>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

>Results of Wed Annexation Meeting 2-24-11

>Good Attendance.  Considering the prediction of snow, it was good to see the chairs filled at the Illahee Community meeting on Wednesday (2/23/11), and to realize the 12 signs placed throughout the community continue to inform residents who are not on Illahee’s email lists.  

Thanks to Eric Baker.  The community needs to especially thank Eric Baker, Kitsap County Special Projects Manager, for his knowledgeable and forthright presentation on the issues of the Growth Management Act (GMA), Urban Growth Areas (UGAs), Annexation, and various other related topics.  Eric arrived before 6 pm and the questions finally were stopped at 7:30 pm so Eric could depart and residents could decide what direction they wanted to go with the two submitted resolutions.

Timely Decision Needed.  When a question was asked when a resolution to the county need to be submitted, Eric responded that it needed to be submitted by Monday, February 28, 2011, for it to get on the county’s docket and be considered this year.  

Request to be Removed from the UGA Deleted.  Based on the presentation and resulting discussions the community realized they could not be removed from the UGA,  and that part of the resolution was eventually deleted.  Eric stated that the Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) has been clear that Rural densities can only go down to 1 dwelling unit per 5 acres, and Illahee clearly does not fit that definition of a rural zoning density.  

Greenbelt Zoning Urban?  Eric said that Illahee’s Greenbelt zoning density of 1-4 dwelling units per acre (or dua)  is an ‘urban’ density even though the community has argued for years that the natural features, or critical areas in Illahee, do not support the higher zoning densities of 5-9 dua which were put in place in 1998 and still remain in some parts of Illahee.  Some in the community felt the 1-4 dwelling units per acre was a more rural type of zoning, evidently remembering that for years Illahee was zoned ‘semi-rural’, that was until the Growth Management Act changed things.

Illahee Cannot Be Removed From the UGA!  The bottom line for this part of the discussion was that Illahee cannot be removed from the Urban Growth Area because it already has urban densities, whether they are Greenbelt or the higher densities of 5-9 dua.  This was a big disappointment for a number of attendees.

What Can Be Done?  No one knows what can actually be done and what is possible unless a request is made to Kitsap County.  

Request to County.  What was decided is to submit a request to the county to “Establish Illahee (or portions thereof) as a Greenbelt.”  We received a copy of the resolution late this afternoon and have attached it – the link is below this paragraph.  It was signed and submitted to Kitsap County on Thursday (2/24/11) afternoon.

Annexation Discussions.  Just some brief comments regarding the annexation discussions.  Annexations normally require providing urban level services, but there is little money available to do so at the county or the cities, so they are dependent on developers.  Annexation also depends on whether you are Tier 1 (population density and services), Tier 2 (density or services), or Tier 3 (open land).  Most of Illahee has low density and few services, so it would not be a top priority for annexation.

Annexation Methods.  Eric presented the various annexation methods, none of which seem threatening to Illahee at this time.  

Bremerton’s Annexation Plan?  Eric suggested we talk with the City of Bremerton’s Planning Department head to see how they view the Illahee area that is in the East Bremerton UGA.

Interesting Comment Heard.  We heard the following comment at the meeting that we found fascinating, though we are probably not quoting it exactly:  The Illahee Greenbelt zoning density of 1-4 dwellings per acre is one that has been supported by both the property rights residents and the environmentalists in Illahee as it allows either septic systems or sewers and is a density both groups seem to be able to live with.

Daffodils.  We promised we would photograph the first daffodils we saw last week and decided to put in another shot of the first flowers we saw, though this time with some snow around them.

High Tides.  The supposedly high tides this week were not excessively high.  We have attached a couple of pictures showing the tide at its highest on Tuesday.

Other Comments on the Meeting?  Please let us and others know your thoughts regarding Wednesday’s meeting by commenting on our website http://illaheecommunity.blogspot.com/, or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Illahee?ref=ts.  This update will be posted within 24 hours of it being sent out.

Jim Aho

>High Tides&Annexation Issues – 2-17-11

>Weekend High Tides.  This is the second round of high tides this year with the next 5 days being 13.0 and above.  The times are early in the morning beginning on Friday (2/18) at 5:15 am, Saturday (2/19) at 5:44 am, Sunday (2/20) at 6:16 am, Monday (2/21) at 6:49 am, and Tuesday (2/22) at 7:25 am, so there may not be much daylight until Monday and Tuesday.  We are getting our information from the tide chart put out by the shipyard for Bremerton, Sinclair Inlet, and Port Orchard so what we actually observe in Illahee could be a few minutes off. 

Two Annexation Positions.  We understand there are two draft resolutions floating around regarding ANNEXATION worries.  This is a subject that has been discussed by a number of board members and there appear to be two different positions:  (1) Annexation is a threat and a concern that needs to be addressed now, and (2) Annexation is not a threat so why waste  your time on the issue.

Annexation Discussion at Illahee Meeting.  We found out today that ANNEXATION discussions will be the primary topic for the Illahee Community meeting on Feb 23rd at the Library beginning at 6:15 pm.  Evidently there are enough questions regarding the issues that some expert responses are needed to decide which side is right.

County Expert to Speak.  Eric Baker is the county’s Special Projects Manager for the Kitsap County Commissioners and is one of the most knowledgeable experts at the county with respect to the Growth Management Act (GMA), the various Urban Growth Areas (UGA), and the issues related to annexation.  Josh Brown, our County Commissioner, has asked Eric to attend our February 23rd meeting to discuss these issues and to try and answer any questions we might have.

Two Draft Resolutions.  We have been asked to send out the two draft resolution documents as “Discussion Papers.”  We normally try to keep these Updates rather brief so we have decided to include them both as a file attachment – please click on the links.

Discussion Paper Option 1 Summary.  The first discussion paper is a one page resolution entitled “Resolution to Remove Illahee from the Urban Growth Area (UGA)” and basically states that Illahee is “…primarily natural resource lands, geological features, and recreational lands that greatly impede urban levels of development and supporting infrastructure..” and therefor not suitable for the higher density development levels for UGAs.  It references the various reasons Illahee should be excluded from the UGA and requests the current Illahee Greenbelt zoning (1-4 dwelling units per acre) be applied to the entire community.   DISCUSSION PAPER OPTION 1 LINK

Discussion Paper Option 2 Summary.  This discussion paper is very similar to Option 1, but is a two page resolution entitled “Resolution to Establish Illahee (or portions thereof) as a Greenbelt, and A Request for the Greenbelt to be Removed from the Urban Growth Area.”  This paper presents many of the same arguments of Option 1, but rather than requesting all of Illahee be designated as Illahee Greenbelt, requests only those areas “… where urban zoning is inappropriate, including the shoreline uplands north of the current Illahee Greenbelt.”  The paper notes that “…. Illahee has shoreline areas mostly in a natural state that have an incompatible upland urban zoning of 5-9 dwelling units per acre.”   DISCUSSION PAPER OPTION 2 LINK

Our Thoughts.  We are intrigued the greenbelt issue is in both options and have heard greenbelts have been used by other counties to protect critical and environmentally sensitive areas.  We don’t know whether having a greenbelt classification is enough of a justification to remove it from an urban growth area.  On the other hand, since greenbelts do not support urban levels of growth, it makes sense to removed them from the urban growth area.

Your Thoughts.  We have been asked to put the two discussion paper options out for your consideration and to help facilitate discussions at the community meeting next Wednesday.  We would also like to know your thoughts, which you can send to us, or respond to the Illahee Community blogsite, or on Facebook.

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

>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

>Are Horses Allowed in the Preserve? – 12/6/10

>Problems In Previous Update (12/5/10).  The previous update had a comment regarding horses in the Illahee Preserve, along with a picture of two horses that were in the Preserve on Sunday.  The comment read as follows:

Horses.  While motorized vehicles are not allowed, horses are, and there were two horses using the Preserve trails on Sunday (see photo).  There has been some discussion amongst the Stewardship Committee that with the increasing use of the Preserve by those walking, biking, and jogging; that horse back riding might not be appropriate at some point.  Those are the kind of issues discussed at Stewardship Committee meetings, which are open to the public, so if you have issues or would like to attend, please let us know and we will pass the info on.

Early Morning Phone Calls.  The morning after putting out the Update with the above statement on horses, I received calls and comments from members of the Illahee Stewardship Committee, including my own daughter, that according to the approved Stewardship Plan for the Illahee Preserve, horses are not allowed.  I checked the Plan and they are correct per Section IV.b.4.iii (page 24) which states: “The following uses are deemed not to be appropriate: (a) Camping, (b) Horses, (c) Motorized vehicles, (d) Paintball.”  I was informed that if I am going to report on policy issues, such as horses being allowed, my comments need to be approved by the Stewardship Committee, so as a ‘sort of reporter’ I had to eat some humble pie today.

Park Signs Say Otherwise.  The problem is that the Parks Department signs that surround the Preserve (there are 5 of them), each mention horses in several places and state that they, like hikers and bicyclists, are to stay on designated trails.  The exact statement is under the Trails heading and reads as follows:  HIKERS, BICYCLISTS AND HORSES MUST STAY ON DESIGNATED TRAILS.  We have attached a photo of the sign for those who would like to see all the rules.  

Previous Discussions with the Parks Dept.  Evidently there has been previous discussions on this topic and the reported response from the Parks Department has been there are no designated ‘equestrian trails’ in the Preserve.  This doesn’t make sense to us since we don’t designate between other types of trails such as bicycle and pedestrian trails in the Preserve.

Confusion on the Rules.  Some on the Stewardship Committee admit to this being confusing and especially to those horse owners who currently use the Preserve.  We agree that it is confusing  and think the Parks Department’s signs and regulations should match the Stewardship Plan.

Parks Department Notified.  We were told the Parks Department has been notified and they are aware of the issue and are looking into it again. 

Jim Aho 

>Road&Preserve Work – 12/3/10

>Guard Rail Work.  Many were surprised on Thursday to see guard rails being installed along Illahee Road at about the middle of the one mile long Illahee hill.  The guard rail on the west side is 135 feet long and the one on the east side is 150 feet long.  Next will be a 300 foot long guard rail just north of the big rock near the top of the hill, and in the vicinity of where a vehicle crashed into the trees at Illahee Shores a few months ago. 

Safety Features.  We talked with the Kitsap County Public Works person monitoring the installation on Thursday, Gregg Kanyer, who said the guard rails being installed have a number of safety features in case they were run into.  Because Illahee Road has narrow shoulders in some places we were happy they were using steel vertical supports rather than the wood ones as that seems to give more available lateral shoulder clearance for those who pedestrians who walk.  We have attached several photos of the project for those who don’t travel that route.

Portable Traffic Light System.  We were impressed by the portable traffic light system used to manage one lane traffic.  It seemed to work much better than flag persons.  

Illahee Preserve Downed Trees.  The recent storm resulted in a number of trees blown down in the Illahee Preserve.  Trail work last weekend and earlier this week removed 32 trees that had fallen across trails.  Note that this work is all being done by volunteers as the Preserve continues to be an experiment with volunteers planning, maintaining and supporting the Preserve in partnership with the County Parks Department.  Thanks especially to the Rotary clean-up crew, and the Stewardship Committee clean-up crew.

Eagle Scout Sign Installation on Sunday (12/4/10).  We are fortunate to have two Boy Scouts looking for Eagle Scout projects in the Preserve.  The first project is scheduled to happen on Sunday with the installation of trail signs.  Signs have been a need for some time.  Those who regularly use the Preserve have learned the trail system.  Others have had a hard time finding their way through the forest and have gotten lost and have asked for signs to help them.  Thanks to all who volunteer to make the Preserve the treasure it is.  The other project is still in the definition stage and will be reported on later.

Jim Aho

>Illahee Preserve Dedication – 10/23/10

>Illahee Preserve Dedication on Tuesday Morning.  The Illahee Preserve will have its official dedication on Tuesday morning at 9:30 am in the Almira road parking lot.  The Preserve is the largest tract of land in Illahee at about 560 acres with the addition of Rolling Hills.  It is significantly larger than the 75 acre Illahee State Park, and represents roughly one third of Illahee’s total land area.  If all of the planned acquisitions and conservation easements were to materialize, the total acreage would be close to 40 percent.   Despite it’s size, the preserve is a unique part of Illahee that has not yet been discovered by many residents, and this will be a great opportunity to learn about the preserve and it’s establishment. The official press release for the dedication is attached below.

Jim Aho
Date: October 21, 2010
Josh Brown, Kitsap County Central District Commissioner,
Jim Dunwiddie, Kitsap County Parks & Recreation Director, 360-337-5350
Vic Ulsh, Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee, 
Jim Aho, Illahee Forest Preserve (non-profit support group),
479-1049 or 649-1049
Dennis Sheeran, Port of Illahee, 692-6971
Barney Bernhard, Illahee Community Club,  479-3679
No: 10-57
Illahee Preserve Dedication

(Port Orchard, WA) – The official dedication of the Illahee Preserve, a Kitsap County Heritage Park, is Tuesday, October 26, 2010. A dedication ceremony is set for 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot on Almira Drive, about 700 feet south of Fuson Road in Bremerton..  A dedication plaque is set on a big rock unearthed while constructing the parking lot.

Specifically honored at the dedication are those who were instrumental in the purchase of the Preserve: Frank Chopp, Washington State Speaker of the House; Chris Endresen, former Kitsap County Commissioner for the Illahee area; and Audrey Boyer, Illahee community resident and proponent for the county purchase of the DNR property. Other public officials supporting the purchase were former County Commissioners Tim Botkin, Patty Lent, and Jan Angel, and the many dedicated residents who for over 25 years advocated for the purchase of the property, and establish a park there.
Kitsap County purchased the remaining 352 acres of the Illahee School Trust lands from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2001. The County approved a Stewardship Plan in 2003. The plan named the property the “Illahee Preserve,” and recommended an aggressive approach to purchasing adjoining properties, primarily those riparian areas along the Illahee Creek corridor toward Puget Sound. During the past seven years, through grants and gifts—the latest being the gift of the Rolling Hills Golf Course—the acreage has grown to approximately 560 acres.
“The Illahee Preserve was conceived as, and continues to be, an experiment in community planning. Volunteers are taking the lead in planning, maintaining, and supporting a major park facility. The Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee, the Illahee Forest Preserve Non-Profit Corporation, the Rotary Club of East Bremerton, the Port of Illahee, and the Illahee Community Club are all major contributing partners of the Preserve. By combining local community volunteers, committed community groups, and working alongside Kitsap County Parks Department we are creating a premier nature preserve and park, and we’re doing it as a community,” said Jim Aho.