Illahee 12/27/14 Illahee Photos, Merlin Hawk, Ducks, Cormorants, Illahee Preserve Trail Maps, Timbers Edge Gifts

Illahee Photos.  Some recent colorful photos looking toward Mount Rainer.

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Merlin Hawk.  We found this hawk on a neighbor’s sidewalk with a cat over it.  It is a Merlin, and was previously called a Sparrow Hawk.  It has been seen at bird feeders, but didn’t stay long enough to get photographed.  
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Ducks.  This past Friday a flock of puddle ducks was hanging out with a group of diving ducks, evidently feeding on something the diving ducks were pushing up to the surface.  A similar situation occurs when cormorants push a ball of herring to the surface and the seagulls have a feast.  This is the first time we’ve seen such an occurrence with American Wigeon.
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Cormorants.  When one of the local floats blew away the cormorants had to move to other floats and they also ended up at the Illahee community dock.
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Illahee Preserve Trail Maps.  In the past week or so new Illahee Preserve trail maps showed up.  We will see if we can get better copies for a future update.
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Timbers Edge Gifts.  Contributions to the Timbers Edge purchase fund have started to come in.  The property owner has committed $500,000 toward the purchase, and three others have committed $10,000 each.  This past week the Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) treasurer reported that two $1,000 gifts were sent in as a result of the last update that was sent out.  Fliers were being distributed this weekend east of the TE development, and along Illahee Road where a forced main sewer line would go.  The plan was to get a bunch of fliers distributed before the end of the year in case people wanted to make a contribution in 2014 for tax purposes.  If anyone would like fliers let us know and we will have them delivered to you.  Just send us an email or call 479-1049.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 1/27/14 Hazel Nut Tree Blossoms, Indian Plum, Ducks, Bushtits, Saturday Work Party, Kitsap Sun Article

Hazel Nut Tree Blossoms.  Spring must be just around the corner when the hazel nut trees start blooming.  The catkins are prominent now, and on hazel and oak trees, they are male.  According to Wikipedia “The word catkin is a loanword from the Dutch katteken, meaning “kitten”, on account of the resemblance to a kitten’s tail.”

The hazel nut female flowers are single flowers as shown in the photo (thanks to Rob) below.

Indian Plum.  These photos of nearly emerging Indian plum leaves were taken a few days ago.  The leaves are probably out by now. Indian plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) leaves and flowers are some of the first to come out in the spring.
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Ducks.  Two duck species were caught together in the fog.  The bigger ones are common goldeneyes, and the smaller ones, buffleheads.
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Bushtits.  We were told at one time there were twenty bushtits on this suet feeder.
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Saturday Work Party.  There is a work party being planned for the coming Saturday (2/1/14) to move woodchips, and volunteers are needed.  The work party will begin at 8 am and if enough people show up it could complete by 10 am.  Wheel barrows and tools will be provided.  If you can help, they would like to get an approximate number.  We will pass on any email responses we receive.  The trail in the photo below is new and in need of chips after a tree fell on it. A Rotary maintenance crew is shown cleaning away branches.
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Kitsap Sun Article.  This past summer there were investigators contacting past jurors on the Gentry trial that took place many years ago.  The murder of Cassie Holden was a sad day for Illahee residents, and it took years for justice to take place, primarily because of DNA evidence, one of the first such cases in the state.  Appeals have been files regularly and according to the article Washington’s Supreme Court found no evidence of racial bias in the latest appeal.
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Jim Aho 

Illahee 11/5/12 Morning Greeting, Olympia Film Report, Boat Traffic, Wetland Trees, Road Sweeper, Mergansers, Ducks

Morning Greeting.  Most mornings this time of year we are greeted with seals on a nearby float.  We noticed 13 seals on the float this morning with a loon in the background, which made this a photo worth sharing.  With so many resident seals in the area it is surprising that we have any salmon that make it to Illahee Creek.  

Olympia Film Report.  We thought this report was a good one to share with the community.  We continue to hear lots of good reports about the Illahee film.

Good news the event in Olympia was a success with about 250 people attending.  The theater was REALLY happy with the numbers.  We showed 4 films and called it Salmon Stories and they loved the Illahee film :)…

The logjam engineer came to the event and loved the Illahee story. He said they can easily work on your project cost effectively… Cheap – cheap – cheap he kept saying…
The event was Fun, Fun, fun…..

We had some big name government people from DOE and Salmon Recovery Board open the event.

The Illahee film is scheduled to show in Port Townsend at the Rose Theater Dec 9th… We are going to secure some GREAT exposure for you.  If willing, please advertise the Dec 9th event at the Rose. I forgot to ask Jim to advertise the Olympia Event.

Anyway, its fun to see all these stories on a big screen… Mind you their projector was crappy but not as bad as the Admiral Theatre projector. These old theaters don’t have the greatest equipment. Our own equipment is better than the last 2 theaters combined.

Boat Traffic.  We are often provided with photos of boats transiting our waterway and decided to post the one above and include one below that spent hours in front doing some kind of research, based on its activities.
Wetland Trees.  After watching videos of trees being uprooted during the network coverage of hurricane Sandy (due to winds and saturated soils), we noticed a tree in Illahee that had been uprooted years ago in a wetland.  What is interesting about this “wetland” is the signs are just on one side.  We heard the adjacent property was a filled wetland and a curtain drain installed along the property line to keep the water in the wetland, which may have led to the tree coming down.
The wetland sign, evidently required by the Department of Community Development.
Road Sweeper.  It is good to have local roads cleared of leaves and pine/fir needles.
Mergansers.  These are Common Mergansers that swim along the shoreline chasing fish that venture close to shoreline.
Ducks.  We noticed more mallard ducks joining the local wigeons.  
Jim Aho

Illahee 10/22/12 Ducks, Illahee Preserve Fill Area, Deer, Backyard Habitat Grants, Rest Place?, Illahee Preserve Stewardship Meeting

Ducks.  We noted the other day a pair of wigeon ducks, shown in the photo above with pair of sleeping mallards.  There are large numbers of wigeon that winter in our area, but we haven’t seen any big flocks yet, so this must be an advance group.

Illahee Preserve Fill Area.  There have been many questions regarding the clearing of the area behind the kiosk at the Almira entrance to the Illahee Preserve.  It all began with finding out about 50 yards of clean fill sediment from the cleanout of the Illahee Creek culvert being hauled away to Holly.  We need fill at the Almira entrance to build up the area for a future covered shelter (just north east of the kiosk) and subsequently met with Public Works, Parks, Stewardship members, and Illahee Forest Preserve members to discuss what needed to be done.  The first requirement was to finish cleaning the area of all the woody debris, including stumps, which began shortly after the meeting and is continuing as shown in the photos.  Soon we hope trucks will be arriving to dump clean fill dirt into the area, as it becomes available.  This can be a win-win situation as it is much less expensive than having to go all the way to Holly to dump their loads.

Deer.  In Illahee there are lots of deer and this time of year we see evidence on many trees as the bucks scrape the trees with their antlers.  We noticed this tree on Preserve property just off of Rest Place.
Backyard Habitat Grants.   We just found out about the availability of “Backyard Habitat Grants” for 2013, that need to have their applications in by Nov 15, 2012.  The highest priority for the grants are those along the stream and affecting salmon.  The information is on the Conservation District’s website and in a brochure they have produced.  We have copied the two sides of the brochure, which is a little difficult to read in an unfolded format.
Rest Place?  We thought about Rest Place as a possible project for a Backyard Habitat Grant, if the grant is open to the Illahee Preserve, where we have some invasive plant species moving down the hill toward Illahee Creek, along with a bunch of creosoted railroad ties and a Volkswagen car body.  This is a project that should to be done soon and we hope we can quickly develop a partnership between the Illahee Community, the Illahee Preserve, and the Parks Department to get a grant application in by the deadline of November 15th.
Illahee Preserve Stewardship Meeting.  The Rest Place “Backyard Habitat Grant” project will probably be discussed at the Illahee Preserve Stewardship meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 pm at the Port of Illahee meeting room next to the Illahee Community Dock.  Other Illahee Preserve items, such as a possible new website for the Preserve will be discussed.  Visitors are always welcome, and the meeting concludes by 8 pm.
Jim Aho 

Illahee Update 5/21/12 Ducks, Preserve Work Party, Illahee Store Comments, Press Release for Illahee Work, Sequel Film Item?, TE Update Coming

Ducks Find Ditch.  With 0.6 inches of rain today (5/21/12) we weren’t surprised to see a couple of Mallard ducks swimming in a local ditch.

Preserve Work Party on Thursday.  On Thursday morning a group of sailors from the John C. Stennis will volunteer to help clear the downed alder trees from the Compass Circle Restoration Project area.  We are still hoping to get the ground cleared and grass seed established before the summer dry season, and hope we haven’t lost our window of opportunity.  Thanks in advance to those groups of volunteers who step forward to help, and to the East Bremerton Rotary for making it happen!  We have been told to let the Kitsap Sun photographers know about these events to we will see if they make it.
Illahee Store Comments.  There has been lots of concerns about what will happen with the Illahee Store, with many hoping the Port of Illahee will eventually be able to purchase the property.  The following email seems to describe many of the issues involved:

re: the store…  removing the pumps is a 2 hr deal.  What the owner would almost certainly have to do before being able to sell the property is to certify that there is no sub-soil contamination by leaked petroleum products.  Certification would be done by drilling cores and doing soil testing, but as long as tanks are in place that’s a waste of time – if not leaking today, they will tomorrow.  Drilling is a long & loud process – you would be aware if it had happened.  Plus, in the second photo you can clearly see that the underground storage tanks are still in place.  Those tanks are almost certainly steel and they have almost certainly leaked.   Given proximity to the Sound, someone will eventually have to drain & excavate those tanks, then dig up any contaminated soil and have it trucked to a hazardous waste disposal facility.  It will cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Another option will be to declare strategic bankruptcy, default the property to the county for unpaid taxes, and the county will get stuck for the remediation.  Neither option I’m sure is very interesting to the owner.   Third option would be if some large corporate entity wanted the property badly enough to take on the cost of remediation as part of the transfer of ownership.  Given the size of the site and the level of traffic, that doesn’t seem likely to me.

Leasing the property to a new operator, on the other hand, would bring in a revenue stream while leaving the ticking time bomb undisturbed.  Of course the longer it sits the more expensive to clean.  It would be interesting to know what year the first underground storage tanks were installed on the site.  I expect someone knows the answer to that one.

I’m sure Port of Illahee (or anyone) would be glad to own this location if environmental certification is part of the deal.  Otherwise, it’s a pig in a poke.

County 5/21/12 Press Release.  We are happy to report Kitsap County has obtained grant funding for an important Illahee project.  The link for the Press Release that covers several projects is:    We have excerpted several paragraphs related to Illahee.

Kitsap County Green Stormwater Retrofit 
Projects Funded

(Port Orchard, WA) – Kitsap County received four grants from the Washington State Department of Ecology to build green stormwater retrofit projects in Manchester, Illahee, Silverdale, and in some County parks. The grant funds will be combined with funds from the Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Management utility. These green stormwater projects will use native plants, healthy soils, and permeable pavement to manage stormwater on properties in a cleaner, more natural way. They will result in healthier water in our streams and Puget Sound.

Illahee – to build bioretention areas (rain gardens) throughout the Illahee Creek Headwater drainage area, retrofit an existing stormwater pond, and build a new regional stormwater treatment facility at the headwaters of Illahee Creek
“In addition, I am excited about solving some stormwater problems in Illahee,” says Commissioner Brown. “The creek has suffered significant damage from flooding. Stormwater also flows directly into Puget Sound without treatment. This project will use natural features to slow and absorb stormwater, and will filter stormwater before it flows into Puget Sound. The Illahee community will certainly benefit from reduced flooding impacts and healthy waterways.”
Sequel Film Item?  Since most Ecology grants have a public information and education requirement, we are hoping the above Illahee storm water project can be documented from start to finish in the sequel film the Illahee community is proposing.

TE Update Coming.  There has been some updated information related to the Timbers Edge (TE) development that will require more space than can be added here, so soon there will be another update regarding TE.

Jim Aho