Pheasant. We have been asked to include in any Update something about the wildlife, so this guy showed up under some bird feeders today.
Wednesday Inquiries. Because of these Updates, we are often called and emailed when something out of the ordinary happens. And so it was early Wednesday morning. First the noise of heavy equipment and then the first email about a big barge on the beach.
Barge on the Beach. Definitely some major work being planned in Illahee and an opportunity to call the county’s Kitsap One phone number 337-5777 advertised to provide answers to questions.
Calls to County. And so we began calling and getting transferred to many different numbers. Many of those we asked for were out sick, and others knew nothing about what was happening. They kept wanting to take our information and have someone return our calls. Finally we talked with a supervisor who connected us with someone who seemed to really know the system and we worked looking at parcels numbers and permits and easements, and nothing showed up in their system. They did find that Fish and Wildlife had issued a permit to work on the shoreline.
Calls to Neighbors. After the county employees’ day ended we called one of the adjacent neighbors and found out they had a letter from the bulkhead contractor saying they would be doing work on the county right-of-way, and would finish within a week.
Thursday Calls. On Thursday we thought we would find out more. The county was working on it and would send their right-of-way inspector out later in the day. We also talked with a DCD representative who confirmed it was likely part of the Illahee Outfall project that was once planned for the Illahee Community dock. The photo below shows the county right-of-way.
Dock Outfall? For those who don’t remember the Port of Illahee fought this project that was going to put a 4 foot diameter outfall (see photo below) at the entrance and foundation of the dock. The outcome of negotiations was an agreement among the county and the community that a better solution than the dock outfall were bioswales to clean and infiltrate the stormwater, which would take care of about 90% of the stormwater, with the remaining being directed to an outfall at the county right-of-way.
Project Bioswales? The county representative couldn’t talk to the bioswale prerequisite and will need to wait until one of the planners gets back to work.
Outfall Installed. While the county was investigating, the work continued and the outfall catch basin was installed (see photo below). The inspector showed up at the end of the day and evidently told them they needed a right-of-way permit and an application was submitted.
After-the-Fact Application. We asked for and received a copy of the application. We heard it might take a few days to get the permit so it will be interesting to see if the hill side work proceeds.
Friday Calls. We received a call Friday afternoon from a supervisor to assure us that the project was county approved, but the details would have to wait until next week when sick personnel return. We did receive these plans from another source which reveal this is the same outfall that was planned for the Illahee Dock (see title on page 3) and was likely designed for much larger flows than at this location.
Open Government Responses. We are happy to report open government is working. We received the following HPA from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the application from Public Works. We will see next week what we get from other departments.
Mixed Feelings. We have mixed feelings regarding county government. They tell us their permitting processes are to protect and help us. But what we see in Illahee is a four story building constructed on a flood plain and wetland, and then there are the calls we receive about a conglomerate of vehicles and buildings on McWilliams. When the first Timbers Edge project was proposed there were no county concerns about the concrete detention vaults on the unstable slopes of Illahee Creek, that the community had to hire a geotech firm to contest. And when the Gilberton Creek culvert washed out, no one had bothered to check the capacity of the downstream culverts. Communities need to be vigilant as we end up living with what is approved.
Improved Communication. That said, things are improving. We have improved communications with the county. For awhile the community was spending thousands of dollars every month paying for studies, hiring experts or lawyers. When the county engages the community we think they find us reasonable and we have actually decreased the impacts and costs of some projects. In this case, however, we weren’t contacted or given a heads up on the outfall.
Comments. We know some would rather see just wildlife photos, but others want to know about projects that affect them and the community. Let us know your thoughts.