Illahee 9/19/13 Shellfish Closure, Salmonids in Illahee Creek, Log Jam Project, Illahee Creek Culvert

Shellfish Closure.  There is a current shellfish closure in Illahee that extends from Brownsville to Illahee State Park.  The following photos were taken at the Illahee community dock.  
The closure is further described in the linked Kitsap Sun article ‘Red tide’ reported in Brownsville Marina

Coho, Cutthroat, or Steelhead Fingerlings?  We are often asked whether there are salmonids in Illahee Creek. On Tuesday 9/17/13 a log-jam project was started in Illahee Creek and in one short stretch of the stream a number of fingerlings were removed in a pool near the project.  We know they are salmonids, but we are not sure whether they are coho salmon, cut-throat trout, or steelhead trout fingerlings.  We will forward this update to some experts who hopefully can identify the species.  The photos are of different fingerlings.

Log Jam Project.  A major log jam restoration project occurred this week on the lower reach of Illahee Creek. We are assembling information and photos of the project and will report in a future Update.  The photo below is of the first of six large logs being unloaded on Tuesday that were strategically placed in the creek to create habitat and pools for salmonids.  There may be a future story in the Bremerton Patriot and CK Reporter as their senior reporter, Kevan Moore, was there covering the project.
Illahee Creek Culvert.  With our prediction that the Illahee Creek culvert could fail this winter, we have been asked to better document the current conditions of the culvert.  Don Jahaske provided a measuring device last year that makes it easy to see the clearance dimensions, which vary with stream flow but continue to get smaller over the years.  As you can see it wouldn’t take a very large obstruction to block the culvert, especially in a large storm.
Back in Town.  We have been out of town for the past two weeks so there will be some catching up to do.  If anyone would like to be a backup person or would like to see how easy it is (all you need is a camera to take some pictures and then post them), let us know.

Jim Aho

Illahee 7/4/13 New Bird Sighting, Kitten Found, Illahee Corn Plants, American Chestnut Flowers, Timbers Edge Progress, Gas Markers, State Park Crabbing, Illahee Creek Culvert

New Bird Sighting.  We saw a new bird in Illahee, a first for us, what we think is a Red Crossbill, named for the crossed mandibles adapted to extract seeds from cones, which are barely visible from our photo.  This bird, and its mate, were seen on a beach walk today.

Kitten Found.  At the south end of View Crest Drive we met a couple trying to find the owners of a kitten found along the road.  If you know whose kitten it is let us know so we can connect you with this couple.
Illahee Corn Plants.  One measure of the progress of a corn crop is if it is ‘knee high’ by the 4th.  We found three representative patches in Illahee with wide variations of growth, as can be seen by the photos.  We asked the secret for the last photo which we will share at the end.
American Chestnut Flowers.  American chestnut trees were native hardwoods abundant to Eastern North America before nearly all died from a fungal disease accidentally introduced into North America on imported Asiatic chestnut trees.  There are a few American chestnut trees in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, with one located in Illahee.  
We found the tree’s history in Wikipedia helpful, which included a statement about the catkins shown in the photo below  “This tree is not considered a particularly good patio shade tree because its droppings are prolific and a considerable nuisance. Catkins in the spring, spiny nut pods in the fall, and leaves in the early winter can all be a problem…. ”   The owner of the tree agrees with this description, but states the bees love the tree and it attracts so many that their collective buzzing sound can be quit loud.   Note the bee in the photo and the pollen on its legs.
Timbers Edge Progress.  We noticed what appears to be more infiltration holes being dug at the Timbers Edge project site, but haven’t heard anything else new.
Gas Markers.  It appears that new triangular gas markers are going in throughout the area.  We noticed this one outside of Illahee State Park.  This was confirmed by a resident who works for Cascade Natural Gas.
State Park Crabbing.  It was the second day of crabbing season, so we wanted to see how things were going at Illahee State Park.  
The first photo shows a red rock crab in the pot, the second a sunflower seastar (which can have from 16 to 24 limbs, is the largest seastar in the world, and can have up to 15,000 tube feet on its underside).
Illahee Creek Culvert.  We have mentioned in previous updates that we expect someday for the Illahee Creek culvert to fail and likely take out Illahee Road like it did the road at Gilberton Creek in 2007.  The clear opening today was 14 inches, which would be inadequate to accommodate a storm like we had in 2007, which is why the county is working with a stormwater engineering firm to figure out how to control the storm surges in Illahee Creek.
The Corn Secret.  Carol Henning agreed to tell us the secret to her shoulder high corn, so we asked if we could take a picture of what she used for such phenomenal growth.
Jim Aho

Illahee Update 6/13/12 Illahee Creek Culvert, Timbers Edge Meeting, Fir Drive, Twin Towers, Homeless Camp Cleanup, Compass Circle Project, SMP Hearing, Illahee Tree

Illahee Creek Culvert Clearance.  The clearance for water to flow through the Illahee Creek culvert that goes under Illahee Road is now at 19 inches.  Without going back to previous Updates, it seems like this is the smallest opening we have seen.  When the culvert was put in the reported clearance was 7 feet, and the stabilized clear opening on the drawings shows a 5′ 6″ clearance or 66″.  
Upstream Surge Problem.  Slowly over the years the sediment in the culvert and along the flood plain has risen, in spite of the culvert being periodically cleaned out of sediment.  While you can’t dig out an entire flood plain, you can try to control the upstream storm surges that transports the sediment, which is what the recent Department of Ecology grant is supposed to help with.  As some have stated “It doesn’t do any good to keep cleaning out the culvert if you don’t try to take care of the upstream source of the problem.”  This is also why many are concerned with the possibility of the Timbers Edge development moving forward.  The development was approved by the Kitsap County Hearing Examiner and is currently on hold with financial issues.  In the photo below the banks of the creek look like they are covered with snow, but it is just the seed tufts from area popular trees.
Important Timbers Edge Meeting Scheduled.  With all the concerns about how the Timbers Edge development will affect Illahee, an informational meeting will be held on Monday evening, June 18, 2012 at the Sylvan Way library at 6:30 pm.  The project will be reviewed along with the conditions put on the project by the Hearing Examiner.  Attorney Ryan Vancil will discuss the various options available to the community as they deal with this approved, but financially challenged project.  As has been stated before, this development has the potential to have a major impact on Illahee and especially Illahee Creek base flows and the recharge of an aquifer that is already at water balance.

Fir Drive Road Improvement.  We were recently asked why Kitsap County Public Works is fixing a big road problem that residents complained about during the Timbers Edge hearings?  Residents were told by the county’s Department of Community Development (DCD) during the hearing that Fir Drive was in good shape to handle the traffic from the proposed development, and now two years later, at tax payers expense, the county is fixing one of the road issues residents, and the traffic expert hired by the community, pointed out as being a major problem.  We have to agree it appears the county (DCD?) messed up, and we understand why residents continue to be cynical.

Illahee’s Twin Towers.  The skyline at the top of Illahee hill is active with a second cell tower going in, next to the cell tower that is disguised at an over-sized flag pole.  There are some upset residents with the second tower going in as they felt there were better locations that were not looked at.  They are also upset with our fire district officials not checking with the nearby residents before they authorized them to put the second one in.  And, we have heard the adjacent neighbors property values will be lower since their house is within the fall zone of the tower, not to mention the visual impacts of having two towers next door.
Homeless Campsite Cleanup.  It has been some time since three homeless campsites have been used so it is now time to clean up the mess.  One site was kept rather clean and they left a rather neat pile of garbage.  The other two sites left everything scattered around the woods.  Preserve volunteers are looking at a time to clean up the sites and the Park’s Department has agreed to haul away the debris.
Compass Circle Project.  This project has had lots of hiccups from the beginning, with the latest being a problem with a tractor pin malfunction, that resulted in a support arm falling and breaking off a hydraulic fill casting, which ended the meadow ground work.  They are still trying to get the right part to fix the tractor and finish the job, which is slow because the work is being done by volunteers who have other jobs and priorities.

SMP Hearing.  There were several Illahee residents at the Planning Commission’s Public Hearing regarding the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Update.  We have copied one of the letters that was submitted at the end of this update.  The record is remaining open for another two weeks for those who would like to provide written comments.

Illahee Tree on Kitsap Sun Front Page.  Tuesday morning’s Kitsap Sun front page featured an Illahee tree, a 100 year copper beech tree, that is purported to have been planted by Teddy Roosevelt’s personal physician, Dr. Henry LaMotte.  LaMotte homesteaded the property at the mouth of Illahee Creek in 1909, that was later purchased by Dr. Ray Schutt around 1934.  The link to the article is:

Jim Aho

Kitsap County Planning Commissioners

Subject:  Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Update Hearing

Enclosures:  (1)  Letter to Kitsap County Commissioners re the 2012 Remand, dated June 6, 2012

(2)  Resolution 2012-01  “Illahee Community Board Response to 2012 Remand Options,” dated June 5, 2012 

1.  In accordance with the SMP Update process that solicits public comments, enclosures (1) and (2) are hereby submitted.

2.  While the subject matter of both enclosures (1) and (2) refers to the 2012 Comprehensive Plan Remand, the concerns are also with the SMP dual designation of the northern shoreline of the Illahee Community.  The dual designation along that stretch of shoreline puts a sensitive conservancy shoreline next to an upland residential area with an urban zoning density of 5-9 homes per acre.  How can the county say it is trying to protect a conservancy shoreline area that has a high habitat value when the upland properties are zoned with densities that have proven to be problematic for shoreline habitats? 

3.  Recommend this inconsistency be corrected either within the Remand process or the SMP Update review process, or both.

Illahee Update 11/22/11 Fallen Trees, Illahee Creek Culvert, Pee Wee Report, Cell Tower Hearing Report

Fallen Trees 99 and 100. We went for a brief walk in the Preserve today and were happy to report we only found two trees down across the trails, but still means 100 trees came down since last Thanksgiving, and will likely be cleared either Wednesday or at daybreak on Thanksgiving day.

Damaged Hemlock. The other day we took a picture of a small hemlock tree that had been hacked about half way up the trunk.  When we went by it today it would be hard to know it had even been there as the Rotary trial crew took care of it.  One of the frustrations they have learned to live with is vandal damage and hope with increased usage of the Preserve that it diminishes.

Illahee Creek Flows. With 2.84 inches of rain we received as of late Tuesday, Illahee Creek is running fast, but not as full as we expected on Tuesday afternoon.  We have been measuring the maximum clear opening (from the base of the stream to the top of the culvert) to see if the recent downstream cleaning has had any affect.  The measurement today was similar to the last few readings.  The concern is it would only take one large log to block the culvert and possibly cause a washout.

Last Pee Wee Game Report. Following is the report of the last North Perry Pee Wee football team’s championship game at Port Townsand from Tony Chavez:

One last pee wee football note.  Illahee’s own North Perry Gators C-String (9-10 year olds), being the Kitsap County Champs traveled up north to Port Townsend on Saturday, November 19, 2011, to  take on the North Olympic Youth Football Champions, the Forks Chargers, in the 3rd annual Battle of the Bridge.  North Perry won by a score of 36 to 8, making them a perfect 10-0 this season!  As they like to say at North Perry, HARD WORK PAYS OFF!

Another Cell Tower Hearing Report. Awhile ago we posted a comment regarding a second cell tower being proposed at the Trenton Ave fire station.  We were hoping at a minimum they could disguise the tower as a tree so it won’t be so imposing.  We just received the following report from Judith Krigsman  who gave in-depth testimony before the Hearings Examiner, Kim Allan, on November 10th.

I felt that the hearing went very well.  I explained that most neighbors in the immediate vicinity or within the fall zone of a cell tower, can be refused an FHA loan.  That is 26 per cent of all mortgage loans.  HUD has strict guidelines and cell towers are called nuisances and hazards.  This may  affect home values in the area.  This can also make it difficult to sell your home if you need to secure an FHA loan.

The Department of Community Development was not aware of this most serious detail.  Verizon, the cell tower proponent, did not know this either.  Now it will be up to the Hearings Examiner to go through all the facts presented to see if they have merit.

Also, Department of Community Development completely omitted the adjacent property to the south in the proposal, which would be most affected by the 125 ft. monopole.  This family, owners of the 3 ½ acre adjoining parcel, are in jeopardy of losing their home if the tower ever fell.  It appears that sometimes those most affected have such little voice when it comes to these hearings.  That is the great thing about Illahee, neighbors look out for each other and attend these hearings to express their thoughts.

The major issue to this hearing was that Verizon failed to prove that they did an active search for alternative locations in an industrial or commercial  zone, where Kitsap County prefers to locate these facilities according to Kitsap County Codes.

Additionally, Steven Chafee, an Illahee neighbor, came to make testimony at the hearing.  He presented some good facts about cell towers to the examiner and expressed his concerns about the proposed project as a concerned neighbor.

Stayed tuned for the outcome and although it is hard to make change, the voice is a powerful thing!

Happy Thanksgiving! Wishing you a great Thanksgiving!

Jim Aho