Illahee 6/15/17 Stormwater Meeting, Countywide Open House Meetings, Past Problems, Brown Water in the Bay, New Culvert Underdesigned, Outfall at Illahee Dock, Gilberton Creek Washout, Port Stormwater Grant, Grant Recommendations, Illahee Preserve Acquisitions, County Progress

Stormwater Meeting.  There is an important meeting regarding stormwater for Illahee residents and the Sylvan Way Library meeting room is a great place for events like this.

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Countywide Open House Meetings.  While this is part of a county wide effort (see writeup below) to inform residents of stormwater programs, experts will be able to discuss Illahee specific projects that are ongoing.
 

If you have questions or concerns about stormwater drainage or flooding issues on or near your property join us for this open house.  We want to hear from you.  Stormwater staff will be available to listen to your concerns and gather input regarding our services and programs. They are also available to answer questions and provide a variety of brochures and resources.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about the Stormwater Division’s services as well as the Clean Water Kitsap program. Clean Water Kitsap is a partnership program between Kitsap County Public Works, the Kitsap Public Health District, Kitsap Conservation District and WSU-Extension. We work together to protect water quality by identifying and reducing sources of pollution, providing technical assistance for a variety of best management practices related to septic systems, livestock manure management, rain gardens and more.

 
Past Problems.  Illahee has a history with earlier questionable stormwater decisions, primarily permitting.
 
Brown Water in the Bay.  During every major storm event sediment is deposited out into the bay from the storm surges the plague Illahee Creek from developments authorized within the watershed.
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New Culvert Underdesigned.  The relatively new Illahee Creek culvert (1999) under Illahee Road quickly filled with sediment beyond the design height indicating an underdesign.  With limited height clearances it is susceptible to a washout if it becomes clogged.
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Outfall at Illahee Dock.  Some years ago the Port of Illahee fought the county with attempts to install an outfall at the Port dock.  This resulted in an poorly designed and installed outfall north of the dock that is presently an eyesore, that is someday supposed to be corrected.
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Gilberton Creek Washout.  Also a number of years ago there was a major washout of the Gilberton Creek culvert, due to the lack of recognition of cumulative projects impacting the culvert.  While the culvert was then replaced, there were no apparent public lessons learned responses.  Just prior the washout of the road a bus loaded with children passed over it.  The local community hoped that it would have resulted in some kind of public lessons learned response, but it didn’t.
 
Port of Illahee Stormwater Grant.  The bright spot after the above stormwater failures was the Port’s success in obtaining a Centennial Clean Water Fund grant to develop a Surface Water Management Plan, which resulted in comprehensive study of the watershed and water issues which is now being used to correct many of the past failures.
Grant Recommendations.  Many recommendations were suggested, however, the cost of correcting all the identified problems was $20 million, not including the recommendation to acquire critical properties.
 
Illahee Preserve Acquisitions.  The Illahee Preserve has been successful in many of it’s acquisition efforts, but still has a way to go.  We found the following information especially encouraging.
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County Progress.  Kitsap County is also making steady progress on the recommendations, which we will hear more of at Monday’s meeting, along with their other programs.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 6/11/17 Photos, Community Stormwater Meeting 6/19, Illahee Store report on CK Reporter Front Page 6/2, Wednesday Port Meeting, Preserve Shelter on Kitsap Sun Front Page 6/6

Photos. 

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Illahee Dock’s outer float as a fishing platform.
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Photo showing the reflection from the morning sun on the new and shiny Port of Waterman dock (upper left).  Note the bald eagle to the right on the Port of Illahee light post, which is seen there many mornings.
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Preserve stacked rocks.
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The dog that was killed at the top of Ocean View has been memorialized.

Community Stormwater Meeting 6/19.  The Illahee Community Group and the Illahee Forest Preserve non-profit groups are hosting Kitsap County’s stormwater personnel on Monday 6/19/17 from 6-7:45 pm at the Sylvan Way Library.  The county is beginning an “Illahee Regional Stormwater Retrofit Project” affecting Illahee and the Illahee Preserve that we will hear more about, among other things.  This should help with the stormwater surges plaguing Illahee Creek and threatening to take out the Illahee Creek culvert at the bottom of Illahee hill.  We have attached an old photo showing the nearly filled culvert (you used to be able to walk through it).
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Illahee Store Report on CK Reporter Front Page 6/2.  The Port’s hope to purchase the Illahee Store was reported on in the CK Reporter.  http://www.kitsapdailynews.com/news/port-of-illahee-hopes-to-acquire-abandoned-property/  There will hopefully be more information shared at Wednesday’s Port meeting.
 
Wednesday Port Meeting.  This is a reminder the monthly Port of Illahee meeting on Wednesday at 5 pm.  The port heard from four community members who attended last month’s meeting that the steep slope to the Port meeting room was getting to be too difficult to traverse, so it was suggested the June meeting be held outside of the store and one of them offered to put up a canopy.  We just heard that the request was granted and the meeting will be outside of the abandoned Illahee Store.  The slope down to the base of the dock is 18% which is beyond ADA requirements.
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Preserve Shelter on Kitsap Sun Front Page 6/6.  Another Illahee front page story, click on the link A000100001L (46).  Two in one week for a small but amazing community.  More photos coming as gutters are scheduled to be installed on Tuesday along with gravel and grading this coming week.
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Jim Aho 

Illahee 5/31/17 Old Bear Photo, Bear Reports, Golden Eagle Report, Spring Young, Kildeer Nest, New Sign, Class Visit to Preserve, Preserve Shelter Progress

Old Bear Photo.  This photo is from June 2014 of a local bear that could be the same bear that has been seen recently in the area.
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Bear Reports.  More reports of bears moving through Illahee, including by me who had the bear and her cub walk by me this past Thursday about 9:15 am, as I was working in my yard.  When they saw me they quickly left and walked north along the beach.

My neighbors report a few minutes earlier was more interesting.  
 
Carol had just finished hanging clothes on the outdoor clothesline when she noticed movement to her right on the lawn at the top of the path to the beach.  A mama bear and her older cub were about 20 ft. from her.  She slowly backed away toward the house, then came running in the house and told her husband there were two bears in the yard.  We went out on their deck as the bears ran up toward the Illahee Rd.  We lost track of then and phoned our next door neighbor when we heard a loud crack.  We stepped back out on the deck to see the mama bear tearing a limb off our Hawthorne tree to get at a small bird house, that was hanging on a branch.  She was eating something,  When she saw us she bounded off into the underbrush going south.  We didn’t see the cub at that time.
 
A photo of the bird house, which had a bumblebee nest in it, and the limb that was broken off are shown below.

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Golden Eagle Report.  Another report of an irregular visitor to the area from Dody.
 
I live in the housing complex across from Rolling Hills golf course and saw my first ever golden eagle in a large fir tree yesterday. The crows were going crazy over something in a large fir tree, so got the binoculars out and sure enough, it was a golden eagle eating something (lost pets?) for at least twenty minutes before leaving with a large entourage of angry crows. Saw it twice later in the afternoon with the same murder of noisy escorts. Biggest bird I’ve ever seen. Didn’t know they were indigenous to this area until I looked it up in our bird books. Made my day, but I’ll be keeping a closer eye on my 7-pound poodle mix for sure!
 
Spring Young.  We haven’t seen the ducklings lately, but are seeing more goslings.
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Kildeer Nest.  Will this nest survive better than the nearby goose and duck ones that were discovered by raccoons?
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New Sign.  A new private sign has been posted at the top of Ocean View with the following note from Mark:
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I also purchased a professional Bushnell speed gun and I’ve been tracking speeds as people make the corner. The good news is that many of the cars I thought we’re going too fast we’re actually very close to the speed limit I think a lot of it has to do with the sound as vehicles are making the turn. That said we still have a number of young people mostly who race up the hill those I intend to capture with the speed gun and pictures and post them on the Illahee Facebook page asking people to let those individuals know they’re just going too fast and they could kill someone or some one’s pet.
 
Class Visit to Preserve.  Another teacher is using the Preserve for learning experiences.  A few weeks ago we included a photo of a 2nd and 3rd grade class.  This is an Olympic College class that met at the Preserve on Tuesday.
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Preserve Shelter Progress.  A major investment in the Preserve has been made with the installation of shelter by the Rotary Club of East Bremerton at the Almira entrance to the Illahee Preserve.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 5/22/17 Photos, Facebook Reports, Bear Sightings, Port of Illahee Meeting Report, Sheriff’s Sale, Contaminated Site, Thimbleberry

Photos.  Some photos from the past two weeks.

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New ferry ‘Chimacum’ going through trials in Illahee last week.
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First Canada geese goslings.  Between the eagles and seagulls many goslings don’t make it.  Also, most of the geese and ducks in our area had their eggs eaten, likely by raccoons, before they even hatched.
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Another domestic rabbit sighted out in the wild.
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Chipmunk next to the Preserve
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Common Loon that is late if it is just passing through.
 
Facebook Reports.  Day to day reporting from suspicious activities to lost pets appears on the Illahee Community Facebook page, and more recently of more bear sightings.
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The loss of a dog was reported recently followed by the following sign by where the dog was hit. 
Facebook bear report
The above report was most likely in the area closer to Gilberton.  Later on FB there was a report and video of bears in East Bremerton that can be seen at  https://www.facebook.com/groups/kitsaplnfpetsearch/permalink/1706073776077147/
East Brem Bears
Port of Illahee Meeting Report.  The Port of Illahee’s attorney Ken Bagwell gave a brief at the Port’s May meeting of the status of the attempt by the Port to purchase the abandoned Illahee Store.
 
Sheriff’s Sale.  A sheriff’s sale is planned in the near future, as soon as 6 weeks, at which time the Port can bid on the store.
 
Contaminated Site.  The store property is a registered contaminated site with the Department of Ecology from past leaking underground petroleum tanks.  The Port noted that funds are normally available to Ports for cleanup efforts, which is why they are moving ahead with a possible purchase.
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Thimbleberry.  Thimbleberry is a native plant is found throughout Illahee and in the Illahee Preserve.  It has exceptionally soft leaves, which during Preserve tours is pointed out as nature’s toilet paper to help people identify it.  More information about thimbleberry can be found on the internet.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 5/6/17 Photo, Class Visit to Preserve, Comcast Work Party, Rotary Shelter Progress, Port Meeting on Wednesday, New Forage Fish Maps

Photo.  Thanks to Chris for this great photo. 

Towhee as shot
From yesterday’s walk, here is a Spotted Towhee in some huckleberry right next to the trail around the Compass Circle area. The Robins, Song Sparrows, Juncos and White-crowned Sparrows are everywhere right now. I even caught a glimpse of an adult Bald Eagle flying low through the trees this morning near the Almira parking lot! 

 
Class Visit to Preserve.  Several weeks ago a class of 2nd and 3rd graders visited the Illahee Preserve.  
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An unexpected surprise was two Barred Owls who greated the children.  The students each sent a thankyou note with hand colored covers like the one shown below.  
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In addition to the owls another favorite was the ~500 year old Douglas Fir.
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Comcast Work Party.  On Earth Day Comcast employees gathered for an all day work party at the Illahee Preserve.  We are waiting for their official photos as they accomplished many great projects. 
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Rotary Shelter Progress.  The Comcast Care work party coincided well with the work being done on the Rotary Shelter being installed at the Almira parking lot.  With the footings in the work can begin above ground.
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Port Meeting on Wednesday.  Just a reminder that the Port of Illahee will be meeting on Wednesday at 5 pm.  The Port’s lawyer is scheduled to give an update on the Illahee Store, which the Port is attempting to purchase.
 
New Forage Fish Maps.  Who knew we had such a diversity of forage fish spawning sites in the area?  The newly released maps show documented spawing locations of Pacific Sand Lance, Surf Smelt, and Pacific Herring, and there are likely more as these are just the documented sites.  http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/research/projects/marine_beach_spawning/
Spawning Map
Forage Smelt Illahee
Forage Details
Jim Aho

Illahee 4/28/17 Photos, Orca Photos, Great Give May 2, Funding Needed, 2017 Preserve Projects, Elwha Films Showing Friday

Photos.  Preserve trillium, garden grazers, flowering plants.

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Orca Photos.  Thanks to Jay for these orca photos taken one week ago (4/21/17) and we are sorry we are late in posting them, which is an opportunity to note we are still looking for other ‘community reporters’ to put out updates when we are out of town or unavailable.
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Kitsap Great Give May 2.  Kitsap’s Great Give is on Tuesday, May 2nd, and the Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) is on the list for receiving funding.  Contributions provide funding for everything from maintenance to acquisitions to legal costs.  Below is what was given in 2016.  Much more is needed this year as noted next.
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Funding Need.  The next big funding drive will be to supplement a hoped for acquisition funding from the legislature for Phase 2 of the Lost Continent project. Below is the one page summary which notes that even with an appropriation, contributions of $130,000 will need to be raised.  That is the amount raised for Phase 1 so it is anticipated it can be done again.  And, if the appropriation doesn’t come through, there are other projects and acquisitions, see the list of 2017 projects
Acq Request
2017 Preserve Projects.  The map below shows the future plans for 2017 and beyond.
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Elwha Films Showing Friday.  Thanks to all those who traveled to Gig Harbor to see the Illahee film two weeks ago and meet Shelly Solomon.  She will be at the showing on Friday evening of her two Elwha films.
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Jim Aho 

Illahee 4/14/17 Environmental Double Feature Movie Tonight in Gig Harbor

Environmental Movies.  We have been told that recent movies at the Harbor Museum have sold out and people have been turned away. But because it is Good Friday there is room tonight for this double feature. 

Double Feature
Big Screen Last Chance.  The poster notes it will be the “LAST chance to see these flms on a big screen.” so we will take the opportunity tonight.

Jim Aho

Illahee 4/11/17 Heritage Film Series, Filmmaker, Ticket Info, Ebb & Flow Report, Illahee Film Background, Port Meeting Wed, Commissioner Vacancies, May Filing Deadline

Heritage Film Series.    This Friday, 4/14/17, at 7 pm the Harbor History Museum in Gig Harbor will show two local area films, “Buried in Sawdust for 50 Years” and “Illahee – Saving Puget Sound One Watershed at a Time”.  http://harborhistorymuseum.org/events/

Heritage Films
Filmmaker.  One of the reasons Shelly Solomon was chosen as the filmmaker for the Illahee film was because of the quality and artistic presentation of the Sawdust film.  This is a good opportunity to see both films.  The Friday evening showings will include a Q & A with Shelly and complimentary refreshments.
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Ticket Info.  Tickets can be purchased at the Harbor website:  http://harborhistorymuseum.org/buy-tickets/  Advance ticket purchase is recommended.
 
Ebb & Flow Report.  Last Saturday evening the Harbor History Museum presented Shelly’s latest film “Ebb & Flow” with the following report:  
 
Once again Ebb and Flow sold out :) and they turned people away…. not sure if anyone from your community went but we are now hoping Saving Puget Sound will sell out.
 
Illahee Film Background.  The Illahee film was a joint effort by many entities, with much of the funding support coming from a Centennial Clean Water grant administered by the Port of Illahee.  Local contributions also funded cineflex camera coverage from a helicopter on its way to cover the Elwha Dam removal.
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Port Meeting Wed.  This is a reminder the Port of Illahee meets the second Wednesday of each month at 5 pm.  Commissioners voted months ago to try and acquire the former Illahee Store, in spite of contamination from the Underground Storage Tanks (USTs), and are waiting to hear from lawyers on the status of proceedings.
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Commissioner Vacancies.  Two Port Commissioner vacancies will occur at the end of this year, and interested residents are encouraged to apply.
 
May Filing Deadline.  May is the deadline for filing for all elected officials.  Filing information is available on the Kitsap County website.  Port of Illahee information is available at the portofillahee.com website.
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 4/6/17 Photos, Winter Waterfowl, Surf Scoters, Golden Eyes, Orca Visit, Car Removed, Land Slides, Gig Harbor Museum Films, Ebb & Flow Film, Sawdust & Illahee Film

Photos.

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Winter Waterfowl.  Soon our wintering waterfowl will be leaving.
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Surf Scoters.  Our favorites are the Surf Scoters.  
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Golden Eyes.  Two species of these colorful winter migrants, the first being Barrow’s Goldeneye, the second Common Goldeneye.  Both nest in cavities in trees.
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Orca Visit Monday.  We missed seeing or photographing these Monday visitors.  Illahee’s Facebook noted the visit with the following post.
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Car Removed.  Thanks to the Park’s Department for arranging for the removal of this car from the Preserve.  If no one claims cars like these they go up for auction at Chico Towing the first Saturday of each month.
 
Rick from Chico Towing was great. He figured he couldn’t get his tow truck into the car, so he decided to try to start the car and back it out. Because the thieve had punched out the ignition, Rick didn’t need a key. However, the battery was missing. But, Rick had a portable battery charger that he hooked up to the battery terminals and , voilà the vehicle started! He expertly backed the vehicle out of the trail, hooked it up to his truck, and towed it away.
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Land Slides.  There have been numerous land slides along the steep banks of Illahee Creek this year.  Because of the steep slopes it isn’t easy to get photos. Thanks to John for these photos.
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Gig Harbor Museum Films.  The Harbor History Museum has a Heritage Film Series showing several films by Leaping Frog Film’s Shelly Solomon.  Shelly produced the Illahee film that showed locally and regionally a few years ago.
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Ebb & Flow Film.  The Ebb & Flow film will show Saturday evening (4/8/17), and tickets are going fast.  http://harborhistorymuseum.org/buy-tickets/
There are only a few seats left.  We just had this  film show in Olympia to a massive crowd and at the reception it was hard to move around.
The Harbor Museum is tiny and only a few tickets left…. tell people if interested buy tickets on line ASAP and don’t risk buying at the door.
 
When this film premiered in Seattle in October, 350 people showed up and we only had room for 300 people :).   This film is going to show at the MOHI and Wing Luke museums and its booked to show in Alaska, Canada and California… 
 
Sawdust & Illahee Film.  Next Friday (4/14/17) will be a double feature “Buried in Sawdust” and “Illahee – Saving Puget Sound One Watershed at a Time”.  Illahee was just added so we will send out its writeup later.  If you haven’t seen either of these films this is a good opportunity.
Sawdust Film
Jim Aho

Illahee 3/27/17 Photos, Road Patch, School Street Utility Work, State Park Wind Damage, Critical Areas Ordinance Meeting, Wetland, All Secure Storage June Hearing, 10 Years Unresolved, Possible Resolution?

Photos.  The skunk cabbage photo will be explained further in the wetland section.  The rabbit is a first for me during a walk today in Illahee.  

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Road Patch.  After the water main break was fixed and the hole filled and the road patched there is little evidence of Saturday’s excitement that closed Illahee Road. 
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School Street Utility Work.  School Street also had a water break earlier this year as buried power lines were put into conduit.  
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State Park Wind Damage.  Thanks to Cliff who emailed these photos on March 18th showing wind damage at Illahee State Park.
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Critical Areas Ordinance Meeting.  On Thursday (3/30/17) the public will have an opportunity to hear a presentation on the proposed Critical Area Ordnance draft.
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Wetland.  The Illahee Preserve has an amazing wetland complex along State Route 303.  Many have asked why the nearly 40 acres around the Park & Ride were never sold off like the acreage containing Fred Meyers, Lowes, United Storage, and the former Eastside Auto Wrecking Yard.  The reason is the area is a wetland complex containing the headwater streams of Steele Creek, and a Critical Aquifer Recharge Area (CARA).  The streams go into culverts under the Park & Ride, McWilliams Road, and Walgreens, which keep them from being fish bearing, but nevertheless important as critical areas.  The area is so impressive from a wetland perspective it has been suggested that a trail and observation platform be built for public access and observation.  The photo below shows insects attacted by the smell of the skunk cabbage.
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All Secure Storage June Hearing.  The headwater streams and wetland area are next to the location where the All Secure Storage project is proposed (red center square).  The SEPA Hearing is currently scheduled for June 22, 2017.  
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10 Years Unresolved.  The SEPA appeal was filed nearly 10 years ago (5/7/07) and still hasn’t been resolved.  The issue was first undisclosed streams and wetlands, which resulted in the Hearing Examiner at the time stopping the hearing after the Department of Ecology’s Western Washington wetland expert issued his report during the hearing, noting the adjacent stream and wetlands.  The Illahee Preserve Stewards had presented a photo album during the hearing, but it wasn’t until a recognized expert issued an official report that the Hearing Examiner realized there really was a stream and wetland of significance.  The project made the front page of the Kitsap Sun several times in the early years.
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Possible Resolution?  We bring this up because the Illahee Preserve Stewards approved a resolution last week, that was presented to the county’s Non-Motorized Facilities Citizen’s Advisory Committee that also met last week.  It is past time that this issue be resolved with the state and county taking the lead.  The Preserve Steward’s resolution states how this could benefit all the involved parties.  
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Jim Aho