Illahee 11/15/15 Trees Down, Illahee Creek, Nearby Beavers, King Tides Coming, Wildlife Photos

Trees Down.  Some Ocean View Blvd residents had to make some detours today because of downed trees from the latest storm.  We found a broken off rear view mirror on the road this morning indicating someone must have had a close call.

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Illahee Creek.  We were surprised there was no discernible chocolate colored storm water flowing out into the bay after the recent rains.  It appears the many recent stormwater improvements made by Kitsap County around Illahee are paying off with more manageable storm flows in Illahee Creek.  We are hoping to check the creek soon to see if any salmon have shown up .
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Nearby Beavers.  One of the Illahee Preserve’s maintenance (chainsaw) guys was asked to take care of some downed tree by a nearby stream.  He was surprised that the downed trees were the work of beavers, see the photos.  The last photo is of a beaver dam near Leavenworth that was taken this fall.  We will be trying to get a photo of the nearby beaver dam and note that there are some who hope the close by beavers will find their way to Illahee Creek as biologists have recommended them for helping to establish pools for salmonids.
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King Tides Coming.  This is the time of year for high tides, that have also been called King Tides.  The following notice is from our local Sea Grant representative, Jeff Adams
.Hi All- I just overheard someone talking about predictions of a windy next 24 hours. You never know, but air pressure is dropping and some 11.5’+ tides are coming up. For those of you interested in king tide/storm surge watching, the season is upon us. 
You can track water levels (predicted and actual) as well as pressure, wind, and more at…
… it’s for Seattle, but the Kitsap Peninsula follows pretty closely (add about an hour for Dyes Inlet or South Sound).
As for tides, there are a lot between +11.5 and +12.3 over the next two weeks as we head into the new moon. … If you have too much coffee and too little turkey, there are some great midnight minus tides for the holiday. Cheers! JEff
Wildlife Photos.  With all the rain a photo of some local ducks seemed appropriate and a photo of Schutt’s point at high tide.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 12/30/12 The Year Past, 2012 Highlights, The Year Ahead, 2013 Projections, Illahee Creek, Illahee Creek Watershed, Illahee Preserve, Off-Leash Dog Park, Timbers Edge, Sequel Film, Shoreline Restoration, Port of Illahee, Illahee Community Group, Rest Place

The Year Past.  We have been asked about the accomplishments in Illahee and with the Illahee Preserve this past year and decided to take the time to list some of what we remember.  We were surprised and happy to see what has been accomplished.

Eleven 2012 Highlights.  These are some of the highlights of completed and started projects.

1.  Illahee Film debuts with showings in Canada, Bremerton, Olympia, and Port Townsend
2.  Leadership Kitsap group picks the Illahee Preserve as its team project and completes trail intersection markers, maps, future plans, and celebration event.
3.  Illahee Preserve and Rain Garden signage and frames designed, printed, fabricated, and installed.
4.  Eagle Scout candidate Eliot Orando completes kiosk & establishes new walkway area.
5.  Community, Rotary, Navy, Washington Youth Academy, and CK Super Saturday volunteer work parties support Preserve projects.
6.  KC Remand results in Increased Urban Restricted and small section of Rural zoning within Illahee.
7.  Compass Circle Meadow Restoration Project completes with enlarging and grading of the meadow area and planting of grass.
8.  Ground preparation, placement of 100 yards of fill, and volunteer grading begins for future picnic shelter.
9.  Illahee Creek culvert monitored regularly as flood plain continues to rise and culvert fills.
10.  Wildlife monitored by community members with photos and reports posted on website and emailed to approximately 500 recipients.
11.  New website,, established for the Illahee Preserve.

The Year Ahead.  We were also asked about what we think will happen in 2013 with the culvert, Timbers Edge, the Illahee Store, the flag pole controversy, and a discussion we had about an off-leash dog park near the Preserve.

2013 Projections.  These are our projections, and ours alone.  If you disagree or have other projections we would be glad to present them.

Illahee Creek?  The lower flood plain has raised significantly since 2007 from the heavy sediment loads carried downstream by storm surges.  This has also resulted in the filling of the culvert under Illahee Road.  We think it is just a matter of time before we have more major storms and the culvert becomes blocked.  This would backup the water until it flows over Illahee Road, at its low point north of the culvert, eventually washing the roadway out and closing down that section of Illahee Road.  This would be a situation similar to what happened when Illahee Road was washed out at Gilberton Creek.  We project the washout to occur toward the end of 2013.

Illahee Creek Watershed?  We anticipate some great things to happen in the north part of the watershed with the county’s recent grant from the Department of Ecology to help control the storm surges that bring the heavy sediment loads downstream.  This is what is needed no matter what happens to the culvert.   

Illahee Preserve?  The Illahee Preserve usage continues to increase and the partnerships such as that with the Rotary Club of East Bremerton continue to increase.  Volunteers and community support are the key to this Heritage Park being open and maintained.   

Future Off-Leash Dog Park?  We recently discussed with a dog owner, and user of county and city off-leash dog parks, about an area adjacent to the Preserve that would be ideal for an off-leash dog park who noted one was needed in the East Bremerton area, and wondered if there couldn’t be a partnership with the City of Bremerton and the county to work collaboratively to obtain a grant to purchase the property.  We liked the idea and decided it was worth mentioning, though realizing this could be controversial, and likely will not happen in 2013.

Illahee Preserve Acquisitions?  Grant funding for Preserve acquisitions come in two year cycles and soon it will be time to try again to purchase or obtain conservation easements for adjacent riparian and forested areas next to the Preserve.  Future acquisitions are noted in the Preserve’s Stewardship Plan and will require consensus with Parks and the County Commissioners if grants are to be submitted.  We think 2013 will be the time for the Illahee Preserve acquisition grants to move forward.

Timbers Edge Development?  It is difficult to know which way this approved development will go with another trustee sale scheduled for January 11, 2013.  The Illahee Forest Preserve group would like to see the 4.54 acres that were the subject of a trustee sale in December 2012 become part of the Preserve.   As we understand it, lawyers delayed discussions regarding the possibility of obtaining the 4.54 acres until after the January 11th trustee sale.  This has left the community wondering whether the high density Timbers Edge development will move forward bringing major changes and sewers to the area of the original plat of Illahee.  

Our Thoughts re TE?   We think investors will purchase the remaining properties on January 11th but will quickly realize bringing sewers over or under Illahee Creek is especially problematic such that they will opt for septic systems instead of sewers (which will result in a decrease the density of the development).  We hope the investors or the property owner, depending on who ends up with the west parcel, will work with the community to purchase the 4.54 acrea for the Preserve, which has been previously identified by the Department of Fish and Wildlife as a primary wildlife corridor.

Sequel Film?  Because the filmmaker was not able to include all the footage and important subjects in the Illahee film completed in 2011/2012, a sequel film in 2013 was planned.  With much of the filming completed and with the grant work scheduled for 2013, we think the sequel film could begin in 2013 to cover the grant work and finish in 2014.  This will likely require community funding to proceed and will likely be funded by a partnership between the two Illahee non-profits; the Illahee Forest Preserve and the Illahee Community Group.

Shoreline Restoration?  The Shoreline Master Program Update will complete in 2013 and already some Illahee residents are wondering if shoreline restoration projects could be completed along our shorelines.  We think this could happen if a restoration project can be identified that would be acceptable to shoreline residents and government officials, other than the removal of protective bulkheads.

Port of Illahee Projects?  We think the Port of Illahee made a great decision when they acquired the former Deitch residence next to the community dock, and that they are now in a good position to plan for the future of the area.  We think they will move ahead with the Master Plan they have contemplated for about a year and that it will include a plan regarding what to do with the flag pole and whether they want to eventually obtain the Illahee Store.  

Illahee Community Group?  This group seemed to us to be somewhat dormant in 2012, possibly because the Community Plan had completed and there have been few conflicts to excite the community.  We think there are enough issues important to the community now so we expect to see the group become more involved in 2013, and especially if the Port Master Plan calls for obtaining the Illahee Store, as the building would be a great place for a Community Center. 

Rest Place/Preserve Walkway?  The east side of Illahee Preserve abuts the roughly one half mile impassable roadway section of Rest Place.  This is an area where the community could establish a more inviting walking path by removing the invasive plant species and providing some signage.  Some nearby residents are proposing this and the Illahee Forest Preserve group is supportive, but requires the county and adjacent residents to approve the plan.  We thing this is a great opportunity to make some improvements along the road right-of-way that has become overgrown and we think this will be accepted by the Rest Place residents and supported by the greater Illahee community, who will likely have to do the cleanup work to make it happen.  We give this project a 50/50 chance of happening in 2013.

Other Projections for 2013?  Let us know if you have other projections for the Illahee Preserve and/or the Illahee Community.

Jim Aho

Illahee 12/23/12 High Tide Photos, Illahee Creek, Snow Effects, Mergansers, Brush Pickers, Illahee Film

High Tide Photos.  Some more Illahee high tide photos, though not always taken at the extreme point of the high tides.  Schutt’s Point is nearly under water in the second and third photos.

Illahee Creek.  Illahee Creek’s high flows spread out over the flood plain.
Snow Effects.  At first we thought the wind did the following tree damage, but then we were told of the heavy snow that covered the Illahee plateau area.  These photos are all from the east side of the Illahee Preserve.  The last of the three photos below shows the effect of letting English ivy climb up a tree trunk and onto branches.  We haven’t checked the interior areas of the Preserve yet for snow damage.

Mergansers.  There have been lots of red-breasted merganser activity along the Illahee shoreline this year, indicating the presence of some kind of small fish in the area.
Brush Pickers.  We continue to get reports of brush pickers in the Preserve, usually 3 of them, with radios and they are trying to avoid being seen.  Please call 911 if you see them and if possible get a picture.  Also let us know via email or call 479-1049.  We went out there the other day after a call, and didn’t see anyone, but did hear a whistle sound, which may have alerted them to duck down so as not to be seen by us.  Park personnel also attempted to locate them but were unsuccessful.  Let us know if you have ideas.

Illahee Film.  Thanks for those who wanted DVD copies of the Illahee film for Christmas presents.  We still have DVDs available for purchase, so just give us a call (479-1049) and we will deliver them locally until they are all gone.

Jim Aho 

Illahee 10/31/12 Deer, Salmon, Illahee Creek, Brown Water, Compass Circle Meadow Restoration, Shoreline Master Program Meeting, Preserve Dumping

Deer.  Almost everywhere we go around Illahee there are deer.  We see them around the Preserve as can be seen in the photo above, but today as we walked along the shoreline there were also a number of deer.  The photo below shows one nearly hidden in an estuary.

Later we saw a doe and two fawns moving along the shoreline.
And not far away was a beautiful buck.
Salmon.  We also watched a salmon trying to go up Illahee Creek in a channel without much of a flow.  It seemed pretty exhausted since the flow in the stream was fast and muddy from the over two inches of rain we received.
Illahee Creek.  We were happy to see water flowing fast but smoothly through the culvert under Illahee Road.  We watched a small root wad flow through and worry about a large log getting stuck inside the 65 foot long culvert.  But so far things look good.
Brown Water.  As you can see from the photo above the water is containing brown sediment.  The photo below shows the brown water from the creek contrasted with clear blue water of Puget Sound as it moves by the Illahee community dock.
Compass Circle Meadow Restoration.  After planting 150 pounds of grass seed, it is nice to see it finally coming up after a record dry spell.  Not a very exciting photo to most, but pretty exciting for those who worked with the meadow restoration.
Shoreline Master Program Hearing.  We attended the hearing in Poulsbo on Monday and took a photo of one of the posters as it relates to our shoreline.
The photo below shows the Urban Conservancy designation of Schutt’s Point.
The link to the Kitsap Sun report of the meeting is:  Not mentioned in the article is the concern Enetai residents (our neighbors to the south) raised regarding the new buffers and how their older homes will be impacted if they remodel, since they are inside the new 100 foot buffers being imposed by the regulations.  With the new tighter shoreline restrictions coming we likely won’t see rigs like the one below as often.
Preserve Dumping Cleaned Up – But By Who?  In our last Update we showed the photo below, and two days later everything disappeared.  What happened and who do we thank?  If you know, please let us know.  We are constantly amazed at how volunteers take care of the Preserve!!!
Jim Aho