Illahee 7/17/17 Preserve Art, Preserve Berries, Preserve in the News, Preserve Dumping, Stewardship Meeting Tuesday, Turtle, Photos

Preserve Art.  Walking the Preserve is always a pleasure in hot weather and recently stone art has appeared.

Preserve Berries.  Salal berries are beginning to turn color.  We finally found a branch with all the colors.  The last photo is of developing Evergreen Huckleberries.


Preserve in the News. This article appeared in the Kitsap Sun on July 11th and mentions the Illahee Preserve as a place to see vanilla leaf.
Vanilla leaf
Preserve Dumping.  This is what we don’t want to see in the Preserve.  It was dumped sometime Friday evening.
Preserve Stewardship Meeting Tuesday.  Preserve users and those interested in helping shaping the Preserve are welcome to attend the monthly meetings of the Stewardship group.  They meet at the Kitsap Pavilion meeting room on the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm.  As the Preserve grows additional input and support is needed and newcomers are welcome.  If you have questions about the meeting call us at 360.479.1049.
Turtle. Only the second turtle report in 10 years.  “Was walking away from wetland area. Think it was a western pond turtle. Either that or a painted turtle, but it was more like the farmer’s size. Not something you see crossing the road every day!
Photos.  We welcome photos and especially those of wildlife.  The last photo is from the last full moon.
Jim Aho

Illahee 6/11/17 Photos, Community Stormwater Meeting 6/19, Illahee Store report on CK Reporter Front Page 6/2, Wednesday Port Meeting, Preserve Shelter on Kitsap Sun Front Page 6/6


Illahee Dock’s outer float as a fishing platform.
Photo showing the reflection from the morning sun on the new and shiny Port of Waterman dock (upper left).  Note the bald eagle to the right on the Port of Illahee light post, which is seen there many mornings.
Preserve stacked rocks.
The dog that was killed at the top of Ocean View has been memorialized.

Community Stormwater Meeting 6/19.  The Illahee Community Group and the Illahee Forest Preserve non-profit groups are hosting Kitsap County’s stormwater personnel on Monday 6/19/17 from 6-7:45 pm at the Sylvan Way Library.  The county is beginning an “Illahee Regional Stormwater Retrofit Project” affecting Illahee and the Illahee Preserve that we will hear more about, among other things.  This should help with the stormwater surges plaguing Illahee Creek and threatening to take out the Illahee Creek culvert at the bottom of Illahee hill.  We have attached an old photo showing the nearly filled culvert (you used to be able to walk through it).
Illahee Store Report on CK Reporter Front Page 6/2.  The Port’s hope to purchase the Illahee Store was reported on in the CK Reporter.  There will hopefully be more information shared at Wednesday’s Port meeting.
Wednesday Port Meeting.  This is a reminder the monthly Port of Illahee meeting on Wednesday at 5 pm.  The port heard from four community members who attended last month’s meeting that the steep slope to the Port meeting room was getting to be too difficult to traverse, so it was suggested the June meeting be held outside of the store and one of them offered to put up a canopy.  We just heard that the request was granted and the meeting will be outside of the abandoned Illahee Store.  The slope down to the base of the dock is 18% which is beyond ADA requirements.
store 033-001
Preserve Shelter on Kitsap Sun Front Page 6/6.  Another Illahee front page story, click on the link A000100001L (46).  Two in one week for a small but amazing community.  More photos coming as gutters are scheduled to be installed on Tuesday along with gravel and grading this coming week.
Jim Aho 

Illahee 5/22/17 Photos, Facebook Reports, Bear Sightings, Port of Illahee Meeting Report, Sheriff’s Sale, Contaminated Site, Thimbleberry

Photos.  Some photos from the past two weeks.


New ferry ‘Chimacum’ going through trials in Illahee last week.
First Canada geese goslings.  Between the eagles and seagulls many goslings don’t make it.  Also, most of the geese and ducks in our area had their eggs eaten, likely by raccoons, before they even hatched.
Another domestic rabbit sighted out in the wild.
Chipmunk next to the Preserve
Common Loon that is late if it is just passing through.
Facebook Reports.  Day to day reporting from suspicious activities to lost pets appears on the Illahee Community Facebook page, and more recently of more bear sightings.
The loss of a dog was reported recently followed by the following sign by where the dog was hit. 
Facebook bear report
The above report was most likely in the area closer to Gilberton.  Later on FB there was a report and video of bears in East Bremerton that can be seen at
East Brem Bears
Port of Illahee Meeting Report.  The Port of Illahee’s attorney Ken Bagwell gave a brief at the Port’s May meeting of the status of the attempt by the Port to purchase the abandoned Illahee Store.
Sheriff’s Sale.  A sheriff’s sale is planned in the near future, as soon as 6 weeks, at which time the Port can bid on the store.
Contaminated Site.  The store property is a registered contaminated site with the Department of Ecology from past leaking underground petroleum tanks.  The Port noted that funds are normally available to Ports for cleanup efforts, which is why they are moving ahead with a possible purchase.
Thimbleberry.  Thimbleberry is a native plant is found throughout Illahee and in the Illahee Preserve.  It has exceptionally soft leaves, which during Preserve tours is pointed out as nature’s toilet paper to help people identify it.  More information about thimbleberry can be found on the internet.
Jim Aho

Illahee 5/6/17 Photo, Class Visit to Preserve, Comcast Work Party, Rotary Shelter Progress, Port Meeting on Wednesday, New Forage Fish Maps

Photo.  Thanks to Chris for this great photo. 

Towhee as shot
From yesterday’s walk, here is a Spotted Towhee in some huckleberry right next to the trail around the Compass Circle area. The Robins, Song Sparrows, Juncos and White-crowned Sparrows are everywhere right now. I even caught a glimpse of an adult Bald Eagle flying low through the trees this morning near the Almira parking lot! 

Class Visit to Preserve.  Several weeks ago a class of 2nd and 3rd graders visited the Illahee Preserve.  
An unexpected surprise was two Barred Owls who greated the children.  The students each sent a thankyou note with hand colored covers like the one shown below.  
In addition to the owls another favorite was the ~500 year old Douglas Fir.
Comcast Work Party.  On Earth Day Comcast employees gathered for an all day work party at the Illahee Preserve.  We are waiting for their official photos as they accomplished many great projects. 
Rotary Shelter Progress.  The Comcast Care work party coincided well with the work being done on the Rotary Shelter being installed at the Almira parking lot.  With the footings in the work can begin above ground.
Port Meeting on Wednesday.  Just a reminder that the Port of Illahee will be meeting on Wednesday at 5 pm.  The Port’s lawyer is scheduled to give an update on the Illahee Store, which the Port is attempting to purchase.
New Forage Fish Maps.  Who knew we had such a diversity of forage fish spawning sites in the area?  The newly released maps show documented spawing locations of Pacific Sand Lance, Surf Smelt, and Pacific Herring, and there are likely more as these are just the documented sites.
Spawning Map
Forage Smelt Illahee
Forage Details
Jim Aho

Illahee 4/28/17 Photos, Orca Photos, Great Give May 2, Funding Needed, 2017 Preserve Projects, Elwha Films Showing Friday

Photos.  Preserve trillium, garden grazers, flowering plants.

Orca Photos.  Thanks to Jay for these orca photos taken one week ago (4/21/17) and we are sorry we are late in posting them, which is an opportunity to note we are still looking for other ‘community reporters’ to put out updates when we are out of town or unavailable.
Kitsap Great Give May 2.  Kitsap’s Great Give is on Tuesday, May 2nd, and the Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) is on the list for receiving funding.  Contributions provide funding for everything from maintenance to acquisitions to legal costs.  Below is what was given in 2016.  Much more is needed this year as noted next.
Funding Need.  The next big funding drive will be to supplement a hoped for acquisition funding from the legislature for Phase 2 of the Lost Continent project. Below is the one page summary which notes that even with an appropriation, contributions of $130,000 will need to be raised.  That is the amount raised for Phase 1 so it is anticipated it can be done again.  And, if the appropriation doesn’t come through, there are other projects and acquisitions, see the list of 2017 projects
Acq Request
2017 Preserve Projects.  The map below shows the future plans for 2017 and beyond.
Elwha Films Showing Friday.  Thanks to all those who traveled to Gig Harbor to see the Illahee film two weeks ago and meet Shelly Solomon.  She will be at the showing on Friday evening of her two Elwha films.
Jim Aho 

Illahee 4/6/17 Photos, Winter Waterfowl, Surf Scoters, Golden Eyes, Orca Visit, Car Removed, Land Slides, Gig Harbor Museum Films, Ebb & Flow Film, Sawdust & Illahee Film


Winter Waterfowl.  Soon our wintering waterfowl will be leaving.
Surf Scoters.  Our favorites are the Surf Scoters.  
Golden Eyes.  Two species of these colorful winter migrants, the first being Barrow’s Goldeneye, the second Common Goldeneye.  Both nest in cavities in trees.
Orca Visit Monday.  We missed seeing or photographing these Monday visitors.  Illahee’s Facebook noted the visit with the following post.
Orcas 4-3-17
Car Removed.  Thanks to the Park’s Department for arranging for the removal of this car from the Preserve.  If no one claims cars like these they go up for auction at Chico Towing the first Saturday of each month.
Rick from Chico Towing was great. He figured he couldn’t get his tow truck into the car, so he decided to try to start the car and back it out. Because the thieve had punched out the ignition, Rick didn’t need a key. However, the battery was missing. But, Rick had a portable battery charger that he hooked up to the battery terminals and , voilà the vehicle started! He expertly backed the vehicle out of the trail, hooked it up to his truck, and towed it away.
Land Slides.  There have been numerous land slides along the steep banks of Illahee Creek this year.  Because of the steep slopes it isn’t easy to get photos. Thanks to John for these photos.
Gig Harbor Museum Films.  The Harbor History Museum has a Heritage Film Series showing several films by Leaping Frog Film’s Shelly Solomon.  Shelly produced the Illahee film that showed locally and regionally a few years ago.
Harbor Museum
Ebb & Flow Film.  The Ebb & Flow film will show Saturday evening (4/8/17), and tickets are going fast.
There are only a few seats left.  We just had this  film show in Olympia to a massive crowd and at the reception it was hard to move around.
The Harbor Museum is tiny and only a few tickets left…. tell people if interested buy tickets on line ASAP and don’t risk buying at the door.
When this film premiered in Seattle in October, 350 people showed up and we only had room for 300 people :).   This film is going to show at the MOHI and Wing Luke museums and its booked to show in Alaska, Canada and California… 
Sawdust & Illahee Film.  Next Friday (4/14/17) will be a double feature “Buried in Sawdust” and “Illahee – Saving Puget Sound One Watershed at a Time”.  Illahee was just added so we will send out its writeup later.  If you haven’t seen either of these films this is a good opportunity.
Sawdust Film
Jim Aho

Illahee 3/27/17 Photos, Road Patch, School Street Utility Work, State Park Wind Damage, Critical Areas Ordinance Meeting, Wetland, All Secure Storage June Hearing, 10 Years Unresolved, Possible Resolution?

Photos.  The skunk cabbage photo will be explained further in the wetland section.  The rabbit is a first for me during a walk today in Illahee.  

Road Patch.  After the water main break was fixed and the hole filled and the road patched there is little evidence of Saturday’s excitement that closed Illahee Road. 
School Street Utility Work.  School Street also had a water break earlier this year as buried power lines were put into conduit.  
State Park Wind Damage.  Thanks to Cliff who emailed these photos on March 18th showing wind damage at Illahee State Park.
Critical Areas Ordinance Meeting.  On Thursday (3/30/17) the public will have an opportunity to hear a presentation on the proposed Critical Area Ordnance draft.
Wetland.  The Illahee Preserve has an amazing wetland complex along State Route 303.  Many have asked why the nearly 40 acres around the Park & Ride were never sold off like the acreage containing Fred Meyers, Lowes, United Storage, and the former Eastside Auto Wrecking Yard.  The reason is the area is a wetland complex containing the headwater streams of Steele Creek, and a Critical Aquifer Recharge Area (CARA).  The streams go into culverts under the Park & Ride, McWilliams Road, and Walgreens, which keep them from being fish bearing, but nevertheless important as critical areas.  The area is so impressive from a wetland perspective it has been suggested that a trail and observation platform be built for public access and observation.  The photo below shows insects attacted by the smell of the skunk cabbage.
All Secure Storage June Hearing.  The headwater streams and wetland area are next to the location where the All Secure Storage project is proposed (red center square).  The SEPA Hearing is currently scheduled for June 22, 2017.  
10 Years Unresolved.  The SEPA appeal was filed nearly 10 years ago (5/7/07) and still hasn’t been resolved.  The issue was first undisclosed streams and wetlands, which resulted in the Hearing Examiner at the time stopping the hearing after the Department of Ecology’s Western Washington wetland expert issued his report during the hearing, noting the adjacent stream and wetlands.  The Illahee Preserve Stewards had presented a photo album during the hearing, but it wasn’t until a recognized expert issued an official report that the Hearing Examiner realized there really was a stream and wetland of significance.  The project made the front page of the Kitsap Sun several times in the early years.
Possible Resolution?  We bring this up because the Illahee Preserve Stewards approved a resolution last week, that was presented to the county’s Non-Motorized Facilities Citizen’s Advisory Committee that also met last week.  It is past time that this issue be resolved with the state and county taking the lead.  The Preserve Steward’s resolution states how this could benefit all the involved parties.  
Jim Aho

Illahee 3/13/17 Photos, Port Meeting Report, Preserve Blowdown, Work Party Friday, Deer, Dog Attacks

Photos.  Marine traffic and the Saturday departure of the USS Independence (CV62).

2017-3-13 Misc 002
Port Meeting Report.  Lew Noah, a Port of Illahee commissioner in the 70’s and 80’s shared the history of the diving reef they installed in the front of the Illahee Dock.  It consisted of 5000 tires with four large Navy anchors holding it in place.  Lew noted that it was checked 6 months later and there were commercial quantities of two types of shrimp at the reef.
Preserve Blowdown.  Thursday evening’s windstorm brought down a number of trees across Preserve trails.  They were taken care of early Saturday morning by the volunteer maintenance crew.  Thanks to these guys who work even in the rain to keep the trails clean and clear!
2017-3-13 Misc 015
2017-3-13 Misc 019
2017-3-13 Misc 023
Work Party Friday.  Lots of wood chips along Thompson Lane and at the Almire parking lot where they are staged for a work party on Friday with the Washington Youth Academy cadets.  It is a pleasure to walk on the trails after a work party, though bicyclists are less happy as they like a hard and compacted surface to ride on.
2017-3-13 Misc 010
Deer.   These three deer, a doe and two yearlings, jumped out of the brush as I walked by.  
2017-3-13 Misc 033
Dog Attacks.  First there was a report of two horses being attacked by dogs, and then a few days later rabbits, a goat and a sheep were attacked and killed, evidently by the same dogs.  The reports were on the Illahee Community Facebook site, which is closed so you need to ask to be added.  It has provided a convenient place for unfortunate incidents like this to be shared and hopefully quickly resolved.
Jim Aho


Illahee 3/2/17 Photos, Wildlife, Domestics, Snow Showers, Water Quality Monitors, Illahee Store Roof Entry, Clear Creek Trail Opening


Wildlife.  Moles are not often seen along Preserve paths.
Domestics.  A different walking route in the Illahee area found rabbit hutches, a noisy turkey, and later a chicken.
Snow Showers.  Snow showers were better than rain on a Monday Preserve walk.
Water Quality Monitors.  Health District personnel were checking fresh water sources along Illahee beaches on Tuesday.  Kristina said we could call 360-633-9603 to find out the results.
Illahee Store Roof Entry.  Last year we patched an opening in the Illahee Store roof where vandals gained access. On Wednesday we found the patches on the ground and reinstalled them.  We also found a mask, shown in the photo, on the roof.  Likely from those who gained entry.  If you know who might be entering the store through the roof, or responsible for the graffiti, please let us know.
Clear Creek Trail Opening.  On Friday the Clear Creek trails along the restoration project will officially open.  We happened to be there today and they look really great.
Jim Aho

Illahee 2/18/17 Photos, Storm Damage, Preserve Birds, Geese, Work Party, Knot Weed, Olympia Oysters

Photos.  Spring flowers emerging and ducks returning to the Preserve detention pond.

Storm Damage.  Lots of limbs down in the area after the snow, along with a number of trees down in the Preserve.  The tree clean up was done on Tuesday by two groups from the Illahee Stewardship Committee, to prepare for the Friday work party. 
Preserve Birds.  Thanks again to Chris for more bird photos from the Preserve.

I had an amazing walk today. I counted at least 11 different species surviving the winter in the Illahee Preserve:

2 Pileated Woodpeckers
1 Red-breasted Sapsucker (pic attached)
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 American Robin
1 Varied Thrush
Many Dark-eyed Juncos
1 American Crow
2 Grey Squirrels
2 Douglas Squirrels
1 Brown Creeper
1 Pacific Wren
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Geese.  A newcomer that isn’t being accepted by the Canada geese.  We have no idea what kind it is. The next photo is of Canada geese who are now matched up and becoming territorial as they look at nesting sites.
Work Party.  Washington Youth Academy (WYA) cadets (numbering 52) moved all the wood chips to trails on Friday.  Thanks to the Rotary (East Bremerton Club) for arranging for the WYA cadets, the wood chips, the tool and wheelbarrow storage container (courtesy of United Storage), the portable toilet (courtesy of Jim Fox), and the 10 supervisors who directed and helped with the efforts.
Knot Weed.  Knot weed is an invasive species that is particularly troubling along fresh water and salt water shorelines.  The photos below show one reason it is hard to kill is because of its massive root structure that can extend out nearly 10 feet.
Olympia Oysters.  A much better find on the shoreline was what appears to be the smaller, but native, Olympia oysters.  
Jim Aho