Lengthy Update. We just looked over the contents of this Update, which is rather lengthy, and wish we were reporting on wildlife items instead. On the other hand, all these issues eventually affect wildlife in the area so they are important, just not the kind of issues anyone wants to spend much time on. We are looking forward to the day when items such as these are behind us.
Gilberton Creek Culvert Replacement. The Gilberton Creek culvert replacement project is progressing nicely. The 10 foot diameter culvert is installed and seems almost 200 feet long. We walked through it but by the time we got to the middle it is so dark we could barely see where we were walking. The bottom of the culvert is filled with sediment and rocks mimicking the stream bed upstream and downstream. There is a nice link at the illaheecommunity.com website to a Kitsap Sun video of the construction that has taken place.
Illahee Creek Culvert Cleanout. Kitsap County crews spent nearly two weeks cleaning out the sediment that had filled the Illahee Creek culvert. They also redirected the stream channel that had migrated south and was rechannelizing following the Dec 3rd storm, back into the old stream channel. We heard they encountered a significant number of fish in the process, moving them past the work area as the fish migrated downstream into a capture net. We checked the opening upstream at the culvert inlet following the cleanout and it was 56 inches rather than the 19 inches it had been before the cleanout work began. On Sunday 9/21/08 the sediment had already increased 18 inches at the culvert inlet and the clear opening was 38 inches. There evidently were some issues with the work going on as we heard the Department of Fish and Wildlife put a stop work order out and called for an investigation and we are waiting to hear officially what those issues are.
Raised Flood Plain. Many of those who look at the situation at the Illahee Creek culvert wonder what can be done when the flood plain raises like it did during the December 3rd storm, reportedly 18 inches. When the storm raised the flood plain it nearly filled the culvert and did fill the old stream channel such that a new channel was formed to the south of the old channel and next to the new house structure. The county is hoping by cleaning out the culvert and redirecting the stream (by cleaning out the sediment that filled the old stream channel), that this will prevent a complete failure of the culvert.
Solution or Temporary Fix? - The problem that many see is that sediment is still being flushed down Illahee Creek by unchecked stormwater and will likely fill up the newly dug out culvert and stream bed. The problem is the flood plain upstream of the culvert has also raised by a like amount, possibly around 18 inches, and it becomes impossible to dig out the whole upstream flood plain. And thus the reason continually digging out the culvert sediment is considered a temporary fix.
Long Term Fixes Required. The consensus of many is that the sedimentation problems of Illahee Creek need to be resolved as soon as possible. The Port of Illahee grant with the Department of Ecology will soon identify long term fixes required to control the sedimentation problems. Sedimentation control is the first long term fix that needs to begin once the corrections are identified. The second concurrent long term fix is a likely culvert replacement or a bridge structure along with a corresponding raised road bed, which are the only known long term options identified to date when working with a raised flood plain.
Hearing Notice on McWilliams Road. We have been advised that there is a new hearing notice posted on McWillams Road. It evidently is for another reasonable use permit to go into the wetland buffer area north of McWilliams road where the vehicles are parked. This is the wetland area at the headwater of the North Tributary to Illahee Creek. This tributary supplies about a significant portion of the baseflow to Illahee Creek and residents in the area are wondering why we have wetland regulations since all the requests to go into the buffer areas seem to be approved. After watching what happened to the 3rd Street wetlands the residents aren’t sure wetlands get any protection by the county. The hearing scheduled for Sept 25th at 10 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Chambers in Port Orchard. Residents are reportedly looking at the file contents sometime before Thursday’s hearing and if we get a report from them we will pass it on.
New Sewer Notice & Hearing? We think there will be a sewer hearing notice going to residents along the proposed sewer route that extends from the Timbers Edge project to the Illahee North sewer pump station. The county failed to give notice of the sewer line that is part of the Timbers Edge project and now has agreed to let adjoining residents know of the sewer line. The county is also giving the residents a 14 day time span should a property owner along the route want to request a hearing, as long as the request is in writing.
Should Residents Request a Hearing? Since the county staff has already recommended approval the running of a sewer line through Illahee, does it do any good for residents to request a hearing? Some residents feel they have no say, while others are wanting more information about what is being proposed and wonder how this will affect them now and in the future. And, some say what is being planned is inappropriate. Bottom line is that only the residents along the route will be able to request a hearing on the sewer and stormwater plans.
Another SEPA Appeal? The sewer notice will likely also note that a SEPA appeal can be filed with a $500 fee. The Illahee Community Club wants residents to know that the Club has already filed a SEPA appeal with the county on this project, which includes the sewer plans. The hearing was held on August 28th, with many of the Club’s expert witnesses preparing written reports because they were unavailable for the rushed hearing, and are to have their reports in by September 30th. There is no reason for residents to file another SEPA appeal as far as we can determine. If residents are unfamiliar with the Club’s appeal, they can contact any of the Club’s board members.
Illlahee Community Plan News. We heard several of the Planning Commission members toured Illahee on Friday morning, in preparation for their deliberations on the Illahee Community Plan which is to take place on Tuesday, September 23rd, beginning at 9 am in the Commissioners’ Chambers. The Planning Commission public comment period is over but the public can attend the meeting to watch the deliberations. The Planning Commission will then make a recommendation to the County Commissioners, who will have the final say on the Plan. For anyone that is available, this may be an interesting meeting to attend to see how the Planning Commission views the Plan and also to see how they will vote. Note that we were hoping the final plan would have been available on the county website by now. We will have someone at the county on Monday morning who will hopefully be able to pick up a paper copy and also an electronic copy for posting on the Illahee community website, which is www.illaheecommunity.com.
Woods View Decision on Monday. The Illahee Community has been watching the Woods View project proceedings in South Kitsap with a number of Illahee residents attending the various hearings. The County Commissioners will be giving their decision on this project on Monday evening (9/22/08) at 7 pm. They have asked us to stand with them as a sign of support at the meeting. Their website address is www.bccg.org for more information.