>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

>High Tides, Port Comments,&Annexation Proposal? – 1-26-11

>High Tide Responses.  We receive some interesting comments regarding the supposedly high tides this past weekend. 

Walking On Water?  “One time, shortly after WWII, the tide was just above the decking on the Illahee Community dock and when we walked out to the end, it appeared we were able to walk on water.”  We attached a photo of the high tide on Monday, which was a 13.6 foot tide, to give you an idea that a tide that would cover the decking would need to be at least 3 feet higher than it was on Monday.

Rue Villa Resident Comment.  “Yes, High tides?, not very high. I began thinking the forecasters got everything wrong. In our 44 years here at Rue Villa we’ve had much higher. Weather conditions were fairly mild though.”

Highest Recorded Tide at Brownsville.  This data link specifies the maximum observed tide at Brownsville of 14.19 feet in 1980!  http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/PublicMenu/Documents/Reg/applications/tides/np/np66.cfm

Corps Salvage Vessel.  The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has a salvage vessel that retrieves debris in the Sound waterways, and was out on Monday in front of Illahee.  Their logo can be seen under the name PUGET.  We happened to see it and snapped the attached photos.  It had just picked up a 55 gallon barrel with a 2×6 frame that was evidently part of somebody’s float.  A little while later it picked up a log just past Illahee State Park.  The debris is placed on the center deck where the barrel and logs can be seen.

Monday’s Port Article.  Sunday’s Kitsap Sun feature was on the 12 Kitsap County Port Districts and discussed a proposal that they be consolidated.  On Monday they presented the Port of Bellingham, where consolidation has already taken place.  We thought these articles would have generated numerous responses to their website comment section, but they didn’t and we are wondering if it was because many of the normal commenters were following the Walmart shooting.  The link to the Monday article is:  http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/jan/23/countywide-bellingham-gets-more-bang-for-its/

Port Comments.  While we received verbal comments to the Sun’s Port articles, we received only two emails, which follow:
If you loose the small community ports the community bond will be stripped.
If Bremerton Port is such a great port why does it need tax revenue or even the possible combined revenues of the Kitsap county small ports. It should be generating free cash with banks lining up to inject money into their ventures. That little bit of venting released, I truly wish Bremerton nothing but the best but do not compare Bremerton with the small community ports. I appreciate what Bremerton has done but Bremerton is about jobs and revenue as the small ports are all about the community.
Brownsville is fortunate to have been able to develope its port and being so well established is more or less assured a future as a community while other ports have little more to offer than a priceless scenic view.
It goes that proposed consolidation is nothing but future elimination of small ports and capture of revenues. The best the future could hold for small ports is a ramp as docks would be deemed to be too expensive to maintain with chains and chain link fencing. Small ports would have to go beg with strong community backing for each morsel of funding. As there would no longer be port commissioners the chance of obtaining anything for the community would be remote.
Loss of a port would pull the revenue and much of the voice out of the small communities and then the eventual loss of a community identity. The identity of Kitsap County has been built up around the developments of the small ports.
We need to see the small ports as a positive feature of Kitsap County.
Well, after reading the articles, I continued my confidence in our port commissioners and increased my pride in their performance.
I just have no words to describe how foolish I would consider any prospect of merging with any of the listed districts.
It does seem to me that the Port of Bremerton (which, I think has the highest rate of assessment) could annex some of the East Bremerton land previously held by the Navy and, for that matter I would think that Bainbridge would be an attractive addition to their scope.  If I lived there, I would be really interested in establishing a separate district to preclude annexation by Bremerton.

Annexation Proposal?  We read in the Kitsap Sun on Wednesday (1/26/11) the county is evidently proposing that cities annex nearby communities in order relieve the county of infrastructure costs.  This has the potential to directly affect Illahee.  The attached link provides more details. 

Kitsap County wants most urban areas annexed into cities within five years.


KRCC Proposal.  We just read some of the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council’s proposal and it appears to be the case.  The link to this document is:  http://www.kitsapregionalcouncil.org/library/D%20-%20Countywide%20Policies/Dec%202010%20Proposed%20CPP%20Changes%20for%20Public%20Comment.pdf

Public Hearing Thursday Evening.  There will be a public hearing on Thursday (1/27/11) evening at 5 pm at the Norm Dicks Center.  We copied and pasted the following information from their website.
Proposed Revisions
to the Kitsap Countywide Planning Policy are available
for Public Comment until
January 28th, 2011.
Public Hearing:
January 27th, 2011
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Norm Dicks Government Center
,Main Meeting Chambers, 345 6th Street, Bremerton, WA.
Send Public Comment to:
or mail to KRCC office (see far left panel for address).

Our Initial Comments.  In our quick read through their proposed revised policy document we have the following initial comments:

1.  There is no discussion of Subarea plans such as Illahee’s, and what the impacts would be with the adoption of this policy.
2.  It sounds like communities such as Illahee would be given an opportunity to either incorporate or be annexed.
3.  When Illahee’s Subarea plan was going through the adoption process, we were told to remove all the commercial corridor along SR 303.
4.  Illahee is then left with mostly park land, open space, critical areas and a greenbelt, which isn’t enticing for any city to want to annex, but according to this policy, they wouldn’t have a choice.
5.  We are somewhat removed from Silverdale, should/when it becomes a city, so it seems we are likely in Bremerton’s projected future annexation boundary.
6.  When asked by Illahee residents several years ago whether they wanted to be part of Bremerton or Silverdale or create their own Subarea plan, the results were 2%, 6%, & 92%.
7.  There is a statement that “adjustments” can be made to the Urban Growth Areas (Section B.3.k).  
8.  Does this mean the Illahee could propose to be removed from the UGA?
9.  Do we ask these questions at the public hearing, and/or do we discuss these at the next Illahee Community meeting?

Let Us Know Your Thoughts.  Let us know how you feel about these possible annexation issues that are suddenly before us again.

Attend Thursday’s Meeting?  More importantly, it may be better to attend Thursday’s public meeting at the Norm Dicks Center, or send your comments in by Friday.  

Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous – 1-23-11

>Tide Photos.  For the supposedly highest tides of the year on Saturday and Sunday, they weren’t very exciting or very high.  We did get up early on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings in hopes of catching ‘an extreme high tide,’ but they didn’t appear.  We even checked the barometer which had low readings of between 28.3 – 28.5 in Hg, which is considered a fairly low atmospheric pressure (standard is 29.92 in Hg).  We did select a couple of photos to show that the tides were high, they just weren’t extremely high.

How High Do Tides Get Here?  We have been asked at various times about what are the highest tides we have seen.  We have lived on the waterfront for over 40 years, in various places, and somewhere have photos of extreme high tides.  The extreme high tide (late 70’s or early 80’s) we saw at this residence was 18 inches higher than the tide we had on Sunday, which is why it wasn’t very exciting for us.

Schutt’s Point At High Tide.  We took a couple of photos at Schutt’s point on Sunday morning that show some low points inside the spit.  The first photo shows the low area at the north end near the mouth.  The second photo shows a low spot at the south end of the spit, where water drains from the low area, and where a branch of Illahee Creek flowed during the December 2007 storm.  A number of years ago we paddled kayaks inside the spit area.  We entered from the north and exited to the south, which would have put us in front of the house that has been built there.  That was an instance when there was a more extreme high tide.

Chis Dunagan Blog.  When we posted our last Update that linked 2010 high tide photos, we did so just as Chris Dunagan had posted his most recent blog covering the same subject – Ecology’s request for people to take photos of the high tides.  The link is:  http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2011/01/21/grab-your-camera-to-share-some-high-tide-photos/

Eagle At Preserve Pond.  We received the following email regarding an eagle that was seen in the detention pond at the Almira parking lot of the Illahee Preserve.  Thanks to all who send these reports.
I wanted to let you know that I saw a bald eagle at the Preserve today.  I drove into the Almira parking lot at about 1:45 and saw a bald eagle emerge from the stormwater retention area.  The eagle took flight as soon as I pulled in so I don’t know what it was doing in there, but it didn’t have anything in its talons.  My first thought was that it may be preying on waterfowl that use the area but if the eagle was hunting it didn’t come up with anything.  It was a really spectacle to witness as the eagle was so close and not the type of bird I was expecting to fly out of the stormwater area.

Deer Photo.  There are a number of people who are regular walkers around the area.  We talked with Tom the other day and he said he regularly saw deer on his walks including some big bucks.  We asked if he would send us a photo, and the next day he did, with these comments.

 Saw that big buck again.  Exact same bed he was in before.  In the wetlands on 3rd.
Port Articles in Kitsap Sun.  It was hard to walk and read after I picked up the Kitsap Sun this morning as my interest was on the article on the Port districts, and what appears to be an effort to consolidate them.  Two feature articles in the Sunday Sun were on the Ports and we have attached the links here.  
Port Discussion Continues on Monday.  On Monday, the discussion is supposed to continue and we will provide that link later.  There are a number of residents who are snow birds and say they appreciate the Kitsap Sun links, along with others who do not receive the Sun.
Your Port Comments?  After reading these articles we would be interested to hear your thoughts and comments with respect to the general issues and also with respect to the Port of Illahee.

Jim Aho

>High Tide Photos From 2010 – 1-21-11

>2010 Extreme High Tide Photos.  If you want to see what extreme high tides looked like in Puget Sound in 2010, the Washington Department of Ecology website has some great photos, including some from Kitsap County.  Please click on the following link:  http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/ipa_hightide.htm

Also Called “King Tides.”  We had heard of these photos, but did not look in the right place or use the right words in our search, as the extreme tides are also called “King Tides.”

Ecology’s King Tide Initiative.  Attached are the notices of the “Washington King Tide Photo Initiative” that came out both in some emails and as a news release earlier this month.  Thank you to those who emailed us this information!  We have attached the emails and the news release below.

Jim Aho
The WA Dept. of Ecology is asking for help to get the word out about the Washington King Tide Photo Initiative. Ecology is recruiting people along Washington’s coasts and in the Puget Sound to take part in a new initiative to collect photos of extreme high tides.

From California to British Columbia, individuals will be sharing photos of extreme high tides, or “king tides” to help us all visualize how higher sea levels may alter our coastal communities. In Washington, individuals are encouraged submit their photos of king tide events to the Washington King Tide Photo Initiative flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/groups/1611274@N22/.

King tides occur naturally when the sun and moon’s gravitational pulls reinforce one another, and though they are not caused by climate change, they do give us a pretty dramatic glimpse of the impacts sea level rise may have on the Puget Sound and our outer coast. Similar king tide initiatives in British Colombia, Oregon and California will
help us understand the effect of higher sea levels on communities all along the Pacific Northwest coastline.

Please visit Ecology’s king tides website at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/ipa_hightide.htm
and flickr page (http://www.flickr.com/groups/1611274@N22/) to read more about King Tides, peak tide times in your area and how you can  participate!

Our website contains King tide date and time predictions for many of Washington’s coastal communities, including: Aberdeen, Bellingham, Bremerton, Edmonds, La Push, Neah Bay, Olympia, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Seattle, Sekiu (Clallam Bay), Tacoma, Toke Point (South Bend area), and Westport. If your community isn’t listed above, visit our
website for detailed instructions on how to locate tide information for your area.

Thank you very much and we look forward to seeing photos from many volunteers! If you have questions, please give us a call or send  an email. We’ve included sample text for email distribution to potential volunteers below.

Johanna Ofner


Eli Levitt

Sample e-mail distribution text:

Washington King Tide Photo Initiative: A Preview of Future Sea Level Rise

Seasonal high tides occurring throughout January and February will provide a preview of what Washington might expect to see on a more regular basis as a result of rising sea levels.  Members of the public are invited tophotograph these high tide events post their photos to the Washington King Tide Photo Initiative Flickr Page. These photos allow us to visualize sea level rise’s potential impact on the Puget Sound and our outer coast.

Department of Ecology News Release – January 5, 2011

Public invited to share photos of extreme high tides in Washington during January, February 2011

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is inviting the public to share photos of upcoming extreme high tide events in January and February 2011.
Extreme high tides occur naturally when the sun’s and moon’s gravitational pulls reinforce one another. These high tides are called “king tides” by some West Coast states, British Columbia and other countries such as Australia.
In Washington’s coastal areas, the high winter tides occur naturally from late December through February. They offer a compelling glimpse of how sea level rise from global climate change could affect the state’s coastal areas.
Scientists at the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group project that sea level will rise in the Puget Sound region as a result of climate change. Among of the various possible scenarios, the mid-range estimate is a sea level rise of approximately 6 inches by 2050.
Ecology’s “Washington King Tide Photo Initiative” gives Washington residents an opportunity to help Ecology collect photos of coastal flooding along Puget Sound and the state’s outer coast. To participate, follow these simple steps:
A 6-inch sea level rise would likely:
  • Intensify flooding in coastal areas, especially during high tides and major storms.
  • Shift coastal beaches inland.
  • Threaten structures, roads and utilities, and other near-shore land uses.
  • Increase coastal bluff erosion, endangering houses and other structures built near the bluff edges.
  • Threaten coastal freshwater aquifers (underground water supplies) by increased salt water intrusion.
Preparing Washington communities for sea level rise and other effects of climate change is a priority for Ecology and other state agencies.
“Understanding what climate change will mean to our environment is a key to making Washington climate-smart, and these very high tides are like a window into the future,” said Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant. “As sea level rises in the years to come, many of our shorelines – including those in our most populated areas – are very likely to be affected. By inviting the public to help us document the effects of higher water levels during king tides, we are laying the groundwork to help communities identify those areas most vulnerable to coastal flooding.
He said, “This work will help us anticipate what Washington communities can expect along much of our state’s thousands of miles of tidal coastline.”
Why climate change matters
A 2009 report by the University of Oregon states that, without additional actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the severity and duration of impacts from climate change will be profound and will negatively affect nearly every part of Washington’s economy. It could cost each household in Washington an average of $1,250 each year by 2020. See the economic impacts report.
A 2008 Washington state law calls for our state to reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas (sometimes referred to simply as “carbon”) emissions according to this timeline:
  • Achieve 1990 emission levels by 2020.
  • Bring emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035.
  • Bring them to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
State agencies have already taken several actions to:
  • Reduce their own energy use and related carbon emissions.
  • Work with businesses and others on carbon reduction strategies.
  • Develop a program to report greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Implement the federal program to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the U.S. Clean Air Act.
  • Prepare Washington for environmental changes that will affect infrastructure and communities, human health and security, and natural resources.
However, more will be needed to achieve the greenhouse gas emission goals in the state law.
Media Contact: Curt Hart, 360-407-6990; cell, 360-480-7908 (curt.hart@ecy.wa.gov)

>High Tides Coming – 1-21-11


Illahee Shoreline.  Illahee has over 3 miles of marine shoreline that run from north of the Cheney Estates to University Point, and most of Illahee slopes toward Puget Sound with some breathtaking views of the water.  Those water views change some with the tidal extremes, and we will be be seeing some of them this weekend (1/22/11 and 1/23/11).

Highest Tides of the Year.  This weekend we will experience the highest calculated tides of 2011.  Using the Tide Chart put out by the shipyard for Bremerton, Sinclair Inlet, and Port Orchard, the Saturday tide will be 13.8 at 7:01 am, and on Sunday it will be 13.8 at 7:34 am.  Note that depending on winds, atmospheric pressure, and rain, the predicted tides can vary by as much as 1 foot either way.

The Variables.  The effects of the above variables of winds, pressure and rain are as follows:  High pressure systems decrease the predicted tides, whereas low pressure systems increase them.  A westerly wind in the Strait of Juan De Fuca is reported to increase tides as are heavy rains.  So if the variables all line up for increasing the tide, we could theoretically experience a 14.8 foot tide (see the second to the last entry for how Olympia can be affected).

NOAA Tide Datums. We found the attached NOAA chart helpful in explain the different tidal headings and their readings.  The readings are slightly different for Bremerton where the MHHW is 11.7 ft, and the MSL is 6.9 ft.
figure III-6
Figure III-6.  Tidal datums for the Seattle Station (Source: NOAA 2001)

Why Tidal Heights Change.  We found the following explanation about why there are such great 
differences in the Puget Sound tides, and why Olympia is so highly impacted.  The link is:
Be Aware of Tides
The shape of the Sound affects the tide as it moves through channels and inlets. In the Straight of Juan De Fuca, a 7.2 foot tide at Cape Flattery will reach Port Townsend 3 hours and forty minutes later and increase in magnitude to 7.9 feet. The tide will reach south Puget Sound 1 hour later and increase to 13.5 feet by the time the tide reaches Olympia. Extreme high tides of 18 feet have been recorded in Olympia.

Photos Requested.  If we do experience extreme high tides, it would be nice to get some photos that we can pass on.

Jim Aho

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

>Wildlife Items – 6/23/09


Eagle Goes After Ornamental Chicken.  There are several farms in Illahee and this one is unique in many ways, including how they have learned to live with the wildlife. 
…………..we’ve been having some Eagle problems.  However they were here before us so they might have been E-mailing (that’s Eagle-mail) to each other about humans getting in the way of their way of life over the years!  They probably also E-mail that Honeyhill Farm is easy pickins.

We are fairly certain that an eagle got our male Guinea rooster in the pasture 3 days ago………..only tons of feathers left, and coyotes can’t get into the pasture because of the hot fence we have around the bottom of the fencing.

The day after that I heard some banging noises on the front porch………and ran to look.  There was an eagle trying to steal a fake rooster that I use for decoration.  It is a realistic, life size plastic/fake with chicken feathers glued all over it.  There were several crows dive bombing the eagle.  I chased it off and put the fake rooster back on her “perch.”  Now they’ll probably E-mail that some of Honeyhill’s chickens are really tough!!

At this point I’m worried about our mini dachshund and my cats.  We still have 4 chickens left but I’m sure they are plenty tender.   I guess that’s the price we pay for living in their territory.

Illahee Eagle With Fish.  We were talking with an Illahee waterfront resident who said she snapped of photo just after an eagle had gotten a fish from the bay.  She gave us permission to send out her photo, which is attached.
Sunflower Sea Star.  Sea stars, or star fish, can come in many different species and colors.  We found a number of small sunflower sea stars at Schutt’s Point on Monday including the bright orange one in the photo.  Some interesting facts about sunflower sea stars: it is the largest and fastest sea star in Puget Sound, it can grow to 3 feet in diameter and can mover over 3 feet per minute.  It eats nearly everything, including clams, crabs, snails, sea cucumbers, urchins, and other sea stars.  They have an interesting water-vascular system, or hydraulic system, that allows them to move by moving water in and out of small tube feet in each of their arms.
Low Tides & Clam Digging Success.  We also came across a father and son digging for geoducks and they had mistakenly dug a horse clam.  We asked if we could lay the horse clam next to a goeduck so we could take a picture to show the difference between the two big clams.  The horse clam is on the left and the geoduck is on the right.

Midshipman Fish.  Last year we gave a report on midshipman fish and decided to check under a rock to see if there would be a midshipman fish and some eggs.  We found two fish under the rock along with some eggs.  The male midshipman fish digs out the hole under the rock and then emits a croaking noise to entice female fish to come in and lay her eggs, which are deposited on the underside of the rock.  Sometimes there will be many eggs of different colors under a rock, indicating the male has been successful in attracting several females.  The second photo gives a better picture of what these fish look like.  They are nocturnal so they aren’t likely to be caught by those fishing during the day.
Jim Aho

>Wildlife Update – 12/9/08


Seedlings Dispersed in the Preserve. Approximately 20,000 Douglas fir seeds were dispersed in the Illahee Preserve recently. These seeds fall naturally from the fir trees, but can also be spread throughout an area by just spreading them about. Only a portion of them will actually take root, and an even small percentage will actually grow to any size. Jim Trainer, our local Illahee forester, tells us that approximately 50% will be eaten by birds and squirrels, and the remainder will take root. JIm also has done seedings and said it is easy to do and sent us a picture of the spreader and a bag of seeds, which we were unable to attach because it is part of a gallery. You can access Jim’s photo at this link.

Preserve Trees. The Illahee Preserve does have a few big trees in it. Most of the marketable timber in the Preserve was logged in the 1930’s except for a few large Western Red Cedar, a number of Western White Pine that probably weren’t marketable, and and at least one large Douglas Fir in the Preserve that is over 6 feet in diameter in the northeast section.

Illahee Preserve. We often get inquiries and comments about the Illahee Preserve. People comment that they are amazed at the size, approximately 460 acres and the quality of the trails in the Preserve. A map project was completed last summer with the help of the architectural firm of Rice-Fergus-Miller. Some information about the Preserve is on the community website which is illaheecommunity.com. We will try to get some more up-to-date information about the Preserve to pass on.

Decline In Waterfowl Numbers? Some of the oldtimers and not-so-oldtimers have noticed what appears to be declines in the numbers of waterfowl in the area. That has been our observations also. Below is an email we recently received.

We came here in October of 1999 to live in the home of my grandparents. At that time the bay was full of hundres of scoters, goldeneyes and widgeons. I remember that fall being warm. As the years have progressed, we are now seeing fewer and fewer water fowl. There were so many widgens up until last year that they would wake us in the night while they fed off the shore line, now there are only a few.

Puget Sound Partnership Notes Waterfowl Declines. We recently went to a presentation by Sara Lingafelter, the local representative for the Partnership, who noted that they have documented a decline, not only in fish numbers, but also in marine waterfowl numbers. We can’t remember if they provided percentages, but will try to find out.

Enjoy the Low Night-time Winter Tides. There is a local opportunity to do an evening beach walk on Thursday with Beach Naturalists who were trained this past year by Jeff Adams of the UW SeaGrant program. Attached is the email we received today (Tuesday) regarding the beach walk.

Hello All- The winter brings wonderful low night tides, and the first of three Kitsap Beach Naturalist led winter beach walks is upon us (see attached flyer). The walk is this Thursday (Dec 11) at the Lions Park boat launch in Bremerton 7:30-9:30. Thursday’s walk is the lowest tide of the three (-3.3 by the end of the walk). For a map…

The weather looks to be fabulous and should allow the full moon help light our way. Bring a flashlight or headlamp, rubber boots and warm clothes to explore this fabulous and biologically diverse beach.

The beach walks are hosted by the Kitsap beach Naturalists and People for Puget Sound. Please invite your friends and family and we’ll see you on the beach! JEff
Jeff Adams – jaws@u.washington.edu
Marine Water Quality Specialist
Washington Sea Grant – Kitsap
University of Washington
345 6th Street, Suite 550
Bremerton, WA 98337-1874

Thanks to all who keep passing information on.

Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous Items – 5/21/08

>Appeal Denied. If you get the Kitsap Sun you know the Illahee Community Club lost its appeal to the County Commissioners regarding the new 42 inch diameter outfall pipe at the base of the community dock. Here is the link to the article in the Sun.

Letter to the Editor. The Illahee Community Club had a statement prepared in case they lost that was read at the end of the Commissioners meeting. The statement was also sent to local papers as a “letter to the editor.” They hope it will get published. It is linked here for your information.

Community Club Meeting. The Illahee Community Club will meet this Saturday (5/24/08) from 1:30 – 3 pm at the Sylvan Way library. The club meets the middle month of each quarter (Feb/May/Aug/Nov) and the only place and time available to meet this month at the library was the Saturday before Memorial Day. All Illahee residents are invited to attend and if you want, to join the club. The yearly dues are only $10 for a person or family. An application form is linked here.

Illahee Community Plan Meetings. Significant progress is being made on the Plan and there are only 3 more scheduled meetings to wrap things up. The county has scheduled 2 additional Monday meetings on June 16 & 23, and we presume they are at the Unitarian Church. The dates for June are now June 2, 16, and 23 and the time is from 6-8 pm. Illahee residents are welcome to join the group.

Gosling Count. Fourteen goslings were reported in the area north of the community dock. Eight fairly good sized goslings in one family, and six smaller ones in another.

Lowest Tide of the Year. On June 4th will be the lowest tide of the year. According to the phone book it will be a -4.1 at 1:15 pm in the Bremerton area.

Jim Aho