>Various Illahee Items – 11/12/08


Illahee Community Club Meeting on Sunday. The Illahee Community Club will hold its quarterly meeting on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm at the Sylvan Way Library. ICC members and anyone living in Illahee are welcome to attend. There will be updated information on the appeal of the Illahee dock outfall to the Shorelines Hearings Board and the Timbers Edge Sewer Hearing scheduled for Monday (11/17/08), among other information.

Community Plan Emails to Commissioners. This is a reminder that your emails to the County Commissioners are important, as is your attendance at the County Commissioner’s Meeting on November 24, 2008 at 7 pm. There was a paragraph in the Plan that needed updating and a draft was received that was enlightening and informative so we have attached it below.

The Illahee Community Plan is the culmination of over 30 months of effort that began when the initial community citizens’ group met with county representatives in March 2006. The effort continued with the organization of a Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) and preparation of draft documents that culminated in an initial draft of the Plan in July 2006. During the following six months (July-December 2006), Illahee zoning issues were the subject of discussions with the Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners. In 2007, the CAG began an update of the Plan guided by a county and city (Bremerton) planner. The county planner resigned early in the process, leaving the Plan to be updated by the CAG and completed in September 2007. With county staffing unavailable until early 2008, the September 2007 draft was submitted to local editors, which resulted in a third Plan update being issued in February 2008. That was the starting document for the county’s subarea planning processes that began in February 2008 and completed with an August 2008 final draft for review by the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners.

3rd Street Wetlands. We have been asked about the 3rd Street wetlands and have a photo to show what happens to low spots during the rainy season. If it wasn’t for the straw covering the ground, it would look like a lake or a real mud hole. There was a comment that sometimes the best and kindest thing the county can do is help people by denying building permits in wetland areas. After viewing the area, we would agree.

Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous Upcoming Items – 8/1/08


Illahee Outfall Appeal the the Shorelines Hearings Board. The two groups are reportedly going to try to work out their issues over the next 30 days which puts the hearings process on hold. More on this in a later update.

Illahee Community Plan Meeting Delayed? There is an Illahee Community Plan meeting showing on the county’s website for Aug 6, 2008 that is unlikely to happen since we have not received the Draft County Plan that needs to be reviewed by the citizens advisory group. We presume the county will let us know next week.

Planning Commission Meeting 8/12/08. The Illahee Community Plan is scheduled to be discussed at the 8/12/08 Planning Commission meeting. We are anticipating a possible CAG meeting on Monday 8/11/08 if the briefing schedule for the Planning Commission is maintained. We wanted to give you a heads up as the Planning Commission review will be an interesting evening meeting for the community to attend, presuming the schedule remains.

Timbers Edge SEPA Letter Out. The Timbers Edge project is officially approved by the county staff with the SEPA letter supposedly going out on 7/31/08. It evidently did not get in Friday’s mail so we anticipate it will be arriving on Saturday (8/2/08).

File Incomplete? Two Illahee residents went to look at the Timbers Edge file on Friday (8/1/08) and reported the file was not complete with at least one important exhibit still not entered. If those reports are correct, the county appeared to be in a rush to get the SEPA letter out. This makes it hard for the community to get the information they need to determine the impacts of the development, especially with the large size of the file (over 260 exhibits).

Hearing Date Already Scheduled. The county has already scheduled a hearing date of August 28, 2008, which doesn’t allow much time (8 working days) from the SEPA appeal deadline (8/15/08) to get prepared for a possible complex hearing. Some of the residents are already wondering if this is allowing sufficient time for due process. We are attaching the county’s SEPA letter for your information.

No Time Allowed for Community To Discuss Issues? We have heard the Illahee Community Club wanted to meet with the county to work through some issues before the legal process began, but were not given an opportunity. We have been told they are working on a response and we will possibly hear more on this issue.

Wetland Expert to Look at 3rd Street Wetlands. We have been told that the Department of Ecology’s wetland expert for Western Washington will be in town on August 5th to look at the wetland area between McWilliams and 3rd Street that are the headwaters for Gilberton Creek and the North Tributary of Illahee Creek. In addition to looking at the wetlands on the 3rd Street side, he will reportedly be looking at the wetlands on the McWillams side where there is an applicant wanting to build in the wetland area as part of a reasonable use permit.

From your input this is something you want us to keep you informed on. Let us know if you have any other information on this subject.

Illahee Day is Next Weekend. Just a reminder that Illahee Day is next Saturday, from 10-4, in the vicinity of the Illahee community dock.

Keep sending us information and we will keep passing it on.

Jim Aho

>Wetlands Responses – 7/8/08


More Wetland Responses. We have received some more responses to the questions posed by an Illahee resident asking “why wetlands are so important” and are passing them on.

Wetland Info on Clear Creek Trail. “One of the displays on the Clear Creek Trail answers some of the questions posed by the person who witnessed the destruction of wetlands in Minnesota. We recommend he/she/they take the wetland tour hike on the north part of the trail and read about why wetlands are important and why they are supposed to be protected (hint Kitsap County).”

The Wetland Question Needs More Answers. The question “What is wrong with digging out a wetland area if it provides another building site” needs more answers.

The development of the property on Third Avenue between the streets called East and Sunset has not only destroyed vital sensitive wetlands but may have done so many other things to the property that the public is not aware of yet, and there-by caused issues to begin to exist on neighboring properties that have never existed before.

It seems that many people have figured out that those living North and East of this development are going to be suffering the consequences as well if they haven’t already.

The area immediately adjacent and to the East of the property will be receiving more water now from the pumping and/or run off of the newly developed land. Interestingly on that adjacent property, the owners had to move their house South because of the prior standing water. This developer’s rerouting of water could cause flooding in areas that usually don’t flood and greater flooding issues in the areas that usually do flood. Does that make any sense?

This area has been known as the head waters for Gilberton Creek which is according to the Kitsap County Officials who are working to set a new culvert in the washed-out area less than three quarters of a mile north of Third Ave, considered a salmon regulated creek. Any thoughts on what this development will do towards keeping the creek viable?

What about the future residences of this property? Could there be any problems for them since this soil and area is poorly suited to dwellings because of the seasonal high water table. Did the developers find out what sustains the wetlands in this area? How will this development affect Perry Avenue Water?

Some of the benefits of Wetlands would be that they preserve the quality of water that seeps into aquifers; they protect surrounding land from rain storms and flooding; and facilitate fishery’s goals. If the county government allows a the destruction of a wetlands by a developer and ultimately gets sued because of that action who’s taxes pays off the claim? * see (Yamagiwa v. City of Half Moon Bay, 523 F. Supp. 2d 1036 (N.D. Cal. 2007).)

At least, this answer should open up a discussion on the subject.

And the Last Response. The United States is losing wetlands at an astounding rate. What is happening on third street is what’s called a ‘take’ . What does that mean. A developer can fill in and develop a wetland as long as that amount of wetland taken is replaced somewhere else. The developer is responsible for mitigating or paying for replacing the wetland somewhere else. How do they do this? When a site is picked/designated for constructing a ‘created wetland’ the soils need to be almost completely excavated. Generally speaking the new soil/mediums used are layered in such a fashion as to allow a recreation of the hydrology that you would normally see in a natural wetland. In addition adjacent parcels as they are being developed will have excess water directed to the created wetland.

What is wrong with this. Plenty! This wetland was created over time by the natural process happening within the area. Excess water naturally flowed to this area and was conveyed as efficiently as possible to the sound. This natural occurrence became a problem when someone wanted that area to build a house. So extensive, manmade measures are undertaken (filling, grading) to make the area sound for a dwelling to be put in place.

Created wetlands have been engineered into a suitable place so humans can use natural areas to build their homes. Created wetlands are built to take the place and perform as a natural wetland would. These wetlands do not completely provide the same results as a naturally created wetland. For instance: During the raising of a natural wetland micro habitats of animal, insect and other biological populations are lost. Many times these ‘micro populations’ are found in small, but broken population areas throughout an ecological region. If one area is lost it puts a strain on other populations. Sometimes there may be just the single population now lost through habitat destruction. It is unknown to this writer what populations were present in that wetland before the drain and fill occurred. Our community has lost a natural system, and this is sad for all of us. Now a house is in a wetland whereas before a functioning habitat replete with plants, animals, hydrology (water movement) and other natural systems were present and functioning . We as a community have lost something unique and important. We have many houses, but so few wetlands.

Wetlands and forested areas bring diversity to an area in the form of the simple beauty of what these wild spaces afford to us as humans. These areas lower the mean air temperature by at least 10 degrees. The thrill of seeing a Pilliated woodpecker, Trillium or other nature bearing creature brings joy, lowers stress and gives us a feeling we are part of, not apart from the natural world around us. These externalities are intrinsic and valuable and cannot be replaced.

I’ve tried to give you a wide brush of information in a short space. I hope to have been concise and answer you question as to the importance of wetlands.

Sandra Jacobson

>Citizens Forum Report&Wetland Responses – 6/29/08

>Update Contents. This update covers the recently held Citizens Forum and also several comments that have come in regarding the questioning of why we should be concerned about wetlands.

Citizens from Around the County Met. Citizens from around the county met to get a better understanding of Federal, State, County, and city legal issues on Saturday afternoon 6/28/08 at the library on Sylvan Way. They came from Hansville to Manchester and places in between spending a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon to learn about statutes and to discuss their common problems.

The Common Thread. The common thread was a frustration citizens have when dealing with city and county officials with respect to land use practices.

Attorney Presentation. Land use attorney Ryan Vancil went through an ambitious agenda explaining legal issues and what works and what doesn’t. He urged groups to understand the legal issues and to be proactive and not wait until the notice of application and 14 day comment period begins. He said among many other things that citizens groups are at a general disadvantage in the process. Representatives from Poulsbo gave an example that just the filing fee for an appeal which includes SEPA is $3000. Other representatives said just trying to get complete project files can be difficult as there are often different files associated with a project not to mention planners who often have documents that are not in the official file.

Connectivity Proposed. One of the citizen groups in attendance proposed a citizens website or something similar and has volunteered to be the connection point for the rest of the groups so they can learn from and help each other.

Wetland Responses. We shared an email we received last week that stated: “What is wrong with digging out a wetland area if it provides another building site and that great black soil is used elsewhere? Aren’t people more important than a few displaced ducks? …….. Please tell us why we should be concerned.” We asked that other community members respond and here are two responses.

Wetland Website. “You might send this link to the individual questioning wetlands.” www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/awm/ Our comment: This is a great site and should answer the questions at the federal level. As for the state or county levels we hope there might be something available there.

Regarding the “great black soil” Statement. We received the following rather lengthy response from a resident who seems to know something about the subject, which is quoted in its entirety after our sign off.

Jim Aho

The question “What is wrong with digging out a wetland area if it provides another building site and that great black soil is used elsewhere?” intrigues me.

Lets just consider the part about the “great black soil is used elsewhere?”

OK, so these developers have a black wet soil to translocate. They dig out say, 1 cubic meter blocks with an excavator, transport them to the new site, and maybe even insert into pre dug holes. What can go wrong?

1. The soils may have not been well drained. Reinstate them in a site subject to rising groundwater and your not so well drained soils stay seasonally wet. This means that the translocated habitat will either be killed or will slowly change into something wholly different and probably with reduced biodiversity and certainly failure of the most soil sensitive plants.

2. The soils may have been poorly drained and was seasonally waterlogged. Translocate this to a well drained site and again the basic soil parameters will have changed and the habitat translocation will fail or new plants will try to adjust to the new conditions leading to habitat change and deterioration.

3. Translocate an acidic habitat to a circum-neutral or alkaline area and you will upset the chemistry of the translocated soils and again the habitat will respond by changing and invariably cause a reduction in biodiversity at the very least.

Slowly permeable receiving soils with clayey horizons will wet up at the surface with rainfall in the winter, the water in the soil being perched over the clayey layers (surface water soils). Such soils will be seasonally waterlogged or may be permanently waterlogged!

The dirt et-al, used to replace the permeable soils that were moved, may be affected by winter rising groundwater where water rises up to the surface, the soils may become so wet as to allow peat to form at the surface as plant material decays and accumulates. This would surely affect a structure built on this ground.

Wetlands come in many guises, wet woodland, alkaline fens, acidic mires, reed swamp, marshes and other. Can you excavate a certain depth of soil and lift it without draining it. Many wetland soils are fluid and simply flow as you lift them up. They are wholly dependent on water. That water may be alkaline, circum-neutral or acidic and may be rich or poor in major nutrients and rich or poor in dissolved micronutrients. The water may be sourced from vertically rising groundwater, from subsurface seepage water, or most often – a combination of these. Wetland soils may have thin acidic layers (often a few mm only) over alkaline layers and vice versa. Translocate a wetland habitat to a site with dissimilar hydrological, hydrochemical and hydrogeological conditions and you are in for trouble. Did these developers check the hydrological conditions of the soil they re-located and the soil that received the transferred soil?

Did they check to see if the soil water regimes and hydrology of the receptor site were identical to the donor site? Soils are so variable that it is virtually impossible to find a similar site. Dry heathlands are difficult enough, try it now with a combination of humid and wet heathlands, with a bit acidic mire thrown in for good measure and your problems are increased by several magnitudes. If soil analysis has shown that the upper soil layers are rich in phosphorus, and that the pH and calcium carbonate levels are excessively high (phosphorus should be minimal and pH less than 5). What will that do?

Perhaps the removal of the “black soil” would not be so beneficial to the area where it was received.

>Miscelllaneous Items – 6/27/08

>Wetlands Questions. We received the following questions regarding the 3rd Street wetland issue and hope someone has the time to respond to them.

“What is wrong with digging out a wetland area if it provides another building site and that great black soil is used elsewhere? Aren’t people more important than a few displaced ducks? I watched wetlands being removed in Minnesota when I was a kid and it gave the farmers more crop land. I think I know the answer to my questions, but I’m not sure others do. Please tell us why we should be concerned.”

This person has articulated some good questions that need to be answered. Please forward any responses to these questions and we will pass them on. And, if you have any good websites that may answer the questions, we can pass them on also.

Appeal Funding Questions. There have been a number of questions as to whether the Illahee Community Club was going to follow through with the Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB) appeal if the necessary funds do not come in. As we understand it, the Board of Directors decided to appeal the decision trusting that the money would come in and that the community is behind them on these issues. There was one abstention in the voting by one board member who wanted the money to be in place before the appeal was filed, showing that the concern of the possibility of inadequate funding. On the other hand, the community funded a $6000 hydrology study a few years ago when Illahee Creek was being threatened, which showed community financial support on that issue. We will report on the amount of donations coming in in future updates. When we asked one of the ICC board members what happens if not enough money comes in, they said the board members may need to dig deeper into their pocket books.

Deer Reports. We are getting a number of deer reports, from those getting run over to new young ones. Let us know what you are seeing, along with any photos, and we will pass them on.

Jim Aho

>Third Street Wetland Issue – 6/25/08

>3rd Street Wetlands. We have been asked to provide an update on the 3rd Street wetlands.

County Response? We have not received a response from the county so again all we can report is on what we have been told.

Wetland Area? We were provided with some history of the area along 3rd Street. In the 70’s there was a small house on the corner lot of 3rd and Rest Place. The Thompson’s later built a new house just south of the small house which was subsequently torn down because the area was so wet in the wintertime. Mr. Thompson passed away last week with his obituary in Wednesday’s Kitsap Sun. Our condolences go out to his wife Claire, who along with her grieving is reported to be extremely concerned about what is happening to the wetland areas adjacent to their property.
Drainage System Installed Next to Wetland. Some are wondering what the county was thinking when they evidently approved the installation of a drainage system next to a wetland area that essentially drains the wetland, much less the Thompson’s wetland. We have to agree with them having stopped to look at the area this past Wednesday evening while on a walk. It is no wonder local residents are wondering if their county officials are on the job. We took a photo of the drainage system so we could let others know what the residents of this area are concerned about.

Wetland Signs? We looked for posted wetland signs that presumably would accompany the wetland buffer signs that appear in the photo, but didn’t see any. Again we are hoping someone from the county can explain to us and the residents of the area what is happening.

The Wetland Report? It was reported that someone filed a Freedom of Information request to obtain a copy of the wetland report and will report on its contents when received.

Continue to let us know what you want us to report on.

Jim Aho

>Follow-up on Gilberton Creek Wetlands – 6/9/08

>3rd Street Excavation. This has been a very confusing project to report on with primarily second hand information coming in.

The Meeting Report. The following statement was made in our Gilberton Creek Washout Meeting Report: “It was interesting to note that several people asked the county about the excavation work along 3rd Street at the headwaters of Gilberton Creek. The county reps said they would look into the project.”

A Brief County Response. One of the persons questioning the county about the project got the following response: “I also received a call from Kim at DCD, after Larry Keaton passed along my inquiry to her. She said that the permit has been issued and the project is being monitored.”

Neighbor Calls. Since we have not heard anything more from DCD, we are going to try and report on this based on calls received and a brief look at the wetland report in the file, so be aware that we may not have the complete story.

Extreme Concern. First of all it appears that many of the neighbors are extremely concerned with what is happening in their neighborhood with the excavation of the wetland areas. Evidently they have contacted the county and not gotten much information except that the project has been approved.

The Right Wetland Report? The wetland report in the file was for a small isolated wetland and doesn’t resemble the wetland flagging next to the trees in the area, which is very confusing. There seemed to be no mention that the area is the headwaters of Gilberton Creek, which is also confusing. There did not appear to be a wetland report for the area being worked, which again is very confusing.

Property Owner Approval? There are allegations that the buffer averaging approval was not understood by the property owners for the work that was accomplished. Additionally, they are saying that the neighbors were not given any notice of the extent of the “grading” project which to them was much more than just grading. Again, the more information that comes in on the project the more confusing it becomes. Neighbors are hoping the county will soon provide some explanations of what is taking place and clear up the confusion in this neighborhood in Illahee.

A Follow-on Wetland Project? A resident dropped off a legal notice from Saturdays CK Reporter regarding a “Reasonable Use Exception” application to approve a residence within 5 feet of a Category 3 wetland that usually has a 60 foot buffer. The address is 6501 Rest Place which would put it in the wetland at the headwaters of Illahee Creek and adjacent to the wetlands of the headwaters of Gilberton Creek, which were just discussed. The person asked if wetlands were no longer considered important in Kitsap County and wondered if the state felt similarly. Based on what just happened with the Gilberton Creek wetlands, we couldn’t answer the question. The contact person listed in the paper for the project is David Greethan 337-7181.

Why So Many Controversial Issues? We were hoping to use these community updates for less controversial issues such as wildlife reports, as there enough problems already in Illahee. However, this is the information that we are receiving and so we are passing it on.

Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous Items – 5/2/08

>Illahee Community Plan Meeting on Monday 5/5/08. This is the meeting that was originally scheduled for 4/28/08. Representatives from the Kitsap County Health Department will be there to presumably discuss items like septic systems, sewers, stream monitoring for contamination, and other related issues. The meeting is at the Unitarian Church on Perry avenue and begins at 6 pm. All Illahee residents are welcome.

Illahee Outfall Appeal scheduled for Monday evening 5/12/08. This appeal before the county comissioners was discussed in a previous update. Because the appeal was scheduled at the same time as the Illahee Community meeting, the Illahee Community Plan meeting was moved to Tuesday evening 5/13/08 (see the next item).

Illahee Community Plan Meeting on Tuesday evening 5/13/08. This will be the 6th meeting in the series and we think it will be a more detailed discussion of Chapter 4. The county evidently could not find a meeting space in the Illahee area and decided to hold the meeting at their facilities in Port Orchard. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm rather than the usual 6 pm, in order to give people time to travel to Port Orchard. We will provide more information on the 5/13 meeting in a later update.

Timbers Edge. We have heard that the developer is completing reports the county asked for and they expect a hearing soon afterwards. This is a major high density development along side Illahee Creek that will forever change the Illahee community if it goes ahead as planned. We have asked the county planner for this project for a briefing so that the community can better know and understand the details of the development being proposed. Again, we will provide more information as it becomes available.

Wetlands on Third Street? We have had a number of residents call to ask about the excavation work going on at the Gilberton Creek headwaters south of Third Street between Sunset and Rest Place. It is reported to be a very wet area upstream of the culvert where the wet black dirt is being removed and trucked away. Residents said they have contacted the county to find out more information, with one report coming back that the county is aware of the situation and that the county approved the removal of the wetland appearing area as part of a buffering averaging formula. Please note that this is all second hand information so we are hoping for a more detailed report and will pass on what is provided.

Illahee Road Washout Project. The county provides monthly status reports on the Illahee culvert replacement project at the Gilberton Creek washout. This link is the end of April 2008 status report.

Peregrine Falcon sighted. Over the years we have had reports of Peregrine Falcons in the area. These birds are some of the fastest animals in the world, reaching speeds up to 100 miles per hour. The sighting was possible because the falcon hovered giving the resident an opportunity to positively identify it.

Raven menaced by crows. We have had ravens in Illahee for the past 4 or 5 years. Ravens are at least twice the size of crows and the crows harass them whenever the ravens are around, which brought this to the attention of a resident. When you see both of them together the size difference is readily noticeable. Also, the raven has a much deeper and distinctive call than a crow.

Keep supplying us news. Keep providing us information and we will pass it on to the community.

Jim Aho