnership Science Panel and other residents with important Illahee history segments.  This resulted in the following recommended donations for the film:

DVDs – $20 each, orders of 3 or more – $15 each 
Blu-Rays – $25 each 

Sequel Film Date?  The anticipated date for the Illahee Sequel film is late 2013, or 2014, which of course depends on the availability of the filmmaker.  Also to be noted is the sequel film will require additional funding as the proceeds from the film sales will not cover all the anticipated costs.

Comments Welcomed.  Not many communities document their history and progress with film, and fewer yet are done in such a high quality and professional manner.  We would like to know your thoughts on the current film and also your thoughts and ideas regarding a sequel film.

Jim Aho

Illahee Update 5/15/12 Preserve Meeting Tonight, Deer Photo, Ditch Strawberries, Illahee Store?, Illahee Film in Blue-ray

Illahee Preserve Meeting Tonight. Sorry for the late notice, but the Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) meets tonight (5/15/12) at 6:30 pm at the Port of Illahee meeting room at the lower level of 5500 Illahee Road.  The IFP is the non-profit support group of the Illahee Preserve and has a similar agenda to the Stewardship group, but has funding authority for things like the Illahee Film, dedication rocks, materials and equipment for the Illahee Preserve, etc.  Visitors are always welcome to the IFP meetings and the Stewardship meetings, that meet the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm, with the IFP meeting quarterly on the middle month of each quarter (Feb, May, Aug, & Nov).  Please join the meeting if you are available.

8 Illahee Deer. There have been a number of residents talking about the number of deer in Illahee and several are trying to get group pictures.  We think the picture Roy sent us a week or so ago will be hard to beat with him capturing a photo of 8 deer in his pasture.

I thought you might like this photo of the deer here at Honeyhill Farm, enjoying the lush green pastures.   I just went out to walk up the driveway and eight deer were having a nice time eating the excellent pasture grass.    This is the most I have seen in one place.   Five were eating yesterday.     The goats and llamas are not at all bothered by them.

Ditch Strawberries. On a recent walk we notices a ditch full of strawberry plants and plan to see just how good they taste when they mature.  The location is along East Boulevard.

Illahee Store? It appears the owner of the Illahee store has removed the gas pumps and is cleaning up the area.  We haven’t heard if he has plans to open up the store or sell it.  Earlier we had heard the Port of Illahee was interested in obtaining it.  Let us know if you have any further information.

Notice the gas pumps have been removed.

Illahee Film in Blue-ray. The Illahee film will soon be available in a blue-ray version, with a limited number ordered.

Jim Aho