>Beach Nourishment Hearing Report – 10/1/09

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Informal Hearing Held 10/1/09.  The informal hearing of the the Illahee Beach Nourishment project was held at the DFW offices in Port Orchard on Thursday (10/1/09).
 
Illahee Attendees.  The Illahee Community Club (ICC) members attending were Jim Brady, Don Jahaske, Linda Hinde, Judith Krigsman, and Jim Aho, and consultant Dale Thoemke.
 
Primary ICC Issue #1 – Siltation.  The primary issue for many of the Illahee residents living near the mouth of Illahee Creek is the excessive siltation that is destroying shellfish, clam and oyster beds.  Pictures showing the gooey mud that exists north of the mouth of Illahee Creek were presented.  It was noted that the depth of the silt under the nearshore float of the dock is 32 inches at the south end, and 24 inches at the north end.  The concern is that by placing the dredged material, which contains silt along with sand and pebbles, on the beach we are increasing the sedimentation problem in the area and further damaging the shellfish.  Dale Thoemke noted that it doesn’t take much sediment to damage eel grass and shellfish beds.
 
Primary ICC Issue #2 – Human Intervention.  The other issue that was presented was trying to understand why we are trying to interject human intervention into an area that has not been documented as needing “beach nourishment.”  The response was that all beaches need sediment and because littoral drift is moving sand down the beach, then any extra sediment in the area should be placed on the beach, evidently because you can never have too much sediment.  We tried to explain that our problem with Illahee Creek already is excessive sedimentation caused by unmitigated storm surges, and we really don’t have a sediment deficiency problem.  In other words, why would DFW propose human intervention into a natural process that has not exhibited any problems? and especially when that human intervention will accelerate or exacerbate the siltation problem further?
 
Community Input?  So far, from the people who we have talked with, the concensus is this is a really dumb idea.  We generally try to stay neutral when reporting, but we have to agree that we don’t understand the rationale behind this project.
 
Results In November.  The results of the Port of Illahee informal hearing in Olympia, and the Illahee Community Club informal hearing today in Port Orchard, will be issued in November 2009.  If the informal appeal fails, and they most often do, then either or both groups could file a formal appeal that would go before a judicial person. 
 
Your Thoughts?  The ICC would like to know your thoughts on this issue.  Please let them know by responding to this Update with a short note so they know how the community feels about it.  If it is just a few waterfront owners around the mouth of the creek who are concerned and others could care less, then the ICC needs to know it.
 
Jim Aho