Illahee 3/12/13 WYA Work Party, Brush Picking, Why Plant Trees in a Forest ?, Looking Up at Trees, Looking Down at Snails, Beach Naturalist Class

WYA Work Party.  Those driving on Riddell past the Illahee Preserve on Friday likely noticed Washington Youth Academy (WYA) cadets loading wheel barrows with wood chips, or later in the day noticed the three piles of wood chips were gone.  Thanks to the 46 WYA cadets for all their hard work, which in addition to transporting the wood chips to trails, included moving woody debris and the planting of 500 trees.  Thanks also to the Rotary Club of East Bremerton for arranging the work party and supplying the majority of wheel barrows.  And to the Parks Department for also helping with wheel barrows and tools, and to Washington State University Extension program for supplying the trees.

Brush Picking.  Those planting trees came across evidence that brush picking has been going on in the Preserve, as can be seen in the bunches of salal in the photo below.  We thought we had escaped the brush pickers attention this year, but the photo shows otherwise.
Why Plant Trees in a Forest ?  One of the questions asked by a WYA cadet was why would you plant trees in a forest?  We will take a chance at answering the question in hopes that if we are wrong someone will correct us.  The area was mostly clear-cut in the 1930’s, and while most areas are nicely recovered with a diverse variety of trees, other areas still consist mostly of emergent red alders that are getting older and are dying off, many in wet and riparian areas.  Western Red Cedar is the conifer best adapted to wet and riparian areas and it what is being planted in the Preserve.  It is also being planted in areas where white pine blister rust is killing stands of white pine.  Next year stewards are looking a planting Sitka spruce, another native conifer that was harvested extensively in the NW for building airplanes before WW II.  We welcome corrections or clarifications if we haven’t gotten our facts straight.
Looking Up at Trees.  Thanks to a frequent Preserve user (Sally) for the great pictures that were taken recently in the Preserve.
Looking Down at Snails.  During a recent low tide we noticed lots of snail eggs on the rocks in certain areas.  Upon closer examination we noticed the hard to see snails on the rocks laying their eggs.  The name of these snails is frilled dogwinkles and now and late winter is when they lay their eggs, which will hatch in about a month when they escape from their yellow egg capsules. 
Beach Naturalists Class.  Want to learn more about the amazing number of creatures on our beaches?  We took the beach naturalist class a number of years a found it to be one of the best things we did to be more knowledgeable about beach creatures, and would recommend it highly.  Information on the class and contacts can be found on the copied flyer below.
Jim Aho

Illahee Update 2/18/12 Brush Picking, Vandalism, European Duck, Heavy Weather Race, Illahee Film

Brush Pickers Back. It is hard for us to believe that the same brush pickers that we encountered on January 30, 2012 were back today (2/18/12). We took a picture of their truck in January, and again today when it appeared the driver came back to pick up his three friends who again picking salal.  When we confronted the pickers a little earlier in the afternoon they took off running, but dropped the heavy load of bundled up salal, which we confiscated. The bundle was so heavy we couldn’t lift it and had to drag it to the parking lot.  You can see the size of it next to the dedication rock.

The Truck & The Truck & Driver. The picture above is what we took on January 30th at the Thompson Lane parking lot.  The picture below is the same truck and its driver that we took at the Almira parking lot on February 18th.  The guy seemed pretty upset that we had their salal.

Guard Rail Vandalism. We received the report below this morning about the vandalism of the reflectors on guard rails near the Illahee Creek culvert.  We were told later in the day they hit the other guard rails going up Illahee Road.

Would you please include this information in your next community update.

At approximately 9:50 P.M. a loud banging noise was heard along Illahee Road.  It was quite evident that something was happening along the highway.  By the time we reached the roadway, the vandals were gone, but this morning as it got light we see that the loud banging was the removal of the reflectors being hit by a heavy object all along the west side of the guard rail.  Many reflectors were left on the inside along the guard rail.

It would be great if these folks could have been caught, but in the time it took to get out there, they were gone.

European Duck. It isn’t very often you look outside your window and see a European duck on the lawn, which was the case today.  The differently colored wigeon in the picture is a eurasian wigeon, that evidently got mixed up somewhere along the way.  We have heard they can often be found with American wigeons, but this is a first for us.

Heavy Weather Race. The Bremerton Yacht Club held their Heavy Weather Race today.  This is a yearly event and the boats change course in the area just north of the Illahee Community Dock.  We copied this from the IPBA website as it briefly explains what the event is about.  There is more information on their website.

The purpose of the International Power Boat Association (IPBA) is to promote the safe piloting of pleasure boats and to sponsor and sanction predicted log racing contests to improve the piloting and seamanship abilities of contestants. Although we call our sport Predicted Log Racing, it is actually a navigational contest where the contestant “predicts” how long in hours, minutes, and seconds it will take him or her to get from point to point on the race course.

Film & Shellfish Festival. The third film being shown at the Film & Shellfish Festival on Saturday evening 2/25/12 is about the benefits of shellfish to the environment and also to those who choose to raise them.  Illahee has just over 3 miles of saltwater shoreline and it appears there are only a handful of shoreline residents who are “farming the tidelands”.  The film provides some good information for residents considering raising shellfish on their beaches and Taylor Shellfish will have information, and hopefully examples, of what is available for those who are interested.  It is in the spring time when shellfish companies have their major seed sales, so this is a good time and place to get more details.  They will likely have extra copies of the CD that will be shown as that is where we got this one.

Illahee Film. We have had a number of residents express their interest in the Illahee film, and especially those who contributed to paying for the helicopter to fly over with the cineflex camera.  Only a few people reviewed the draft film and the consensus was the helicopter coverage really helps viewers get a better idea of the watershed, the extent of the Illahee Preserve, and where some of the storm water surges come from.

Jim Aho

Illahee Update 2/10/12 King 5 Video, Email Re Brush Pickers, Illahee Film Location, High Tides

King 5 Video. It took someone who knew what they were doing to get the King 5 video coverage of last week’s brush picking.  We were hoping the TV station would put it on their website, but when they didn’t we had to find someone who recorded the news, then isolate the portion we wanted, so we could post it on YouTube.  Thanks to those knowledgeable individuals!

Email Re Brush Pickers. We received an email regarding brush pickers to help us better understand the process they go through to sell their goods.  If you see any pickers or campers please let us know.

As an ex employee of Alpine Farms I am familiar with pickers. Most are above board and are contracted by farmers or floral companies through Hispanic crew bosses to harvest in designated areas. However pickers sometimes raid into other properties either because they are not familiar with properties lines or because the crew boss is not so scrupulous Thus the need for farmers to hire private rangers to protect their crops.

The shady crew bosses will have both a legal  and illegal crew. The crew boss will take a bigger cut of of the illegal pickers  to put in his pocket and mix it in with the legal pickings. Some of the illegals may be on the run and dangerous. It can be scary working a forest and running into a group of marauding pickers with machetes and  wondering if they are going to run or protect their pickings.

I walk the park every other day and have run into pickers several times as well as campers.

Illahee Film Location? Lots of planning being done for the premier showing of the Illahee film project.  The filmmaker has requested a nearly totally dark room for showing the high quality blue-ray film of Illahee, and is asking if the Norm Dicks Government Center chambers< where it is currently scheduled, will work.
Location Has Changed. We had to change the location of the film event from the Norm Dicks Center to the ARC facility in Bremerton at 3243 Perry Ave because of concerns about being able to have the room dark enough to show high definition blue-ray films.  We thought by showing the films in the evening that there wouldn’t be a problem, but the lobby lights are bright and some of them cannot be turned off or dimmed, and with the two story high glass walls, and no curtains, we had no choice but to move the event.  This means the location on the poster below will be changed.  We wanted to send this out so everyone can think about attending.

Photo Request. We are a little short of Illahee photos to include in these updates, so if you have any good ones to share, we would appreciate it.

High Tides. We are going through a few more days of early morning high tides in the 13 foot range.  Last month the highest tide was not what showed up on the tide chart, but what happened when the barometric pressure was exceptionally low.  One resident said the predicted 12+ tide looked more like a 14+ tide because of the low pressure.
Jim Aho


Illahee Update 1/22/12 Auction Continued, Snow Pictures, High Tides, Egg Sacks, Illahee Preserve Snow, Brush Picking, Eagle Food

Auction Continued. The auction of the Timbers Edge remaining properties that was scheduled for this past Friday has been continued to February 24, 2012.  We know of at least one person who was there on Friday to see what was going to happen.  We will let you know the details of this auction as soon as we get them.

Snow Pictures. We received some nice pictures of birds at a suet feeder we want to pass on.  If you have some nice pictures and want to share them we will pass them on.  We are hoping someday to have a picture section on the website, and are waiting for someone to manage it.

High Tides. We are in the middle of a week of high early morning tides.  The tide on Saturday wasn’t supposed to be that high, but with the rain and wind it proved to be the most destructive of the season.  One person lamented that they had a nice log wash up this past year and they tried to anchor it down with two spiral anchors only to have it and the anchors washed away during Saturday’s high tide.

Egg Sacks? We took a picture of what we remember as the egg sacks of a frilled dogwinkle.  Because of their resemblance to oats, they are sometimes referred to as sea oats.  We thought they were more of a spring time occurrence, but maybe not in the Sound?

Illahee Preserve Snow. Not much of a noticeable impact to the Illahee Preserve from the snow and wind this past week.  There were a few small trees down but the most picturesque was the moss on the snow.  We also noticed someone had plowed the Almira parking lot and want to thank them.

Brush Picking Tape. We were told the brush pickers have been in the Preserve and lots of pink tape pieces have shown up in the brochure box at the Thompson Lane parking lot.  We found several pieces of orange tape on our trip through there on Saturday.  If you see brush pickers please call 911.

Eagle Food. We saw three horned grebes at the Illahee Dock on Wednesday while cross country skiing.  These seem to be especially vulnerable to our bald eagle population.

Jim Aho