Meeting Times Discussed. This meeting was held on a weekday (Monday) evening rather than a weekend and it was the consensus of most that they preferred a weekday evening over a weekend meeting.
Storm Surge Area Identified. Over the years many Illahee residents have wondered where the storm surges originated from that were polluting Illahee Creek and Puget Sound. We saw a map of some 130 acres of land north of the golf course with roads and approximately 400 home/trailer sites where most of the storm water from that area is piped directly under McWilliams Road to the ravine in front of the golf course bridge. When that surge of storm water hits the deeply incised canyons of Illahee Creek it picks up sediment that is carried down Illahee Creek and out into Puget Sound where it can be seen for miles. Many had no idea of the size of that area that was draining (being tight-lined) into Illahee Creek and it helped explain where the surges were coming from and why they had such a devastating impact on the creek and the Sound.
Rain Garden Target Area. Portions of that area are now being targeted for rain gardens to see if they can start to mitigate the surges. The Kitsap Conservation District (KCD) has a Rain Garden Cost Share Program that will help reimburse residents in unincorporated Kitsap County with up to $500 per rain garden (applications and details are available from KCD).
Map of Master Plan. Also presented was an updated Master Plan map showing Phase 1 (completed) and Phase 2 (future) Acquisitions and Conservation Easements, which are needed for the Illahee Preserve/Illahee Creek Restoration Project. (Note that the map is part of the attached partition.)
Illahee Creek Restoration Project. The purposes or goals of the Illahee Creek Restoration Project were presented as they realized many are unaware of the extent of the project. We have included that information below:
The purposes (goals) of the Illahee Creek Restoration Project are: (1) to acquire Illahee Creek riparian corridor properties including those that constitute prime salmonid spawning and rearing habitat; (2) to restore salmonid use to near historic levels; (3) to restore the natural ecological processes of the riparian corridor and the watershed; (4) to control the storm water surges and excessive sedimentation that plague Illahee Creek and Puget Sound (through retention and bio-retention facilities); (5) to raise the height of the Illahee Creek culvert to compensate for the raised flood plain in the lower reaches of the stream and to prevent the possible washout of the culvert and Illahee Road; (6) to eliminate fecal coliform sources that pollute Illahee Creek; (7) to restore aquifer recharge to levels that support the base flows in Illahee Creek necessary for salmonid use and survival; (8) to inform and educate the local community and the public at large regarding the above issues and involve them in the restoration processes, and(9) to facilitate public use and enjoyment of the anticipated restored natural features and ecological processes of the Illahee Preserve and Illahee Creek.
While Illahee Creek is only a small salmonid player in the West Sound Watersheds area, with only small runs of chum and coho in a good year and intermittent use by steelhead and cutthroat, it is a major polluter of Puget Sound with excessive amounts of sedimentation being deposited into the Sound during storm events. And although much of its stream corridor and watershed consists primarily of prime habitat (65% undeveloped with most of that protected), a relatively small area of early development, constructed before storm water mitigation regulations went into effect, has resulted in over 40 years of excessive sediment pollution of Illahee Creek and Puget Sound. Additionally, Illahee Creek is also impacted by diminishing low base flows during times of low precipitation, along with the presence of fecal coliform pollution in the stream.
Note that significant progress has been made over the last few years to begin to document the issues and accomplish some acquisitions and some restoration, primarily through earlier grants (Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Coastal Protection Fund (CPF), and Department of Ecology (DOE)). It is estimated that roughly 15 -20% has already been accomplished.
Note also that the Illahee Community, the Port of Illahee, the Illahee Preserve support groups, and Kitsap County have additionally committed resources and are working collaboratively to accomplish the purposes and goals of the restoration project, with financial support, volunteer labor, inter-local agreements, etc., and by applying for available grants to keep the project goals moving toward completion.
Legal Issues. The appeals by the community to Superior Court and the Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB) were discussed with both being settled and dismissed. We will cover the SHB dismissal because it affects what happened next in the meeting.
SHB Dismissal. The dismissal order from the Shorelines Hearing Board was issued earlier this month along with a copy of the “Settlement Agreement.” The “Settlement Agreement” had a number of items associated with it and we will try to give a brief summary of the document. There are two main items with the first being that the developer will gift the open space lands to the Illahee Preserve if the SHB appeal is dropped. The second item being the developer will give the Port of Illahee an option to purchase the Timbers Edge properties and they will not begin development until later this year to give the Port time to decide whether they are interested.
Port Position. The Port Commissioners have stated that as elected officials they want to support the community so they need to know what the residents want. The community asked them what they needed and they responded that if over half of the number of voters in the last elections agreed that they should purchase the property which would necessitate raising the tax rate, they would consider it. Roughly half of the residents voted in the last elections (1000 out of roughly 2000 registered voters). This means that the Port would be looking for 500 plus residents to say they would support the Port’s actions necessary to purchase the property.
Port Petition. As a result of Port’s position, the Illahee Community has come up with a petition drive to see what the will of the people is with regards to the Master Plan and with Timbers Edge. We have attached the complete petition to this email and have included the petition verbiage below:
Petition to Help Save Illahee Creek & Puget Sound
+++ Request for Citizen & Port Help! +++
Illahee is endowed with unique natural features that have resulted in a state park, a community dock, a salmon stream, a large park/nature preserve, and a golf course.
Illahee State Park and the Illahee Preserve purchases were the results of community campaigns to preserve these areas.
The Illahee Preserve was recently expanded (from 352 to 460 acres) through grants and community action (Phase 1) to help protect Illahee Creek.
Excessive sedimentation nevertheless continues to destroy salmon habitat, pollute Illahee Creek and Puget Sound, and threatens to wash out the culvert under Illahee Road. Immediate action is needed to obtain critical watershed properties to help protect the stream and Sound (Phase II).
Fish are also threatened by low base flows (during non-rainy periods). Critical aquifer recharge areas, such as the Timbers Edge properties, are needed to support rain water infiltration necessary to resupply the aquifers and help keep Illahee Creek a viable salmon stream.
We call on citizens to sign this petition and request the Port of Illahee to take the following actions:
That the Port look at grants and means to control the storm water surges that plague fish, Illahee Creek, and Puget Sound, and will impact the community if Illahee Creek culvert washes out.
That the Port pursue grants and other means to protect/secure Illahee’s critical aquifer recharge areas, such as the purchase of the Timbers Edge properties (a willing seller).
That the Port pursue grants and other means to restore Illahee Creek as a fish bearing stream.
That the Port look at means to perpetuate Rolling Hills as a community golf course open to the public.
We understand the “other means” will necessitate temporarily raising Port taxes (a maximum increase of $126 per $250,000 assessed value) for several years, but that the property purchased from these additional taxes will produce revenues that will then decrease Port taxes in the future.
We need to have approval from 500+ residents before the Port will act.
Please return ASAP to:
ICC Petition to Port of Illahee, PO Box 2563, Bremerton, WA 98310
Or give to an Illahee Community Club member who will forward it on.
————————— Please tear off and return the section below, and keep the map & write-up as a reference. ———————-
_____Yes! I agree with the petition and add my signature in support of the Port taking these actions.
_____No! I am sorry but I cannot support the petition. (Please let us know your reasons.)
CITY, STATE, ZIP ___________________________________________________PHONE__________________
500 Plus Signatures Needed. As you can see this will be an ambitious task to obtain 500 signatures from the registered voters within the Port of Illahee boundaries (which are essentially the Illahee Community boundaries, with a few exceptions).
Meeting Vote. After a lengthy discussion time with many questions asked, a vote was taken, which passed unanimously. The Port Commissioners stated they would hold additional meetings to give other opportunities for residents to ask questions.
Your Thoughts?. This is a crucial decision point in the life of Illahee and we would like to get your thoughts, whether your agree or not with those who attended the meeting.