>Wildlife Report – 5-31-11

>Deer Herd?  What constitutes a herd of deer?  It was reported that two bucks, three does, and two fawns was too much for one gardener to have in her yard and she tried to make enough noise to scare them away.  They reported looked at her and slowly walked across the road stopping oncoming traffic.  Gardeners we have talked to are seeming less patient as the number of deer in the area increases.  But maybe we should consider the number of deer in an area as an indication of where the great gardens are?  We will be checking next month to see if those interesting in hosting a garden tour are still interested, assuming the deer have left them something to show.

Coyotes?  There have always been coyotes in the area, but some who live next to the Preserve, say the coyotes are getting more aggressive around their residents and pets.  We would like to post some pictures of local coyotes so if you have any you would share please forward them.

Baby Ducks.  We had reports of two baby mallard ducks along the waterfront and we saw two baby mallards in the Illahee North detention pond (see attached photo).  Years ago we watched a mother duck try to get her ducklings from the waterfront to the pond and they didn’t make it.  

Canada Geese Families.  We have watched three families of Canada geese come and go (see attached photos).  Once the goslings get bigger the seagulls seem to leave them alone.  The first photo is of a single goose that is raising two young ones by herself and is usually seen with the family in the second photo.

Killdeer Nest.  We have been led away from Killdeer nests several times this spring and finally we have discovered a nest.  Actually it isn’t much of a nest at all and it appears the eggs were laid on the beach sand and broken shells.  The attached photos show the eggs in the nest, the Killdeer on the nest, and the Killdeer doing its broken wing dance to draw us away from the nest.  

Bird Tour.  There was a bird tour in the Illahee Preserve early on Memorial Day morning.  These tours are held regularly and quickly fill up.  They are led by a Master Birder and past president of Seattle Audubon. If this is something that interests you, please let us know and we will pass the information on so you can be notified of the next tour.  The photos were posted on Facebook and the link is:  http://tinyurl.com/3f4z9ys

Lazuli Bunting Report in Last Update.  This is a follow-up of the Lazuli Bunting sighting that was reported in our last Update.  Joan Carson does a bird report in the Kitsap Sun each week and noted several sightings of these amazingly beautiful birds and also responded to the Illahee resident who reported the sighting with the following email:

It sounds like you were one of the lucky Friday the 13th birdwatchers! Seems like a wave of Lazuli Buntings hit Kitsap County that day. I had reports from west of Keyport and Bainbridge Island. Considering where you are, that’s a wide area. A very small number of these birds migrate through our area in the spring, but they don’t seem to show up every year. Certain conditions influence them somehow and I suppose it is the wind. Anyway, you were lucky and I’m still waiting – one of these years I hope.

Wildlife Pictures?  We would love to pass on any wildlife photos or stories you have.  We normally pass them on anonymously unless give specific authorization to use your name.

Jim Aho

>Preserve, Wildlife,&BD Party – 5-18-11


Preserve Litter & Cleanup?  Tuesday morning we were asked to check on a campsite that had been in the Illahee Preserve for about a week.  On the way in we were disappointed to see a stack of phone books and “Little Nickel” newspapers along one of the trails (see attached photo).  When we came back later in the morning to clean up the campsite, the litter had been removed.  We know of several people who regularly walk the trails who pick up the litter of others and we want to thank them for their efforts to keep the Preserve clean.  

Illegal Campsite.  We did find the campsite (see photo) and came back later with garbage bags to clean it up.  The good news is that it was reported to the sheriff’s department and a deputy visited the site and left a note that they had to leave.  We found part of the note that had been burned.  Others also reported the site and we thank all of you for notifying officials and us.  After we cleaned up the site, the Park’s department was notified that we had left the bags by the mutt mit station, and they came by later to pick up the trash.  

Deer & Cat.  We get a number of emails and photos and try to remember to send them on.  This one came to us on Mother’s day along with the photo.

I always enjoy my newsletter and Mother’s Day morning, I had an interesting event in my backyard when the domestic and the wild came face to face.  As one of my cats was in the back yard, she had a visitor.  They were very curious about each other and watched each other for quite some time.  I did run the visitor off when my raspberry bushes became a morning snack.  What a great gift on this special day.

Amazing Colorful Bird.  We have had some interesting birds in Illahee.  Today an osprey flew over the area.  But the bird in this story is amazingly beautiful.  The response email is from Vic Ulsh along with the attached pictures of the Lazuli Bunting.
I live on a street just up the hill from the entrance to Illahee St Park and have a bird feeder and suet feeder on my deck.  I enjoy watching all the different birds that come to the feeders so I look out my windows quite often.  On Friday, May 13, I looked out and saw a bird on my deck railing that I have never seen before.  It was about the size of a finch and had a orange-beige chest, a blue head and back, and dark wings with two white wing bands.   It was just beautiful.  My daughter looked it up in her bird book and we determined that it is a Lazuli Bunting.  According to the information in the book, it’s not common to this area.  I’m wondering if anyone in the area has seen this bird and if so have I identified it correctly. 
Jim Aho forwarded your inquiry to me.  I work with him at Illahee Preserve.  Lazuli Bunting do occur in this area, but not common.  It is a treasure to see one.  I saw my first Lazuli Bunting within the Eastpark development area near YMCA last Memorial Day weekend.  The day had awful, bright glare lighting with brisk winds, but I “chased” the little rascal around for some photos.  The wind fluffed out his chest feathers in the first photo.  See attached. 

Here is another quick reference web site I like to use. 
You seem to have described a Lazuli.  Does this look like your bird?  Lazuli bunting is a beautiful, sweet little bird.  Count yourself to be very fortunate. 

Thank you for your email and for sending your photos.  Yes, that is the bird I saw.  He actually came to my deck twice that day.  I can’t say if there was a female with him because I was so focused on the beautiful little male I was seeing and there were quite a few other birds at the feeder at the time.  I’m hoping he will come back, but it sounds like it may be a one time sighting.  I count my self lucky for seeing him and wish I would have had my camera handy.
Audrey Boyer Turns 93 Next Month.  Audrey Boyer is one of the persons who was instrumental in the county obtaining the Illahee Preserve.  We found out she will have a birthday soon and her children are having a party next month for her.  See the following notice:
Audrey Boyer, Illahee Community Leader and Activist, Celebrating 93rd Birthday  Audrey Boyer’s family is planning a community gathering to celebrate Audrey’s 93rd birthday.  The gathering will be at Audrey’s home in Illahee, on June 19, 2011.  If you have worked with, known, or know of Audrey and her many accomplishments, as a teacher, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, campaigner, Community Club leader, environmental activist, leader in establishing the Illahee Forest Preserve, Amnesty International member, and friend to many students and neighbors, she and her family hope you will be able to stop by to say hello.  Also, if you know someone whom you think would like to hear about the celebration, please pass this invitation along to them:   
Audrey Boyer’s 93rd Birthday Celebration
5625 Ocean View Blvd
Bremerton, WA 98311
Sunday, June 19, 2011, 3-6 PM
Open House style, come when you can, cake-cutting at 5 PM
Your present is your presence.   
Please walk or carpool if you can, as parking will be limited. 
RSVP to Helen Boyer, helenaboyer@comcast.net

Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous – 4-11-11


Trillium Blooming In Preserve.  One of first flowers to bloom in the forest are Trilliums.  We took the following picture on Sunday to show just how beautiful these flowers are.  A couple of interesting facts from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trillium are:
Picking a trillium seriously injures the plant by preventing the leaf-like bracts from producing food for the next year. A plant takes many years to recover. For this reason in Michigan[1] and Minnesota[2] it is illegal to pick and/or transplant trilliums from public lands without a permit from the State.

Trillium is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants. At maturity, the base and core of the trillium ovary turns soft and spongy. Trillium seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants extract the seeds from the decaying ovary and take them to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes and put the seeds in their garbage, where they germinate in a rich growing medium.
North Perry Water Response.  We received the following response from North Perry Water’s General Manager, George Smalley, regarding our inquiry whether the community could help or show support for a possible relocation of the Riddell well:

I know it seems that there is always a correction to be made every time a news letter goes out, so here it is.
It’s not that the Tribe “ shut NPW down” on the proposed well site on Almira Drive.
It was the simple fact that the Tribe and Dr. Massman were convinced that pumping at the new site on Almira could possibly affect a stream in Tracyton, which is a closed stream with a healthy salmon run.
North Perry Water did not want to end up in Court over the appeal by the Tribes and could not agree on where or how much water could be added to several streams throughout the District to offset perceived pumping affects on the streams  from Tracyton to Brownsville and Illahee.
The new well site on Almira was to be drilled into a deeper aquifer than the well on Perry Avenue, which is  near the beginning of Illahee creek., ( Perry Ave well site),   and the Pickering well site @ maple and Pickering St. That would have allowed NPW to pump the shallow aquifer less at those sites, and hopefully give the aquifer more time to recover between pumping times. It would not affect how often the District would be pumping the Riddell site. It should be noted however that the Riddell well does pump from a  deeper aquifer than the Perry site and the Pickering well  site. Right now the aquifers  looks very healthy and water levels are good For whatever reason the District, has been pumping and selling less water over the last five years than previously, as are other purveyors in the County.
I believe it is the result of the economy and conservation efforts that are responsible for this.
Even though the shallow aquifers look good, we do believe that getting into the deeper  aquifer is the right thing to do . The District is still looking at other options when it comes to pumping out of the shallow aquifer.
It is good to know that the people of Illahee are willing to help in negotiations on a new site in the future if needed.

Piebald Deer Movement?  We were asked whether the piebald deer seen south of Illahee State Park, is the same one that was observed north of Illahee.  And so we have included the attached info on the north Illahee piebald deer so those around the State Park can tell us if it is the same one.

This is probably the same piebald deer that visits us every few days.  I am sending a couple of pics to see if its the same one.  I have pics of this deer from Summer of 07, so he is about 4 years old.  We actually are starting to see what I believe are some of his offspring.  They have a few white spots but are mostly cream colored.  I hope hunters don’t try to shoot this deer.  I have talked to the major land owners in my area and they have said they won’t allow hunting on their land.
Hopefully there is no hunting in the Illahee Preserve and the surrounding areas.
Rolling Hills Golf Course Gifting Finalized.  We have been waiting to hear that the gifting of the Rolling Hills Golf Course by Don Rasmussen and Kerma Peterson to Kitsap County has been finalized and just heard yesterday that it has.  Thanks to Don and Kerma and to Commissioner Josh Brown for helping to make it all happen.  

Possible Next Step re Timbers Edge?  We heard that the finalization of the Golf Course gifting is what the Illahee Community Club has been waiting for as they will now be contacting the two Land Trusts that expressed interest some time ago about the possibility of purchasing the Timbers Edge properties.  The golf course is evidently a major part of the bigger plan for expanding the Illahee Preserve and now they feel that they are in a better position for a land trust to want to come in to help.

Illahee Garden Tour This Summer?  We were notified that a core group of Illahee gardeners are pursuing whether there is enough interest to have a garden tour in Illahee this summer.  If you would like to be part of this group or have some suggestions for possible gardens that could be toured, please let us know and we will pass the information on.

Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous – 2-21/11


Illahee Preserve Downed Trees.  Recent winds have caused a number of trees to come down in the Illahee Preserve, with some of them blocking trails.  Several Illahee Preserve volunteers have gone through the county’s chain saw training class and have been doing an amazing job of keeping the trails open.  While walking the trails on Saturday afternoon, after the Saturday morning wind storm, we encountered Jon and Vic (two East Bremerton Rotary volunteers who went through the training) who had just taken care of 14 blocking trees and were starting to work on #15.  These are the type of amazing people we are fortunate to have working in the Preserve, and reinforces again and again that volunteers, and volunteer organizations like the Rotary, can keep a major Kitsap County Heritage Park’s trails open and the Preserve well maintained.  
(For those wondering about the trash bags by the Mutt Mit Station (see attached photo), they were left by the County’s Alternative to Detention crew several weeks ago, and they must have forgotten to call someone to pick them up.)

Power Outage On Saturday.  We received the following photo taken near Illahee State Park showing at least one set of downed power lines that probably caused some of the outage on Saturday morning.

Wednesday’s Library Meeting Sponsor.  Some have wondered about who is sponsoring the “annexation” meeting at the Library on Wednesday at 6:15 pm.  They saw the signs that went up on Saturday and wanted more information.  We received a copy of an email that had a brief explanation of the Illahee Community Club (ICC) that may be helpful:

Illahee Community Club Information:

The Illahee Community Club (ICC) has been in existence since the founding of Illahee, but was reorganized in 2008/2009 to expand its boundary (essentially that of the Port of Illahee) and purposes (to support restoration and preservation).  The Club is now a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity with contributions tax deductible, as allowed by law.  Yearly dues for voting members are $10 per family.  Lifetime memberships are granted for those who support the ICC with gifts over $100.  There are currently ~175 voting members. 

The purposes of the Illahee Community Club are:
·         To restore, preserve, and maintain the Illahee community as an historic, scenic, and culturally significant area.
·         To combat community deterioration through remedial actions such as elimination of fecal coliform and storm water pollution.
·         To restore and preserve the Illahee area of Puget Sound, including freshwater, wetlands, floodplains, estuary, nearshore, marine, and upland habitats for the benefit and education of the general public.
·         To restore and preserve the following items adversely impacting the Illahee Creek Watershed as delineated in the Department of Ecology / Port of Illahee funded Parametrix Report, “Illahee Creek Watershed Surface Water Management Plan,” which are:
Surface Water Runoff, Landslides, Reduced Aquifer Recharge, Water Quality, Functionality of Illahee Creek Culvert, Degraded Salmonid Habitat.
·         To restore and preserve the natural features of the Illahee area including the Illahee Preserve (a Kitsap County Heritage Park), Illahee State Park, and area wildlife and habitat for the benefit and education of the general public.
·         To advocate for accomplishment of the goals and objectives in the Illahee Community Plan that support the restoration and preservation of the local Puget Sound area for the benefit and education of the general public.
·         To solicit and obtain financial support for the education, restoration, and preservation of the aforementioned items and other impacts adversely affecting the Illahee area of Puget Sound.
·         To work with private landowners, public water groups, schools, land trusts, government agencies, public and private associations, businesses, service groups, foundations, Indian tribes, and others to accomplish the above purposes.

Pheasant.  We have been trying to get a picture of a roster pheasant in the area that is pretty skittish.  This is the best we can do at this time and appreciate photographers who can capture good poses of these birds.

Gray Squirrels.  Gray squirrels have been steadily moving north through Illahee.  This one showed up this fall and pretty much ate all the chestnuts from our American chestnut tree.  They often displace the native Douglas squirrels and chipmunks, probably by out-competing them for food.  We also saw our first gray squirrel in the Illahee Preserve this winter.  Some think they are coming from the more urbanized areas of Bremerton.

Black Turnstone.  These are small shore birds we noticed just south of the Illahee Community Dock.  We included a picture with a pigeon in it to give you an idea just how small these birds are.

Spring Flowers.  We took the pictures of flowers on Friday and have noticed more flowers blooming each day, including a bunch of daffodils today (Monday).  We didn’t have our camera today, so those pictures will come later.  We also noticed the Canada Geese have paired up, another sign that Spring is nearly here.

Jim Aho

>Wildlife Report – 2-4-1

>5 Orcas Sighted in Illahee.  The orcas were sighted this afternoon (2/4/11) traveling north through Illahee at 4:20 pm.  There were 5 of them this time with one being much smaller, so it probably was a young one.  We received the call when they were right out in front, but didn’t answer the phone since we were on another call, so we missed getting any videos.  The next time our neighbors call we will be sure to answer right away.

Sapsuckers.  We have an apple tree with what looks like a series of 1/4 inch diameter holes methodically drilled into the trunk.  We thought it was a bug or beetle infestation at first and then found out is was caused by a woodpecker called a sapsucker.  We never did see the sapsucker in action on our apple tree so when we got the next report it helped us see the connection.

Illahee Preserve Sapsucker.  We received the attached photo that was taken last Sunday by Vic Ulsh in the Illahee Preserve of a Red Breasted Sapsucker.  Vic gave a report on the Preserve that included the following:

I noted a red breasted sapsucker on a tree near the Almira parking lot.  See attached photo.  From recent observations it appears we have a pair of hairy woodpeckers and at least one red breasted sapsucker living near the Almira parking lot.  Check out the telltale sapsucker holes in the bark. 
Blog and Facebook Reminder.  All updates are now posted on our blog within 24 hours of being e-mailed.  If you have comments, please visit the blog and leave your comments at the end of the post.  It’s a great way to generate a public discussion. You can post anonymously if you choose.  Also, please visit and “Like” our Facebook page, and be sure to suggest it to your Facebook friends.  We are actively trying to increase our exposure in the community through social media and we need your help!
The link for the Facebook page is:  http://www.facebook.com/Illahee
The link for the blog is:  http://illaheecommunity.blogspot.com/
Blog Site Comments.  There haven’t been many comments on the blog site, but if they are like me this is something I am not very comfortable with yet.  I did respond to a comment recently and have attached the three comments that were at the bottom of the blog, which I have copied below:


Anonymous said…
Annexation to Bremerton is NOT what I want, or to Silverdale or any other city. I thought the reason for creating a Community Plan was to preclude that possibility. THE POSSIBILITY OF THE ANNEXATION OF ILLAHEE IS NOT GOOD NEWS! Glad someone from Illahee is concerned, and yes, talk about this at the community meeting.
Jim Aho said…
In response to Anonymous,I never thought we had to worry about annexation once we had our subarea plan, i.e., the Illahee Community Plan, but after hearing the the GMA required annexation by 2025 or 2030 for anyone within an Urban Growth Area, I am now concerned and think we need to further protect ourselves. It seems to me that much has changed in Illahee since 1998 when Illahee was first designated to be in the Urban Growth Area, and now we have a small window of opportunity open whereby we might be able to convince the county, and the Growth Management Hearings Board, that Illahee is indeed mostly rural with unique features that inhibit or prevent urban buildout and urban densities. If there ever was a time to try and get out from under the urban designation label, now seems to be it. I also would like to see this discussed at the Illahee Community meeting and voted upon, so we can get things moving and possibly approved by the end of this year.Jim Aho
Anonymous said…
Does anyone else ever comment on these blogs other than me, Mr. Anonymous, and Mr. Aho?

Illahee Community Meeting 2/23/11.  There will be an Illahee Community meeting on February 23rd at the Library on Sylvan Way at either 6 pm or 6:30 pm.  We heard they were trying to find a speaker to talk about the Growth Management Act, Urban Growth Areas, and annexation.  We will let you know when we find out what the agenda will be.
Jim Aho

>Squid, Theft, KRCC Report – 1-31-11

>Squid Fishermen.  Just about every evening during the winter months squid fisherman can be seen at the Illahee community dock jigging their lures, such as we photographed here on a cold winters night.  We like to check in with them every so often to see what they are catching, and to see if they have caught anything unusual (one time someone caught a nice mackerel and didn’t want it so we took it home and ate it).  That question regarding unusual catches is when we found out about someone catching a lobster which we will describe in a future Update.  

Larger Squid.  On Monday evening (1/31/11) we noticed one squid in a bucket that was twice the size of any of the others, and asked if we could take some pictures.  After a couple of camera flashes along with lying on the dark decking, the squid quickly changed colors to suit its surrounding, which can be seen by comparing the two photos.

Forage Fish Report.  The other interesting news is that they have also snagged some of our primary forage fish while squidding, which are herring, smelt, and sand lance (candle fish).  (Forage fish are small fish that are preyed on by larger fish.)  While these forage fish are not seen in the numbers of decades earlier, it is encouraging to know they are still around.  If it wasn’t for these fishermen’s reports, most of us wouldn’t be aware that these forage fish are using our nearshore and shoreline areas in Illahee.

Illahee Preserve Rain Garden Thefts.  While getting ready for Saturday’s work party at the Illahee Preserve, we noticed that 3 logs and a rock had been taken from the rain garden.  We have attached a photo that shows where the rock and one log were.  This is disappointing as it takes lots of volunteer coordination and volunteer work to make the Preserve and the Rain Garden special and some are wondering if we can install a video camera to cover the parking lot.  If anyone has any ideas or expertise in this area, please let us know.

KRCC Public Meeting Report.  We saw at least 4 Illahee residents at the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council public hearing regarding the Countywide Planning Policy document.  One of the most interesting presentations showed a graph of the projected populations used to determine the urban growth boundaries in the county, and how the actual population figures are coming in at about half the projections.  We don’t have all the facts, but understand that is why either the courts or the Growth Management Hearings Board are asking the county to take a second look.  The link to the Kitsap Sun coverage of the meeting is:  http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/jan/28/tribal-members-speak-out-against-large-scale-in/

Community Input.  Two residents testified during the public hearing and we received two comments that were emailed to the KRCC, which we have attached below:

Thank you for allowing public comment to the “Kitsap Countywide Planning Policy” draft document proposed by the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council.

I attended the public hearing last evening and I’m not sure I was as clear in my comments as I should have been with my last point.

My concern is with the wording changes in the document that tightened the language by replacing “should” with “shall” when it came to issues such as annexation, and then when it got to Element E (which looks at open space preservation, critical areas, and water quality/quantity), the language was loosened by replacing “shall” with “should“.

After hearing the testimony about the importance of natural resources and open space, etc, I don’t know how you can not change this wording back to “shall“.  

Additionally, I would state that current science has more than ever supported the necessity to preserve and protect critical areas and resource lands, such as critical aquifers.  We know that the Kitsap Peninsula is for the most part hydrogeologically self contained, that our ground water comes from precipitation, and that some areas, such as Illahee, are at water balance, meaning we are withdrawing and supporting stream flow with what is already being infiltrated.  The implications of this fact alone are staggering.

If you really believe that “Water is a Resource” then your wording in this county wide planning document needs to support that policy.

Thank you for considering changing the “should” back to “shall“.

Thank you for allowing public comment to the “Kitsap Countywide Planning Policy” draft document proposed by the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council.

I am requesting that Illahee be considered for withdrawal from the urban growth area that it has been assigned to. A majority of  Illahee is made up of critical areas: steep slopes, canyons, Illahee Creek, state park and Kitsap County forest preserve, in addition to documented category one aquifer recharge areas. All that is in possible jeopardy if its future is to be annexed to a city.  Under GMA and the definition of UGAs, it clearly spell out the incompatibility of urban growth and protection of important aquifers. Given that population projections have been exaggerated in the establishment of UGAs here in the county, it makes sense for a rural entity such as Illahee  be withdrawn from the UGA.

Your Thoughts?  Let us know how you feel on the issue of annexation, which is what is being proposed as a “shall” in the Countywide Planning Policy document.  

Community Meeting Discussion Item?  We would like to suggest this be a discussion item at the next Illahee Community meeting that has just been scheduled for February 23, 2011 at 6:30pm at the Sylvan Way Library.

Jim Aho

>Work Party&Wildlife – 1-27-11


Saturday Rotary Work Party.  Some of you have participated in previous Rotary work parties and we want to let you know about another big one this coming Saturday (1/28/11) at the Almira parking lot beginning at 8:30 am.  Our comment is that the East Bremerton Rotary knows how to host work parties, beginning with donated Starbucks coffee at 8:15 am and ending with donated snacks from Costco as they wrap up by 10:30 or so. They don’t need many more volunteers, but they appreciate some from the Illahee Community. 

Work Party Task.  “Move wood chips from the pile at Almira lot onto nearby trails.  A group of Navy volunteers and folks from Washington Youth Academy are anticipated to assist with moving logs to close an unwanted trail.”

Work Party Tools.  “Wheel barrows, gloves, pitch forks, rake, and a push broom.  A few extra wheel barrows are welcome.”

Deer.  Last year we had 5 deer who resided close by and regularly watched our gardens, and when we left an opening unsecured in our fence, they devoured our vegetables.  This winter we are seeing only the doe and her two grown-up fawns who are now eating the garden cover crops.  Many of you have commented on how you can recognize the deer around here by their unique markings, such as those on the two young ones.  The bigger doe seems to be a typical black tail with no distinguishing marks.

A Dead Deer Report.   “We lost another little deer the other day, saw it along side the road just before getting to Canoe or Navajo turn off.” 

$13,000 Deer.  We received the attached regrading a $13,000 deer, along with a note that we may need to watch the piebald (multi-colored) deer in our area.  

Here is a buck (White tail) that a hunter got in Wisconsin .  He sent these pictures to a bunch of people to see what he could get and the owner of Cabela’s paid him $13,000 for the head and hide.  A calico buck, like the one below, is rarer then an albino.

Working On An Illahee Lobster Report.  Someone reportedly caught a lobster from the Illahee Dock.  We are working on getting more information and verifying this for another Update.

Thanks Again.  Thank you for all your wildlife reports.  It is fun to see all the wildlife we have in this one relatively small area that is so close to the city and the Highway 303 commercial corridor.

Jim Aho

>Owl, Film, Sign, Clean-Up – 1-20-11

>Owl Report.  The following owl report came in a couple of weeks ago.  These owls are so small you can hold them in the palm of your hand and we wish we had such a photo.  The attached link below shows just how cute they are.  We also had a report of a Coopers Hawk on Classic Ave last week.

The northern saw-whet owl is back!  This little owl spent several months last year looking for a mate in the ravine behind Roosevelt Street.  His call can be mistaken for an alarm clock or the beeping of a truck backing up – it’s high pitched and very regular.  He is back in the preserve although he seems to have moved up the ravine to a place west of the vacated portion of Rest Place.  According to Vic Ulsh, “They are cute little rascals.  The big bully ‘barred owls’ who roam Illahee Forest can be predatory on the little saw-whet owls so I worry about them.”  Although their mating call can be annoying at 5:00 in your backyard, we are all hoping that he succeeds in finding a mate this year!

Seattle Film Showing.  We are late in posting this notice as this film showing is tomorrow evening in Seattle.  Note that Shelly Solomon is the filmmaker who is working on a film on Illahee.  She has done some amazing films, as you can see below, and we are fortunate to have her helping us get the message about what is happening in Illahee and to our watershed.

Public Environmental Film Event: sponsored by Feathered Friends and Sustainable Seattle
Friday Jan 21st, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Feathered Friends
119 Yale Ave. North (just down the street from REI)
Seattle, WA
Filmmaker Shelly Solomon

Throughout Ms. Solomon’s career as a biologist, she has been struck by the fact that so much of the positive work being done in the environmental field, has gone unnoticed. It seemed only natural to Shelly that a better-informed public would lead to a more engaged public. Ms. Solomon started Leaping Frog Films to “Get the Word Out” about these positive stories. Solomon recently received Sustainable Seattle’s 2010 “Leadership in Sustainability in the Natural World” award for her film work.

Find below 2 films that will be showing, plus 2 pages of film reviews

Buried in Sawdust for 50 Years” and the Unintended Consequences

This is a fascinating film about how a Washington estuary was filled with milling waste to a depth of 60’, where it remained for 50 years and how a local nonprofit secured over one million dollars to restore the estuary back to its original tidal elevation. Highlights of the film include an examination of the chemical contamination resulting from 50 years of accumulated wood waste, interviews with an original mill worker and his memories of the operation, discovery of the original estuary elevations with plants and tidal channels still in-tact, and finally, the returning of tidal waters to the estuary for the first time in 50 years. Project partially funded by Salmon Recovery Board. Created by Leaping Frog Films.

Almost Lost but not Forgotten – Pinto Abalone Recovery in Washington State
Puget Sound is full of many treasures, and the native abalone is among the greatest.  At a NOAA’s Mukilteo lab and a small abalone nursery in Port Gamble pinto abalone are being grown for re-introduction into the wild. In the summer of 2009, over 1,200 animals reared in this facility were outplanted into Puget Sound, representing the most substantial abalone recovery effort to date in Washington. Pinto abalone – the only abalone species found in Washington – may be at risk of becoming locally extinct.  The natural population has plummeted over the last several decades and there are too few abalone in the wild to successfully reproduce.  The goal of this multi-faceted abalone recovery program is to increase densities in the wild and build sustainable populations of this important species for the future.  This film showcases different aspects of recovering abalone populations in Washington State from spawning adult brood animals, to tending juveniles during months of grow-out, to careful reintroduction into the wild. It’s a big undertaking involving conservation genetics, state-of-the-art hatchery rearing techniques and lots of collaboration between scientists, NOAA, WDFW, tribes and community groups. Created by Leaping Frog Films.

Preserve Brush Picking Signs.  Soon there will signs posted to tell people more explicitly that brush picking in the Illahee Preserve is illegal.  The Park’s Department had the attached sign made up for Banner Forest and we asked for some for Illahee.  The signs are in English, Spanish and French in case so there should be no problems understanding for those who don’t speak English.  

Preserve Clean-Up.  There are a number of people who help keep the Illahee Preserve clean of trash, along with the Chalice Heart group the routinely picks up trash along Thompson Lane, which is especially important now that the gate was damaged and considered too expensive to fix.  We took a picture of Jay and Rob last Saturday as they were helping with the clean-up on Thompson Lane.  Also included is a picture of a TV set that was dumped along the road.  These are the disappointing events that are offset by those who volunteer to help clean up.  Thanks to all those who keep the Preserve and Thompson Lane picked up!

Illahee Community Clean-Up.  We know of at least 4 people who have been regulars at picking up the roadways and ditches in the Illahee community.  They are Rob, Carol and Carole, and Dennis.  You see them carrying bags for the garbage they pick up as they get they do their regular walks.  They have told us that the bending over to pick up things and then carrying the bags greatly increases their cardio-vascular workout over just walking.  We have heard there are also others who are regularly picking up trash and we would be happy to recognize them for their efforts.  Please let up know who they are.

Jim Aho

>Work Party, Levee, Wildlife – ‏ 1/3/11


Rotary Work Party.  Some major work was done at the Thompson Lane parking lot on Sunday (1-2-11) by the Rotary Club of East Bremerton (see attached photos).  It was quite amazing to watch the front end loader on the John Deere tractor fill 3 or 4 large wheel barrows to overflowing at one time.  They didn’t want a big group helping them because of the tractor, so we didn’t advertise this work party to others.  They moved tons of wood chips, and we thank them again for adopting the Illahee Preserve and keeping it in tip top shape.  The following is their writeup of their efforts:

Illahee Forest Preserve

The East Bremerton Rotary completed another productive work party at Illahee Forest Preserve on Sunday morning, January 2nd, 2011.  The focus was to clean-up the perimeter of the Thompson Lane parking lot along Riddell Road.  Roughly 15 loads of wood chips had already been delivered to the parking lot.  Dave White’s John Deere tractor made easy work of the task as chips were dumped over the guard rail and into waiting wheelbarrows.  Thereafter the chips were quickly spread atop the area surrounding the parking lot.  The Thompson Lane parking lot looks much improved for the effort. 
The second photo shows the parking lot after a thorough cleanup by Bill Wright and his mega-blower. 

Varied Thrush Gives Its Approval.  After the work party completed Vic Ulsh photographed the varied thrush that appears to give its approval of the Rotary’s efforts, see his (Vic’s) email comments:

The last photo is a varied thrush who stopped by to help clean-up after we were finished.  Varied thrush is a very cool bird who comes down from the high country to spend winters in the forests of Puget Sound basin.   There seemed to be about 5 or 6 varied thrush hanging around the brush in the perimeter of the parking lot.  I’m guessing they will be staying not far from the Thompson Lane parking lot for the next few months. 

Levee Questions From Previous Update.  We have been asked to explain more about what a levee is and why it was requested, as some in the community do not understand the issue.  First, the Wikipedia dictionary definition of a levee is:  “leveelevéedike (or dyke), embankmentfloodbank or stopbank is a natural or artificial slope or wall to regulate water levels. It is usually earthen and often parallel to the course of a river or the coast.”   There must have been a concern that a levee was needed to prevent Illahee Creek from overflowing its banks, or that the levee installed after the Dec 2007 storm was in danger of failing.

Levee Comments.  We did get a few phone calls and several emails regarding the levee issue.  The first one we have attached being a comment that went to Kitsap County, followed by their response, and then a response back to the County.

First Comment & Responses:  The community should question why a levee would be constructed (at taxpayer expense) for the protection of private property that was developed contrary to the advice of the county (representing the taxpayer).  It seems that the developer knowingly (admittedly) assumed the risk of building in the streams migration zone/flood plain.  Why should the taxpayer essentially bail out the developer for their bad decision? 

Fiction can be very entertaining but Kitsap County did not build any levee or other flood control feature on the Mossano property.  The Road Division crew simply performed routine maintenance on the Illahee Creek culvert by excavating sediment from the culvert outlet.  All of the material was trucked from the site and this activity was permitted by WDFW.  There were no additional measures taken by Public Works.  Thank you for your comments and, in the future, please contact Kitsap One at 360-337-5777 for information on Public Works activities in your neighborhood.
Thanks Jon for your prompt response.  Is it fiction that a levee was either authorized or authorized and permitted under an emergency HPA?

Second Comment:  On the levee question.  The property in question never should have been built on.  It is a flood plain and the owner knew this when he coerced the county into giving him a permit.  The owner should live with the consequences of choosing to live in a flood plain.  No public monies should be spent to protect a house that the county did not want there in the first place.

One Legal Question Response.  We did receive a phone call from a former environmental officer who stated that the stream natural processes take precedence over protecting property, though we have not verified it or heard from any legal experts yet.

Owl & Preserve Photos.  There are a number of people who regularly use the Preserve and also take photos.  George is one who has taken photos and posted them on the following website, which contains various photos of a barred owl and other Preserve features:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/85934826@N00/sets/72157625562766240/

Jim Aho

>Random Catch-Up -12/30/10


2 More Brush Picking Comments.  We have published most of the comments regarding the illegal picking of brush in the Illahee Preserve and unless something new comes in these will be the last.  The second suggestion may be the approach that is needed, unless we hear something different from the authorities.

The brush picking sounds like ‘no good deed goes unpunished’ !!  After all your hard work to make the preserve available for the enjoyment of the public, some people have to take advantage and start stealing the foliage !!
I feel very sad for you and others that have worked so hard to enrich the public experience.

Hey, just responding to the brush picking e-mail, we had a problem where I used to live about people coming to our community property and taking all kind’s of brush, plant’s, fern’s, tree’s, we put up all kind’s of sign’s in spanish and in english, it didn’t seem to matter, deep down inside these people know it’s illegal, as a community we felt violated, we resulted in taking walk’s caring camera’s and cell phone’s, we finally took enough picture’s to catch these people in the act, and had enough evidence to contact the police, shortly after, no more brush picker’s, I will try to make my way around the entrance’s in my everyday travel’s, to see if I see anything out of the ordinary, my girlfriend and her kid’s like walking the preserve, and would hate for that to end. Thank You

Salal Leaf Bundles.  If there was any question as to what the brush pickers were doing, we found two bundles of salal today at the Almira parking lot (see photo).

Car In Rain Garden.  The Almira parking lot was slippery this morning and some were having fun sliding around.  The guy in this photo said his brother wanted to drive his new car and it ended up in the rain garden.  We found him waiting for someone to pull him out.  The good news there wasn’t much damage to his car or the rain garden.

Paper Work Authorizing Levee.  Also attached is the Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) for removal of alder trees that fell into the cleanout area (that we covered in our last Update) and permission to install a levee “to prevent flooding of adjacent property.”  While the county received emergency authorization from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to install a levee, they did not do so.  This is an interesting predicament for the State of Washington and Kitsap County in that they are supposed to let streams like Illahee Creek follow their natural processes in a channel migration zone and in a flood plain.  And concurrently, they supposedly have a mandate to protect private property.  So, what happens when you can’t do both?

Legal Question?  We don’t know whether letting a stream follow its natural course takes precedent, or if protection of private property takes precedent?   And, does the fact that the property owner was advised to not build in the stream’s migration zone and flood plain influence a decision?

Levee Thoughts?  We would like to know what your thoughts are on this predicament.

Seals Are Back.  For those who were concerned about the status of the seals in the area after the seal eating orcas came through here earlier this month, the seals are now back and can be seen on area floats.  We think this group escaped predation as the regulars all seem to be there.

Jim Aho