Illahee 10/10/17 Photos, Audubon Speaker Thursday, Preserve Work Party Saturday, Illahee Runners at GC, Illahee Salmon Pens Battle, Illahee Wetlands Battle

Photos. Some recent photos.

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Audubon Speaker Thursday.  Great speaker on a most interesting topic, meets 10/12/17 from 7-9 pm at Poulsbo Library.
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Preserve Work Party Saturday.  We need help on Saturday to spread the rest of the wood chips on trails and some other less strenuous tasks.  The work party is at the Almira parking lot from 8-12 noon or whatever time inbetween that works best for you.  We have the wheelbarrows and the tools.
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Illahee Runners at GC.  We have only featured two runners over the years in our Updates and recently found out they were part of a local running group of ladies who ran the Rim to Rim trail at the Grand Canyon this weekend, which is 47 miles — in one day.  
 
Illahee Salmon Pens Battle.  With all the salmon pen news in the media few know that commercial salmon pens were proposed in Illahee in 1985 when aquaculture interest was at its highest and was being promoted at all levels of government, including the governor.
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Project Initially Approved.  Kitsap County officials approved permit #452 in December 1985 to put a fish rearing pen business in front of a private residence about a quarter mile north of the Illahee community dock.
 
Community Expressed Concerns.  Needless to say many of the neighboring residents and others were opposed to the commercial fish pens in their community for a number of reasons, navigation, lights, fish processing, and others.
 
ICBC Non-profit Corporation Established.  Concerned residents decided they needed to organize and the Illahee Community Betterment Committee (ICBC) was formed in 1986.
 
County Rescinds Permit.  “At the 2nd hearing in May ’86, after considerable review of both permits, the Kitsap County commissioner’s reversed themselves and denied Mr. Lassiter’s permit …”
 
Applicant Appeals to Shorelines Hearing Board (SHB).  At that point the applicant appealed to the State Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB).
 
ICBC Hires John Merkel.  With the great interest in aquaculture at the time many felt that the county would not prevail at the hearing (like other counties who had their denials overturned by the SHB) so the ICBC, after discussions found they needed to retain council, and hired John Merkel, a noted Seattle attorney.
 
Expert Witnesses.  Mr. Merkel helped with finding and retaining expert witnesses from the University of Washington, who said among other things that the Illahee area does not have the necessary tidal currents to flush away fish droppings.
 
Right Lawyer Prevails.  It was felt that Mr. Merkel’s reputation, knowledge and skills were what caused the SHB to have the permits remanded back to Kitsap County, where they were then denied.
 
Lessons Learned.  Some of us learned some important lessons from this battle.  
 
Lesson #1.  Make sure you have the science right.
 
Lesson #2.  It will cost you significant time and money, so be ready to sacrifice both as not everyone will/can help.
 
Lesson #3.  You need the best attorney you can find, which isn’t always easy and it can be costly.
 
Lesson #4.  You may need to help the county in the process, both with the science and the legal issues.
 
Illahee Wetlands Battle.  We are currently going through a similar battle with wetlands in the Preserve and it is interesting to see how these lessons are still applicable some 31 years later.  More on that in another Update.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 10/9/17 Port Meeting Wednesday, Port Comp Plan, Picnic Shelter Dedicated, WYA Work Party Report, Preserve Community Work Party Saturday, Interest in 1986 Illahee Salmon Pen Fight?

Port Meeting Wednesday.  The Port of Illahee’s regular monthly meeting is Wednesday 10/11/17 at 5 pm.  If the weather is nice the meeting may be outside at the former Illahee Food store.  If not there, the meeting will be held at its usual location, but with two parking spots being available at the lower level (which is considered marginally ADA accessible because of the need to drive down and back up the dock access road).

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Port Comp Plan.  The Port’s September meeting included an opportunity for the community to review the 2018 Comprehensive Plan and comment on it.  The Commissioner’s have left the opportunity to comment on it until the October 11th meeting at which time they will act on it.  
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Picnic Shelter Dedicated.  The Rotary Club of East Bremerton dedicated their new Shelter on 9/28 with a run down of the history of the Preserve, comments by Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent, and a review of future acquisition plans for the Preserve.  The photo below is when guests started to arrive.
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WYA Work Party Report.  With the threat of rain on Friday 9/29 the Washington Youth Academy work party started late, but was able to get much of the desired work completed. The thrust of the work was to move tree debris from nearby trees that threatened the new shelter, and to cover the trails with wood chips before the winter rains.  Left were a bunch of wood chips for a community work party.  Thanks to John P. for the photos.
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Preserve Community Work Party Saturday.  Wood chips remain to get the Preserve trail system ready for winter so the Park Stewards are looking for community help this coming Saturday (10/14) from 8 am to 1 pm. Wheelbarrows and hand tools have been accumulated and stored in a GoMini container that will be staged in the Almira parking lot.  Show up when you can and as long as you are available.   Questions?  Call 360-479-1049.
 
Interest in 1986 Illahee Salmon Pen Fight?  We borrowed an old file from 1986 when Illahee successfully fought off efforts to put salmon pens out in front of Illahee to commercially raise salmon.  There are current concerns following the accidental release of pen raised Atlantic salmon in the San Juan’s this summer as we have salmon pens in Rich Passage.  If not for a few interested Illahee residents, some of those pens might have been right here in Illahee.  Let us know if you want to hear the rest of that story.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 9/28/17 Rotary Shelter Dedication Today

ROTARY SHELTER DEDICATION TODAY.   Illahee residents are invited to the dedication today (Thursday) at 5:30 pm of the new Rotary picnic shelter at the Illahee Preserve’s Almira entrance.

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SHORT MEET & GREET CEREMONY.  Come and meet the members of the East Bremerton Rotary Club who have adopted the Preserve and provide it with some amazing gifts and volunteer support, along with Kitsap County officials and Bremerton’s Mayor Patty Lent.

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Jim Aho

Illahee 9/25/17 Illahee Wetland Makes Front Page, Hidden Wetland Complex, Tire Rims Found, Rotary Shelter Dedication Thursday, WYA Work Party Friday, Parks Open House Oct 3

Illahee Wetlands Make Front Page.  Some amazing wetlands make the front page of the Kitsap Sun for the third time in 10 years.  Again we are impressed with the Sun as you read the linked story: http://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/2017/09/21/illahee-storage-proposal-mired-wetland-debate/690955001/

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Hidden Wetland Complex.  Thick brush has hidden this wetland complex of some of the most beautiful skunk cabbages for years from the average Preserve user.  Neither the streams running through it or the wetlands show up on any county maps.  The only reference to it that we have found is in Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports of it being “wet”, and is the reason it was never sold to be commercially developed like the other property along State Route 303.   
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Tire Rims Found.  The only sign of human activity were some tire rims that were possibly being stolen from the former Eastside Auto Wrecking yard.  They likely got bogged down in the thick brush and boot eating mud and decided to leave them there.  We need to get a photo of them next time we are in the area, and before the fall rains begin.
 
Rotary Shelter Dedication Thursday.  The new picnic shelter installed by the East Bremerton Rotary Club will be dedicated at 5:30 pm on Thursday (9/28) by the Rotary, KC Commissioner Ed Wolfe, Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent, and KC Sheriff Gary Simpson.
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WYA Work Party Friday.  Then on Friday Washington Youth Academy (WYA) cadets will man wheel barrows and other tools to get the Preserve ready for the winter with chips on the trails and many other tasks.
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Parks Open House Oct 3.  Another important date is the following Tuesday (10/3) where you can express you ideas of what you’d like to see in our parks at an Open House Forum at the Eagles Nest building at the Fairgrounds from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 9/12/17 Preserve Fires, Saturday Fire, Monday Fire, Photos, Port Public Hearing, Comp Plan Goals

Preserve Fires.  Fires in the Illahee Preserve are the biggest concern, especially with such an extended dry season.  The fire danger is high as signs around the Preserve indicate.

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Saturday Fire.  This fire was a small one in the middle of the Golf Course Loop trail. 
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Monday Fire.  We don’t know who reported the Monday fire but the smoke was visible for miles and King 5 had a photos with the Olympic Mountains in the background.  Thankfully it was off the Power Line which made it more accessible and special thanks to CKFD for their quick response!  The Preserve and Illahee dodged a big one!
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Encampment.  Reports noted an encampment close by.  We found signs of mail scattered along the trail that wasn’t there two weeks earlier when a Washington Youth Academy crew was clearing the power line trail.  The encampment was in the Wildlife Preserve area that isn’t open to the public.
 
Photos.  We just missed getting a photo of Canada geese with the deer shown under the apple tree.
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Port Public Hearing.  The Port of Illahee held a public hearing on Monday where they presented their Comprehensive Plan.  Comments are encouraged over the next four weeks after which the Port will finalize the Plan.
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Comp Plan Goals.  The Comp Plan covers the Port’s plans for the next 6 years with the “Goals” section being a good summary.  The entire plan can be viewed on the Port’s website: portofillahee.com.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 9/7/17 Photos, White Deer, Gas Line Installation, Illahee Creek Benthic Testing, Salmonids Sighted, Summer Base Flow, Port Public Hearing, Port Comprehensive Plan, Preserve Shelter Dedication

Photos.  Thanks to Ginny for the deer photo.

 
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White Deer.  Several months ago a white deer was seen near the mouth of Illahee Creek and we are curious if it is a piebald or an albino.  A piebald deer is one with a genetic anomaly affecting its color.  Pie means mixed and bald is for white spots.  There have been quite a number of piebald deer seen in the area over the years with small patches of white, but so far none mostly white so we are hoping someone will get a photo of this one.
 
Gas Line Installation.  Traffic was down to one lane on Wednesday at the bottom of Illahee hill while a gas line was being pushed through under Illahee Road.
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Illahee Creek Benthic Testing.  Also on Wednesday Kitsap County was conducting benthic testing in Illahee Creek with the help of a couple of Stream Stewards.  The samples will be sent in and the results will tell the stream’s health.
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Salmonids Sighted.  The good news is salmonids were sighted swimming between pools.  A small dead one was found that appears to be a coho.
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Summer Base Flow.  With no rain for most of the summer many wonder what happens to small streams.  Illahee Creek has a base flow rate that doesn’t seem to change, even in the driest of season.  Hydrologist Joel Massmann many years ago estimated the summer base flow to be around half a CFS (0.5 cubic feet per second) and that is what the digital equipment showed it to be on Wednesday.
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Port Public Hearing,  Whenever port districts modify or update their Comprehensive Plan they are required to hold a public meeting so residents can have an opportunity to know what the plans are and to be able to comment on them.  The public hearing on the Port of Illahee’s Comp Plan will be held on Monday, 9/11/17 at 5 pm at the Sylvan Way library.  The public is encouraged to attend and comment.
 
Port Comprehensive Plan Draft.  A draft of the Comprehensive Plan is posted on the Port’s website: http://www.portofillahee.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Draft-Comprehensive-Plan-2018-REV-C.pdf
 
Preserve Picnic Dedication.  We received notice the East Bremerton Rotary will be dedicating the new picnic shelter they recently built at the Almira entrance to the Illahee Preserve on 9/28/17 at 5:30 pm.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 8/30/17 Work Party Report, Trails, Noxious Weeds, English Holly, Car in Ditch, Illahee Creek Restoration Project, Port Comprehensive Plan

Work Party Report.  Last Friday (8/25) Washington Youth Academy (WYA) cadets, 54 of them, descended on the Illahee Preserve to assist Rotary and Stewardship volunteers, 9 of them, with a variety of tasks.  

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Trails.  Trail work, consisting mainly of keeping 30 wheelbarrows loaded with chips moving a half mile to the Hall of Cedar’s trail.  
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Noxious Weeds.  Noxious weeds in the Preserve are unwelcome and every attempt is made to remove them. Scotch broom was removed from the Compass Circle meadow area, along with Himalayan blackberries.  Thistle is a particularly nasty weed and while a small patch was removed at the end of Thompson Lane, the powerline has a large infestration that will need to be controlled in 2018.  Tansy Ragwort is more of a pasture type of plant that was found on recently aquired property at the end of Thompson Lane.  If cattle or horses ingest it it causes irreversible liver damage.  Tansy was bagged and will be brought to a landfill.  Knotweed is another nasty weed under the powerline that needs to be controlled and will require more attention. 
 
English Holly.  English holly, is not a noxious weed but rather a weed or bush of concern, that grows amongst the forest canopy and is particularly troublesome in that cutting those too large to pull up results in new shoots coming from all around the stump, sometimes in a radius as far a 20 feet away, creating a bigger problem than a single plant.  The goal is to find them when they are small and can be pulled up and hung by their roots so they will die, as can be seen in this photo.
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Another use of English holly is for blockage of rogue trails and paths to illegal homeless camps, which is what is being done with these that were pulled along Almira to a recently removed camp site.  
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How Many Hours Worked?  Over 400 hours between the cadets and the Rotary and Stewardship supervisors.  No wonder the Preserve has the reputation for the best maintained trails, along with the fewest noxious weeds.
 
Car in Ditch.  We couldn’t see what the problem was until we got closer.  Don’t get too far off the shoulder on McWilliams road as the ditch is a drop off in certain areas.
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Illahee Creek Restoration Project.  The following is from a paper entitled “Illahee Creek Watershed Preservation & Restoration Project” summarizing the results of a 2008 Port of Illahee/Department of Ecology Centennial Clean Water grant.  These are some noble and necessary goals and need to be noted, and earlier Port Commissioners need to recognized for their proactive concerns many years ago when they applied for the grant.
The purposes (goals) of the Illahee Creek Watershed Preservation & Restoration Project are:  
(1) to acquire adjacent Illahee Preserve properties and Illahee Creek riparian corridor properties, including those that constitute prime salmonid spawning and rearing habitat; 
(2) to restore forested areas for recreation and wildlife; 
(3) to restore salmonid use to near historic levels; 
(4) to restore the natural ecological processes of the forest, riparian corridor, and the watershed; 
(5) to control the storm water surges and excessive sedimentation that plagues Illahee Creek and Puget Sound (through retention/detention and bio-retention facilities); 
(6) to advocate for raising 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;  
(7) to eliminate fecal coliform sources that pollute Illahee Creek; 
(8) to ensure sufficient aquifer recharge of the base flows in Illahee Creek necessary for salmonid use and survival; 
(9) to inform and educate the local community and the public at large regarding the above issues and involve them in the restoration processes, and 
(10) to facilitate public use and enjoyment of the natural features and ecological processes of the Illahee Preserve and Illahee Creek Watershed. 
 
While Illahee Creek is only a small salmonid producer in the West Sound Watershed 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 of prime habitat (65% undeveloped with most of that protected), a relatively small area of development on the outer perimeter of the watershed, 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 impacted by diminishing low base flows during times of low precipitation, along with the presence of fecal coliform pollution in the stream. 
 
Significant progress has been made over the last few years to begin to document the issues and accomplish both property acquisitions and some restoration, primarily through earlier grants from the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Coastal Protection Fund (CPF), and Department of Ecology (DOE)/Port of Illahee; along with the recent generosity of the owner of the Rolling Hills Golf Course (104 acres) and the Timbers Edge owner and developer (25.5 acres). The property acquisition and easement phase is now ~85% complete (with the remaining 15% consisting of ~30 acres of conservation easements and ~50 acres of acquisitions).
 
The Port of Illahee, the Illahee Forest Preserve Non-Profit Corporation, the East Bremerton Rotary, the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee, and Kitsap County have 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.  Integral to the success of the remaining acquisitions and conservation easements will be the continuing quest for gifts and grant support to secure the properties. 
 
Port Comprehensive Plan.  The Port of Illahee has done a great job of leveraging their limited annual tax funding ($79,646) with grants, and will be presenting their next 6 year Comprehensive Plan on Sept 11th at 5 pm at the Sylvan Way library at a public meeting for residents to provide comments and input.
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 8/24/17 Photos, Blackberry Connoisseurs, Illahee Day Report, Friday Work Party, Fair Poster, DFW Installation, Port Public Meeting on 9/11/17, A Complaint

Photos. These photos go back awhile.

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Blackberry Connoisseurs.  In addition to humans picking blackberries we recently came across these guys enjoying roadside blackberries.
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Illahee Day Report.  Evidently not one of the 49 people attending Illahee Day had a camera so this is all we have.  It was a great time to meet new and old neighbors and the Port had planned well as it anticipated 50 people attending.  
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Friday Work Party.  Camera coverage is anticipated of Friday’s work party at the Preserve with the Washington Youth Academy as the mini storage container with wheelbarrows and tools was delivered Thursday afternoon.  After visiting other forested parks we think the Preserve has some of the best trails around.
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Fair Poster.  The Kitsap County Fair had a poster that caught our attention as Illahee has its share of butterfly bushes.  Not a good plant for butterflies.
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Port Public Meeting on 9/11/17.  The Port of Illahee at their last meeting voted to begin the process of updating their Comprehensive Plan by holding a public meeting at the Sylvan Way Library on 9/11/17 at 5 pm.  This meeting will also be their September monthly meeting and will give residents an opportunity to see and comment on the Port’s 6 year plan for the future.
 
A Complaint.  We have been asked to post the following complaint.
 
Here’s an item for your neighborhood blog – I am sick and tired of my house filling up with the smoke from a trash fire.  Burning any kind of trash is illegal!  Not only does it smell bad, it causes me to cough.  I can see the smoke coming from the house just south of the dock.  I have discussed this issue with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and they tell me I need to call 911 when this occurs.  I hesitate to call 911 but I will not tolerate the smoke any longer.  Short of calling in the Fire Marshall, I’m not sure what can be done except to remind the local residents that burning trash is illegal.  Perhaps if you mentioned it in your newsletter someone might take the hint.  Thanks.
Jim Aho

Illahee 8/7/17 Wildlife Photos, Band-Tailed Pigeons, Port Meeting Wednesday, Illahee Day Saturday, Illahee Store Progress?

Wildlife Photos.  Thanks to Fred, who lives near the Illahee Preserve, for the following photos:

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Band-Tailed Pigeons.  The photos are of a band-tailed pigeon, with the following 2005 book found at the Amazon website about these interesting birds.  Anyone have more information on band-tailed pigeons?
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Port Meeting Wednesday.  The Port of Illahee will be holding its August monthly meeting outside of the Illahee Store on Wednesday 8/9/17 at 5 pm.  The meetings are being held there to make the meeting available to those unable to navigate the steep slope to the Port meeting room at the base of the Illahee dock.
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Illahee Day Saturday.  The public is invited to Illahee Day on Saturday, August 12th, from 4-7 pm.  Beverages and food will be provided.  Come and meet your friends and neighbors and celebrate Illahee’s 101 anniveresary!
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Illahee Store Progress?  The Port has been actively pursuing the purchase of the abandoned Illahee Store and is currently waiting for an anticipated Sheriff’s sale.  Contamination has been found on the site and cleanup will be required.  A second site survey, which installed four monitoring wells confirmed the findings of the first tests, with estimates of the cleanup cost expected later.  Historical photos of the pumps from the old store were requested and found from 1945 from Marie Reed’s photo album.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 7/27/17 Coyote Report, Preserve Land Slide, Creek Spring Fed, Sunset Sewer Project, Fire Concerns, Shelter Picnic Table?

Coyote Report.  From the Illahee Community Facebook page.  Kristen noted in a FB response that this was the third time in the past 3 weeks they were observed.

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Preserve Land Slide.  Nearly every year land slides occur along the steep banks surrounding Illahee Creek.  Last year one took out a PUD monitoring site.  This one is at the North Perry pump station at the end of Riddell Road.  Below is an email regarding a meeting Park’s Planner Steven Starlund had on the slide.
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Steven met with North Perry Water yesterday. There was a large slide at their facility on the corner of Perry and Riddel. The slide also took out part of park property. The County has given the water company permission to build a gabion retaining wall  and drain to shore up and protect their property. Part of this will be on park property too. The plan is to complete the work before the rains start this winter.
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Creek Spring Fed.  During dry spells like we are having Illahee Creek continues to flow and be inhabited by fish because it is fed by seeps and springs from the shallow aquifer.  The photo is of a sign along a trail at Alderbrook Resort.
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Sunset Sewer Project.  In addition to the sewer pump station work on McWilliams new sewer lines are being installed in the Sunset roadway.
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Fire Concerns.  Fire danger signs have been installed around the Preserve and yet we found signs of a fire on Preserve property along Rest Place.
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Shelter Picnic Table?  We had a recommendation to pass on regarding picnic tables at the new shelter at the Preserve’s Almira entrance.  These were observed at Port Gamble and it was noted the color would match those of the shelter.
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Jim Aho