>Aquifer Briefing Report 4-1-11


Aquifer Briefing (3/29/11).  On March 29, 2011 Dr. Joel Massman gave an informative presentation on aquifer modeling and specifically how the Bainbridge Island aquifer study and model related to Illahee Creek and the surrounding area.

Many Engineers and Hydrologists Attended.  We were surprised at the number of engineers, hydrologists, and those working in the water industry, who attended the briefing, since the press releases sent to local papers did not get printed.  Other educators and scientists also attended such that it seemed like the aquifer topic appealed primarily to those with scientific backgrounds and those with advanced degrees with at least 4 Ph.D’s, including Dr. Massmann in attendance.

Illahee Residents – Low Numbers?  We were also surprised that there weren’t more Illahee residents in attendance, though a number of residents who could not attend provided questions to ask.  There were a total of 14 signs placed throughout the Illahee community, and in the days preceding the briefing we were told by many that they like receiving the summaries of meetings so they don’t feel they need to attend in order to be informed.  We also heard some got the date wrong and showed up on Wednesday. 

Bremerton Kitsap Access Television (BKAT).  The briefing was video taped by BKAT for later showings, which will help those who could not attend on Tuesday.  We will let you know when they will be shown on Channel 12.

Briefing Content.  We do not have a copy of the Power Point of the briefing so this will be very short and succinct.  The Bainbridge Island study did extend over onto the Kitsap Peninsula which takes in Illahee.  The USGS gave Dr. Massmann access to their modeling software so he was able to use the model to extrapolate the affect of wells on the flows on Illahee Creek.  The modeling exercise showed that there is a significant effect on the summer base flows of Illahee Creek from the various wells along Illahee Creek.  

Many Questions Followed.  Following the briefing questions from the audience and written ones from those who could not attend, were fielded by Dr. Massmann, with a few fielded by Dr. Matt Bachmann from the USGS.  Comments from some Illahee residents were that the questions helped get the discussions down from the theoretical to the practical issues that local citizens are dealing with.

Responses (Answers) Later.  We will publish some of the more pertinent and interesting questions and answers when we get a tape of the event.  One question and response proved interesting which was — When will the USGS Kitsap aquifer study be completed?  The answer was in another 4 years.  (Comment – That is the reason the Port wanted to have Dr. Massmann review the USGS BI Study could give us more information on Illahee Creek, which many residents consider already at a critical state with respect to low base flows.)

Comments from Other Attendees?  We would like to hear from others who attended the briefing on their thoughts.  We did receive emails the next day thanking those who arranged for the briefing, which would be the Port of Illahee with funding from the Department of Ecology.

Jim Aho

>Kitsap Sun Aquifer Article 3-29-11


Deciding Whether to Attend Aquifer Meeting Tonight?  If you are trying to decide whether to attend the Aquifer Briefing tonight (3/29) at 6:30 pm at the Norm Dicks Center, you might want to read the following article in the Kitsap Sun this morning.  We have attached it below and also linked it http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/mar/28/as-expected-study-predicts-declinging-drinking/.  We will be learning about some of the same issues as they affect Illahee and the surrounding community from a noted hydrologist.

Aquifers Also Feed Illahee Creek.  Not only do our aquifers provide our drinking water, they also provide for the base flow in Illahee Creek, which is necessary to maintain if the stream is to continue to be fish bearing.  This will also be discussed.

Jim Aho

Kitsap Sun                                             Tuesday March 29, 2011
As expected, study predicts declining drinking water supply on Bainbridge
By Tristan Baurick
Monday, March 28, 2011

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — The results of a U.S. Geological Survey study of Bainbridge’s groundwater supply were released this week, almost eight months after its preliminary results indicated the island’s main sources of drinking water have and will continue to decline over the next two decades.
USGS hydrologist Lonna Frans said there is no significant difference between the preliminary results, which were released in July, and the final 95-page report. It took eight months to formally release the report because of the USGS’s extensive review process, she said.
The study’s aim was to develop a model that can simulate the potential impacts of increased groundwater pumping over the next 25 years.
Under likely conditions, the large Fletcher Bay Aquifer system, from which many high-capacity city and public utility wells draw water, is likely to drop by up to 10 feet by 2035, according to the study’s preliminary results.
None of the study’s results showed saltwater intrusion in island wells. Some residents with nearshore wells have expressed concerns about saltwater seeping into wells as their levels decline.
“The groundwater model gives us the tools necessary to make informed and sustainable water resource decisions,” city water resources specialist Cami Apfelbeck said this week.
City water resources experts had recently stated that island aquifers were stable, and that any declines were temporary, despite a city-commissioned report that indicated otherwise in 2009.
The USGS report’s findings also run counter to the notion that the island’s groundwater levels are stable.
“Stable means things aren’t changing, and that’s not necessarily the case,” Frans said when the preliminary results were released. “The (USGS study) does show decreases, and pumping is likely (the cause).”
Groundwater is the island’s sole source of drinking water. Concerns about a dwindling supply could steer policy decisions for managing population growth and development.
City leaders expressed concern when the preliminary results were released, but decided to put aside discussion until the final report was released.
Water use has been a contentious topic on Bainbridge. Ensuring that the island has an adequate water supply was the top concern among the issues that worry residents, according to a 2008 opinion survey. Some residents fear that the limited supply fail to meet the demand of a growing population, and that policies should be enacted to better-manage development and water use.
The full USGS groundwater report is available for download at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2011/5021/.

>Press Release for Aquifer Meeting 3/29/11 3-17-11


Illahee Aquifer Issues.  Over the years some Illahee residents have been concerned about the increasingly low baseflows in Illahee Creek during periods when there is no or little precipitation, primarily in the summer time.  The baseflows in Illahee Creek are supplied from springs (or seeps) that emanate from the shallow aquifers.  

Base Flows Critical for Fish.  Adequate baseflows during dry periods is crucial for fish survival and are of special concern for those hoping at restoring Illahee Creek’s fish (salmonids) population to near historic levels.

Aspect Consulting Report.  A number of years ago Aspect Consulting did an analysis of Illahee Creek during one of the dry summer months to identify the primary locations of the springs supplying the creek and the flows coming from the seeps.  The study noted the importance of infiltration of rainwater into the groundwater systems and aquifers, and noted that a proposal to run stormwater to the Sound could decrease the baseflow in Illahee Creek by 15 to 20%.

Parametrix Report.  When the Port of Illahee and the Department of Ecology funded the engineering firm Parametrix to conduct a watershed study of Illahee Creek, they included a requirement for an Aquifer Protection Plan to be prepared for the creek.  The plan was sub-contracted out to Keta Waters, an engineering firm specializing in hydrology.

June 2009 Briefing.  The Aquifer Protection Plan for Illahee Creek was presented at a briefing on June 30, 2009 at the Norm Dicks Center, during which Dr. Joel Massmann of Keta Waters, noted that the Manette Aquifer, which underlies much of Illahee and Illahee Creek, may be at water balance according to his calculations.  This was the first time many had heard this and in talking to those attending, many did not understand the situation or the implications.  

Water Balance?  As we understood the presentation, the Manette aquifer is recharged solely by the infiltration of rainwater, and that recharge amount is also what is being withdrawn for drinking water and what is being discharged into creeks such as Illahee.  In other words this aquifer may be essentially at water balance.  It will take more studies to confirm this and they were recently authorized, but it will take a number of years before they will be completed.

Implications of Being at Water Balance.  If Dr. Massmann is correct, then it seems to us that we should be paying attention to this situation, and understand possible implications:  such as What happens if we have a relatively dry rainy season, or several in a row, and we withdraw more water than is infiltrated?   Are we in danger of salt water intrusion into the aquifer?

Bainbridge Island USGS Aquifer Study Issued 3/1/11.  Dr. Massmann has been invited back to give another briefing on this subject, and will have some more information which he hopes to get from the USGS study of the Bainbridge Island aquifers.  This will be another opportunity for residents to better understand the groundwater and aquifer system that lies under us, and what we can do to make sure it remains a viable water resource into the future.

The Press Release.  We thought it might be helpful to preface the following press release with our thoughts and concerns in hopes that residents would want to learn more at the briefing: 

A Briefing of the Manette Peninsula Aquifer and the Illahee Watershed Aquifer Protection Plan by Dr. Joel Massmann
A briefing discussing the underlying aquifers in Illahee and the surrounding area will be held at the Norm Dicks Government Center on the evening of March 29, 2011 from 6:30-8 pm.
Dr. Joel Massmann will discuss the underlying aquifers and groundwater recharge on the Manette Peninsula and within the Illahee Creek watershed.  The presentation will address questions regarding how much fresh water is in these aquifers, where does this fresh water come from,  and where does it go.  These questions will be described in the context of relationships between groundwater for municipal supply and groundwater to support stream flow and wetlands. 
In June 2009, Dr. Massmann noted that the Manette Aquifer may essentially be at water balance and the water rights for the aquifer may have been over-allocated. (Also in June 2009 the Kitsap County Commissioners adopted a “Water as a Resource Policy” for Kitsap County.)   Since that time the Kitsap PUD and local water purveyors have funded USGS to conduct a detailed study of the Kitsap Peninsula that will take several years to complete.  In the meantime the implications of local aquifers possibly at water balance needs to be addressed.  Dr. Massmann has been invited back to discuss the aquifer issues again and any possible extrapolations for Illahee from the USGS Groundwater Study of Bainbridge Island that was issued on March 1, 2011.  He will also provide specific recommendations for protecting aquifers, which are the sole source of our drinking water on the Manette Peninsula.
Dr. Massmann has over twenty-five years of experience as a groundwater consultant.  He is the founder of Keta Waters and was previously a faculty member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington.
Dr. Massmann’s study of the local aquifers was funded in part over the last few years by grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Washington State Department of Ecology; and by the Port of Illahee, the Illahee Forest Preserve, and the Illahee Community.  

Comments?  If you have any thoughts on this subject, or even disagreements with our comments, we would like to hear them and will include them in a future update, or you can comment on the blog http://illaheecommunity.blogspot.com/ or Facebook.

Jim Aho

>Culvert Concerns 1-15-11


Status of Culvert?  We have been asked about the status of the Illahee Creek culvert and whether the emergency clean-out by the county a few weeks ago has improved the situation.  For those who are new to these Updates or the Blog site, many think the culvert is in jeopardy and could fail, and those comments can be found earlier reports.
Saturday Measurements.  We measured the clear opening of the culvert on Saturday morning (1/15/11) before the rains and found essentially the same clear opening that was measured before the emergency clean-out.  In other words the emergency clean-out DID NOT decrease the sediment levels at the inlet end of the culvert.  See photo of culvert inlet.

Limited Measurement Opportunities.  We had to wait until there was a break in the rains as the creek water becomes too murky and too dangerous to measure when the stream is flowing full.  For those interested in actual measurements, there was a maximum of 29 inches of clearance before the clean-out, and today the clear measurements varied between 27 and 30 inches, depending where in the stream we took the measurements.

Large Logs Moving Toward The Culvert!  We received an email on Friday, along with some photos, alerting us the the fact that there are several upstream areas where there are large logs that seem to be moving downstream.  We received permission from the upstream property owner and took the attached photos.

What Happens if Logs Block Culvert?  So what will happen if the logs block the culvert?  First of all it will take a large rain to cause these logs to move, and secondly some of them would go through the culvert as the high velocity of the flow in the culvert would tend to move them quickly downstream.  If they should get lodged inside or in front of the culvert, the upstream basin area would quickly fill.  The increased pressure might be enough to force a blockage on through, but if not, the water would back up until it overflows at the lowest point of Illahee Road.  That point is probably just opposite the Krigsman’s driveway and would likely cause a road washout.

Why Report This?  The reason we are reporting this is because first of all it is a safety issued and secondly, something needs to be done to help resolve the storm surges that ravage Illahee Creek.  The storm surges have been polluting Puget Sound with large amounts of sediment for over 40 years and has been a concern for residents and the Port.  It became an even greater concern when everyone realized the relatively new culvert (installed in 1999) was also filling with sediment as the flood plain kept rising.  

Raised Flood Plains.  There is not much anyone can do with a raised flood plain.  Someone forwarded us the City of Issaquah’s Frequently Asked Questions on Flooding, which answers many of the questions Illahee residents have raised about the flood plain issues including dredging.  The link is:  http://www.ci.issaquah.wa.us/Page.asp?NavID=442 and their first sentences regarding dredging are:

Current Federal and State environmental regulations make it extremely difficult to justify stream channel dredging as a means to control flooding. While it can be done, it is very costly and time consuming to propose such work. …..

Time to Admit Culvert Failure.  We think it is time to admit that while the culvert hasn’t actually failed, it has technically failed.  It is time to look at either a significant culvert extension or a bridge for Illahee Creek.  But an extension or bridge would only resolve the threat to Illahee Road, and not the storm surge problem.

Time to Secure Golf Course.  So concurrently with correcting the failed culvert, it is finally time, after over 40 years of this small stream polluting Puget Sound, that the storm surges be brought under control.  The logical place for this to be done is at Rolling Hills Golf Course, so we would urge the county to finish the paper work to secure the golf course, which would be a good first step.

Please Let Us Know Your Thoughts!

Jim Aho

>Beach Sediment&State Park Pics – 1-10-11


December Storm Sediment Deposits.   There was much concern a month ago (on 12/12/10) when heavy rains caused Illahee Creek to overflow its banks and filled the stream with sediment.  The velocity of the stream successfully carried the sediment through the culvert and deposited it on the flood plain and at the mouth of the creek.  We have been monitoring the culvert to see if the emergency clean out of the downstream end of the culvert is helping and will be reporting on that in a later update.

High Daylight Tides.  Because of the high daylight hour tides, it has been difficult to look at the sediment deposits in the nearshore area, that is until this past weekend.  We took some pictures and videos of the sediment deposits.  The first photo looks south at the mouth of the stream.  The second looks north toward the Illahee community dock.  The raised area to the north used to look more like a valley or depression (to give you a visual image of what it looked like before the storm), and is an indication of the amount of sediment that was deposited by the December storm waters.

Concerned Residents.  We have heard from some of the residents near the mouth of the creek who were amazed at the sediment buildup from the December storm.  Below is an email of from a local homeowner who has evidently been impacted with increased flood insurance requirements.

As the owners of one of the properties at the mouth of Illahee Creek, we have certainly noticed and been concerned by the increased sediment in Dr. Schutt’s reservoir and the entire basin.  However, It seems there is too much focus on the culvert as this will not impact the rising elevation or sediment build up at the mouth.  This is presently impacting home owners and the community as the sediment build up effects the marine life in the bay, as well as the elevation of the flood plain.  The real problems lie more up stream with the flow of water and amount of sediment entering Illahee Creek and flowing down stream to the mouth as you noted below.  Correct that problem and you will not need to raise the culvert.  We would love to see more dredging or digging out of the flood plain even a few truck loads as a nice gesture as this problem has already cost home owners in the area with mandatory flood insurance requirements from mortgage lenders. 

Our Comments.  We concur with the above letter about the need to correct the upstream storm surges and the fact that the large sediment deposits are affecting marine life.  We are not sure though, that there is enough money or the environmental approvals necessary to dredge out a raised flood plain.

Illahee State Park Creek Sediment?  It appeared to us that there were some significant sediment deposits at the mouth of Illahee State Park creek, which is at the north end of the park.  We haven’t talked much about this small creek, but it a recognized creek by the state, and is monitored by the Health District.  If anyone has information on whether our observation of the sediment buildup is correct, please let us know.

Illahee State Park Improvements.  We have been asked how the Illahee State Park sewer improvements have been progressing.  The park has been closed because of the ongoing work and we have not talked with the park rangers, but we did take some pictures near the beach parking area, during a beach walk on Sunday.  If you have any information on the progress, please let us know so we can pass it on.

>Wildlife&Miscellaneous – 12/28/10

>Deer Photos.  The last set of deer photos we forwarded received some interesting comments.

Multi-Colored Deer.  Over the years we have heard many comment about the white markings on a good number of the deer in Illahee.  We thought it was the remnant (recessive) markings from a reported big albino buck from many years ago.  What we received the other day in an email indicates it could be otherwise.  Here is what we received (note we have removed the names, since we only use them if given specific permission, and we italicize the responses, so you know they were written by others): 
I think this has come up before but I thought I would forward it anyway.  I showed my brother-in-law the photo of the multi-colored deer that you sent.  He became very interested and looked up what he could find about it.  We recently saw a piebald deer in our yard but it we don’t think it was the same one as in your picture.  If this information is of any value do with it as you wish.

You have a Piebald Blacktail Deer living in your neighborhood.  Pretty rare.  In fact this may be one of the best close up pictures on the internet.


The term Piebald means “of different colors”.  This term is usually associated with horses, though we normally refer to such horses as pintos, paints, or Appaloosas. A piebald animal is one whose hair or fur has a spotted, rather than a solid color pattern.  Depending on what part of the U.S you are from piebald deer are sometimes referred to as pintos.

A genetic variation or “defect” is what produces the piebald condition in deer.  It is not a result of parasites or diseases. Piebald deer are colored white and brown similar to a pinto horse. Sometimes they appear almost entirely white.

Many piebald deer have some of the following conditions associated with the coloration; bowing of the nose (Roman nose), short legs, arching spine (scoliosis), and short lower jaws.

It is said that Piebalds consist of less than 1% of the deer population

Many people confuse the piebald deer with the albino deer.


Albino deer are totally white, and true albinos have pink eyes from a lack of pigement in their eyes. Albanism results from recessive genes.

White deer are naturally easily mistaken for albinos, which they are not. The true albino, besides having all white hair, also has pink eyes and pink hooves, something the white deer do not have.

Both the white deer and the albino deer, and perhaps, to a lesser extent the piebald deer, are at a disadvantage in the wild as they are easily spotted except in conditions of heavy snow. This lack of camouflage, along with poorer health keep the population of these abnormally colored deer low.


Melanistic deer are the complete opposite of an Albino.  Being very dark, often approaching totally black. Melanism results from overproduction of pigment and is far less common than albinism or Piebald.

Biologists Often Respond.  We have several biologist who receive these Updates and will respond on issues like these.  We will let you know if they do and what they say.

Another Culvert Cleanout?  While on a walk on Monday (12/27/10) it appeared the County was cleaning out the Illahee Creek culvert again.  Upon a closer look (see attached photos), they were removing logs from the cleanout area where they were last week.  Why they would be removing logs, or woody debris at the downstream end of a culvert is beyond understanding.  Normally biologists look at adding what they call LWD, or large woody debris, into streams.  We could understand them wanting to remove it if it was blocking a culvert, but to remove it at the downstream end, and close to the mouth of the stream, just doesn’t make sense to us.  We did hear it was at the request of the landowner, and it could be that the sediment removal caused a nearby tree to fall into the stream, but at some point we need to let streams go where they want to go.  That is why we have channel migration zones, or a CMZ.  Theoretically streams are supposed to be able to flow unimpeded in a CMZ and especially in a flood plain.  Upstream Illahee Creek migrates back and forth in the flood plain, which has caused problems for some of the property owners, and is understood to be part of the natural processes.  We hope a biologist will step in and help us understand why there are different approaches taking place upstream and downstream.

Other Input?  We know there are others concerned about the culvert and would like to know your thoughts.  In a later Update we will discuss the massive deposition of sediment that has been deposited at the mouth of the creek.

Jim Aho  

>Emergency Culvert Clean-out Completed – 12/23/10

>Emergency Culvert Cleanout.  The Illahee Creek culvert under Illahee Road received an emergency clean-out on Tuesday (12/21/10).

What Was The Emergency?  We have been asked “What was the emergency?” and as stated in the request from the county it was excessive sedimentation in the culvert that posed a safety problem and a threat to private property.  The problem is the culvert continues to fill with sediment and has local residents and the county concerned that at some point it could fail and possibly washout the road, the safety issue.

What Was Done?  At the downstream end of the culvert an excavator dug out a large hole (we estimate it was about 12 feet wide, and went downstream about 15 feet and into the culvert about 7 feet, and went down about 6 feet) which would contain about 60 yards of sediment.  We counted 10 truck loads, each containing about 6 yards, which also would equate to 60 yards of sediment removed.

Will It Help?  The real question is will it help?  It should help some in the short term, that is, until the next big storm.  The problem is the continual need to dredge is a maintenance headache and not the ultimate solution (which is to correct the upstream surges that bring down the sediment).

Future Culvert Meeting?  The Illahee Community Club (ICC) has asked for a meeting with county representatives to discuss the culvert situation and the public works has agreed, though they would also like to see if the golf course gifting will go through, as that is the logical place to stop the surges.  We will ask the ICC and the county when such a meeting might take place.

Culvert Photos.  We have same pictures of the excavation and the culvert before the clean-out and during the clean-out, and when the current 0.6 inches of rain, which has filled the stream and is putting brown silt laden water out into Puget Sound stops, we will take some photos and measurements, to see it the clean-out has begun to work.

Jim Aho

>Shoreline Issues – 12/22/10


3 Plus Miles of Shorelines in Illahee.  The Illahee Community has just over 3 miles of shoreline that runs from the north end of the Cheney Estates (or 30th Street) to University Point (see attached).

Changes Coming?  Kitsap County is currently in the middle of an effort to update their Shoreline Master Program (SMP), which is required by the State and is being funded by the Department of Ecology.  The update will effect communities and the shorelines of the county and will most likely affect the Illahee community.

“No Net Loss” Requirement.  One of the requirements of the state is that the county’s SMP have the goal that there be “no net loss” of ecological functions.  This is one of the goals the Task Force (established to help advise the county) is working on, and will soon be looking at shoreline classifications.

Current Illahee SMP Classifications.  The current classifications of the shorelines in Illahee ranges from Conservancy to Rural to Semi-Rural (see second attachment). 

Task Force Meetings.  Monthly SMP Task Force meeting have been going on for some time and they will reportedly start discussing whether the current shoreline classifications should be changed.

Shoreline Inventory First.  Before the Task Force can start on classifications a Shoreline Inventory and Characterization (I&C) Report had to be submitted to the Planning Commission for its approval.  The I&C is a new product for the SMP and some have questioned both its intent and supposed lack of breadth (see link to Kitsap Sun article in a following paragraph).

I&C Report Size.  The I&C report covers all the marine beaches of Kitsap County by drift cell and further breakdowns the drift cells into “Nearshore Assessment Units” or NAUs    In other words a drift cell may have many AUs.  For example Illahee is part of drift cell 56, which runs from Manette to University Point (5.69 miles), and contains 17 NAUs.  With 228 miles of shorelines in Kitsap County the report is a massive nearly 500 pages.  The I&C report can be found online at the county’s SMP website:  http://www.kitsapshoreline.org

Planning Commission Public Hearing.  The Planning Commission had a public hearing on the Inventory and Characterization (I&C) report on December 7, 2010 and is taking written comments until January 4, 2011.  The Kitsap Sun covered the meeting and the article can be read by clicking on the following link:  http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/dec/08/planning-commissioners-scrutinize-first-document/

Our Thoughts.  We have been part of the Task Force and also attended the public hearing.  Since the process is ongoing we are waiting to learn more and are reluctant to say much until we have completed the process and we have all the facts.  We do have some thoughts on the Inventory and Characterization report.  As with any new product it is a work in progress.  It is easy to document where the bulkheads, boat ramps, piers and floats are.  It is more difficult to document the biological diversity and ecological functions of shorelines, not to mention those beaches that are degraded or impaired.  In other words, there haven’t been many studies that look at our individual beaches for the biological and ecological processes that are going on.  And further, the shoreline area is defined as 200′ upland and 1000′ waterward (intertidal), for a total of 1200′ to be considered.  The I&C Report, nevertheless is a starting point, for looking at individual stretches of the shoreline.

What Next for Illahee?  We know we have at least two major degraded or impaired shoreline areas according to residents, due to stormwater runoff problems.  The Rue Villa beaches and the Illahee Creek area beaches have had excessive sedimentation from stormwater surges that have fouled local beaches and shellfish beds.  Only the community residents who have seen the ‘before and after’ differences can really note the damage.  Those long time residents need to be interviewed and the impaired areas need to be mapped so they can be included somewhere in the I&C Report.

SMP Presentation at Illahee Community Meeting.  Some who attended the Illahee Community meeting, where the county gave a presentation of the SMP Udate process, probably have a better understanding of what is going on.  This is a long process and the issues are extremely complex.  The county does have a good website where all this informaiton resides (which was noted earlier).  We anticipate there will be other area or community meetings where more information regarding shoreline classifications will be presented. 

Submit Comments on I&C Report.  In the meantime, it would be good for the Planning Commission to hear your comments regarding the I&C Report.  This is important because the document establishes the baseline for the “no net loss of ecological functions” requirement of the state.  

Jim Aho

>Orca Video&After Storm Issues – 12/15/10

>Orca Sightings in Illahee.  About 9 am today (12/15/10) we received a call that some orcas were going north through Illahee.  By the time we looked out they had disappeared.  Then later in the day we were notified there were several out front.  We grabbed a camera and got some video as they passed by.  It wasn’t until we looked at the video tonight that we realized there were two adults and a young one.

Kitsap Sun Report.  In Thursday’s Kitsap Sun will be an article about others who saw them and where they have been.   Click on the following link to read the article:   http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/dec/15/transient-killer-whales-seen-in-kitsap-waters/

Seal Seen Hugging the Beach.  We also had a report that as they went by a seal was seen close in by the beach, evidently trying to stay away from danger.

Video on YouTube.  With some help from one of our children, we were able to upload the video of the orcas on YouTube.  The link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rduYVcEyS1w
After Storm Pictures.  With a borrowed camera we were able to take some pictures of the effect of the storm on the Illahee Creek culvert and the tons of sediment deposited near the mouth of the creek.  

Notification of Emergency Illahee Creek Dredging.  It also appears the county will be dredging material from the downstream end of the culvert.  See the attached email from WDFW.  We have also attached the signed HPA (Hydraulic Project Approval) form.

I just wanted to give you a heads up that an emergency request was made by Kitsap County to remove sediment at the downstream end of the culvert. They will likely be mobilizing in the next few days. The HPA is attached for your information.
Gina Piazza
Area Habitat Biologist
Washington Dept. Fish and Wildlife
450 Port Orchard Blvd, Suite 290
Port Orchard, WA  98366
Phone: 360 895 3965
Fax: 360 876 1894

Response to the Dredging.  We received the following response to the dredging from Judith Krigsman, who gave us permission to print her concerns.
I find the current plan to clean out the culvert located at 5140 Illahee Road most concerning.  As the property owner at the inlet side of this culvert I can’t imagine how this is going to help the current situation.  It appears that the problem existing on my side of the culvert at 5171 Illahee Road is the side that needs fixing.  As I watch the floodplain rise on my property and see the amount of sediment that is all but totally filling this newer culvert, the ticking time bomb will still exist for road washout even if an emergency cleanout is activated.  The actions by others including the work done by the current owner of this property is creating havoc on the flow of this amount of velocity of water and sediment during these storm events.  The kink which has been taken out of the stream which served a purpose of slowing down the water during these events is now being allowed to wash out the entire point.  Just look where all the sediment is now resting on the property adjacent to the site of the proposed cleanout.  I do believe a meeting should be held immediately to talk through some of these issues before another cleanout takes place.  Illahee Creek is a dynamic water system; this practice of emergency clean-outs is not the fix which needs to take place, let’s talk!

Our Thoughts.  After seeing the amount of sediment that has been deposited at the mouth of the creek by this last storm, literally tons, there is no way that removing a few dump truck loads of sediment will do much of anything.  It is a nice gesture, but it isn’t getting to the sources of the problem, which are the storm surges coming primarily from the area north of the golf course.  

Not a New Problem.  The culvert issue has been known by the county for some time, but they needed a watershed study before they could do anything.  The Port of Illahee put in for a grant with DOE and together they paid for a comprehensive watershed study that was completed by Parametrix.  The fixes come with a multi-million dollar price tag, which emphasized the need for the county to obtain the golf course, as it is the logical place to try and restrain the problematic storm water surges.  The community is crossing their fingers that the golf course gifting paperwork will complete soon so that stormwater restraining projects can begin.

Raised Flood Plain.  What is interesting about the Illahee culvert situation is we are essentially dealing with a flood plain that steadily increasing in elevation with each storm.  A Timbers Edge report stated the elevation downstream of the culvert increased 18 inches from the December 2007 storm.  Upstream of the culvert, the reservoir that Dr. Schutt put in years ago, has filled with sediment.  With the flood plain rising on both sides of Illahee Road, and short of digging out the whole flood plain, the only solution many see is raising the height of the culvert. 

Your Thoughts On This Issue?  Please let us know your thoughts on the stormwater/culvert issues as a possible failure of the culvert would affect everyone who travels this portion of Illahee Road.

Jim Aho

>Some During Storm Pictures – 12/14/10

>Storm Pictures.  We have been asked where the storm pictures are since our last Update had some ‘Before Storm’ pictures.

Non-Water Proof Camera.  We got up early last Sunday morning and took a few stills and some video of the effects of the storm.  We found out that the use of cameras during heavy rain events does not work well for non-water proof camers.  Our camera was sent to the manufacture on Monday in hopes it can be repaired.  Our film maker, Shelly Solomon, did some good photos in the afternoon.  When we walked to the mouth of the creek and were amazed at the number of golf balls that had been washed down the creek and out on the beach.

Some Pictures Were Retrieved.  We got some help retrieving some of the photos from the camera and will look at how to get some of the videos on an Update, or at least linked.  This is a learning process for us.

Illahee Creek Culvert.  The Illahee Creek culvert was running nearly full.  The attached photos show the brown water and the culvert.

Brown Water.  Those who live along the water regularly see brown water coming from the creek anytime there is a rainfall of over an inch in a short period of time.  During major storms the brown water is much more distinctive as shown in the photo from the Illahee community dock.

Phone Calls & Emails.  Thank you for the phone calls regarding the storm and for the emails.  Attached are two that go into some detail.

Ran down to the Illahee culvert about an hour ago and the water is within 12 inches of the top.  The velocity and volume of water is such that no sane person would attempt to cross the creek.  
Wash-out at the top of Oceanview with baseball size rocks in the roadway.  I unplugged 4 catch basins on the upper half.  The water has cut nearly a foot below the blacktop up hill of the debris and I am going to call this into the county immediately.
Found a plugged culvert at the bottom of 3rd Street on the South side of the road.  The results are gravel, and washout debris on Illahee Road.
Took a tour of the stream channel as it appeared after the waters have had a chance to settle down.  The picture presented today shows a culvert which has vastly changed as is as close as it gets to failing.  We were within probably 2 inches of complete failure as the banks of the floodplain took a real beating.  The incised area along the stream showed that we had over 30 inches of water trying to get through the culvert and ended up spilling onto the floodplain.  All it would have taken was for one of these logs to try and get through the culvert.  They are now in a position to move forward with the next storm event.  I must say that this is very discouraging for fish and folks like the Krigsman’s who own the land that this failed  culvert sits on.  We need to notify the county that they have installed a product  that needs replacement.  Additionally, by taking the bend out of the stream on Mossano’s side they are losing the entire Schutts  point.  How is it that those in the know, fail to understand the dynamics of water and how the velocity controls everything? 

Amazing Deer Photos.  We received some amazing deer photos we will include more in a future wildlife update and have attached one to this email.  
Thanks For Sharing.  Thanks to all those who share your photos and for your comments!

Jim Aho