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 3/7/16 Photos, Raven, Wigeon Answers, Water Quality Check, Downed Trees, Preserve Dumping, Brush Pickers Caught, Meeting Minutes, Illahee Store, Amazon Donations, Wed Port Meeting

Photos.  Evergreen clematis and flowers.

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Raven.  With a number of ravens around Illahee and the Preserve, getting a good photo should be easy, but it isn’t.  This is the best we have been able to do after years of efforts.
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Wigeon Answers.   We are fortunate to have readers who can answer our questions regarding birds, such as the following amazing response we received regarding our wigeon questions.
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That is a nice side-by-side photo of the Eurasian and American wigeon in breeding plumage.  The average life span of wigeon is low because of high mortality among ducklings, only about 1.5 years.  However, the specimens you reference are mature birds.  The primary source of mortality among mature wigeon is hunting.  Banding records indicate maximum lifespans of wild American wigeon at about 21 years.  There have been very few Eurasian wigeon banded in North America due to relative scarcity.  USFW records indicate the oldest banded Eurasian wigeon when shot was eight years after banding, but their maximum lifespan is probably quite similar to the American wigeon, 20-25 years in the wild.  There is a recorded age at death of 35 years for a male Eurasian wigeon in Europe where they are far more common.  That one was probably a captive.

Most of the wigeon that winter in the Puget Sound area nest in northern Alaska.  Consequently, they suffer relative light hunting mortality.  They are not hunted heavily during the fall migration due to low human populations along their migration route.  Once they reach the Illahee area, they are relatively safe.  Interestingly, there were no wigeon at all in western Washington as of 1900.  Untold thousands winter here now.  They are the beneficiaries of human conversion of primeval forest to grassland.  Wigeon are truly “cattle with wings.”

Water Quality Check.  The Navy continues to monitor water quality in the area with another two week sampling in progress at the Illahee community dock.
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As part of an R&D project to improve the ability to assess the impact of  stormwater runoff, it looks like we have an opportunity to deploy some passive samplers this spring and one of the stations that we would like to deploy them at is at the Illahee Port dock. These are small devices that we can hang below the floating dock where they would be out of the way (and out of sight) of any activities on the dock. We would like to deploy them on or about March 7th or 8th and recover them after about 2-4 weeks depending on the weather.
Downed Trees.  Recent winds caused trees to come down with some interrupting power.  The photo below is toward the top of Ocean View and the photo below is from the Illahee Preserve.  We were hoping to get another photo that was to be sent in, but instead got the following message: 
I am sad to say there is no photo.  A new camera arrived the day of the storm, we came home after driving by the tree, which had just blown down on our way home. We grabbed the camera, ran to the tree, took, what we thought were several pictures.  There was no memory card in the camera-darn it!
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Preserve Dumping.  Someone dumped some English Ivy cuttings at the Thompson Lane parking lot.  Thankfully this is one problem we don’t have in the greater forested area, but do have it in some of the riparian areas the Preserve hopes to purchase some day.
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Brush Pickers Caught.  The Preserve Stewards thought brush picking season was over until today when two individuals were caught picking salal in the Preserve.  They were cited by a Kitsap County deputy and shouldn’t be seen harvesting in the Preserve again.
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Meeting Minutes.  Below are the minutes from the Illahee Community meeting held a week ago (2/29) at the Sylvan Way library. 
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Illahee Store.  After the community meeting noted above, we heard a rumor that there is an effort by a few individuals to contact the store owner and the store lien holders to see if there is a way to acquire the store as part of an Illahee 100th Anniversary project.  Let us know if you hear anything about what might be going on.
Amazon Donations.  For those who shop on Amazon the company will donate 0.5% of your purchases to charitable groups like the Illahee Forest Preserve non-profit group that supports the Preserve.  Information is available on their website at:  We copied the first item on the FAQ website.

What is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.
Wed Port Meeting.  The monthly Port of Illahee Commissioner meeting is Wednesday (3/9/16) at 5 pm at the lower level of 5500 Illahee Road.  Residents and visitors are always welcome at this public meeting.
Jim Aho

Illahee 2/8/16 Photos, Early Flowers, Port Meeting on Wed, IFP Statement, Mussel Cage Retrieved, Preserve Dumping, Lost Cat, Skunk?

Photos.  We have been asked to always include photos of Illahee, and whenever possible wildlife photos.  If you have some to share just forward them to us. 

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Early Flowers.  These were taken a number of days ago.  After this week there should be more showing up.
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Port Meeting on Wed.  The Port meets on Wednesday at 5 pm at 5500B Illahee Road lower level by the entrance to the dock.  The public is welcome and encouraged to attend as the Port is entirely funded by Illahee tax payers.  
IFP Statement.  We received a statement from the Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) treasurer because we sent in a gift to them instead of the Kitsap Community Foundation (KCF) to help purchase some of the Timbers Edge property. Below is the statement and thought it might be of interest to readers.
IFP Statement
Mussel Cage Retrieved.  On Sunday evening the mussel cage that has been holding mussels that have been sampling the marine waters this winter, was retrieved and the mussels sent to the lab for testing.  We will let you know about the results when they come out.
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Preserve Dumping.  It is always disappointing when we find illegal dumping like this at the Preserve.  Thanks to all the volunteers who clean up these messes.
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Lost Cat.  Another posting of a lost animal. 
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Skunk?  For the past week we have a person reporting the smell of skunk around their house about the same time each evening.  This is a first we’ve heard of possible skunks in Illahee so let us know if you see or know of one.
Jim Aho

Illahee 10/14/14 Preserve Work Party, Preserve Dumping, Coyotes on Beach, Beaver Request, Beavers – Yes or No?

Preserve Work Party.  Last Friday (10/10/14) there was a major work party at the Illahee Preserve with the Washington Youth Academy (48 cadets and 4 support staff) and a small group from the aircraft carrier John C Stennis (CVN 74) that took care of all the wood chips at the Almira and Thompson Lane parking lots.  

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Additionally, logs from the habitated trees were moved to replace deteriorating logs lining the Native Plant Demonstration Rain Gardens at the center of the Almira parking lot.
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The wood chips at Thompson Lane were blocking parking stalls and needed to be removed before the fall rains began, which started after the work party.
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Thanks to these amazing volunteers and those who supervised who help make the Illahee Preserve such a special place!  

Preserve Dumping.  And after all the work to clean up the Almira entrance, during the weekend we had another dumping incident.  If you ever see this happen, please get the license number and call 911 and email us so we can do a follow-up story.
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Coyotes on Beach.  We got another report of coyotes on Illahee beaches and are hoping for a photo someday.
Beaver Request.  We also heard there was a request that beavers be introduced along the upper reaches of Illahee Creek, since there are reports of beavers needing to be relocated.  We heard there was a report that noted beaver in Illahee Creek were desirable to help control stormwater surges as their dams are porous enough for fish to get through.  
Beavers – Yes or No?   We said we would help champion the effort and will be contacting the county and local Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel to see what needs to be done, so let us know your thougths as this should be an issue where there is definite support within the local community.
Jim Aho

Illahee 12/4/12 A Third Illahee Website, Preserve Dumping, Correct Phone Number for Illahee Film, Culvert Report, Lost Cat, High Tides, Seals

A Third Illahee Website.  For years there was only one website covering Illahee issues,  Then several years ago the Port of Illahee established their own website,  And more recently a separate website has been established for the Illahee Preserve,  Thanks to Rob Spearman for his great work in establishing the Illahee Preserve’s website.  The website is set up to cover the various projects going on in the Preserve and should be a great source of information for any who might want to get involved.

Preserve Dumping.  Another dumping of old furniture at the Illahee Preserve’s Almira parking lot occurred this past weekend.

Anyone recognize these items?  If so, we would like to find the person/s responsible.

Correct Phone Number for Illahee Film.  We were advised the phone number for those wanting to have the Illahee film delivered was wrong in the last update.  We apologize as it was our error.  The correct phone number is (360) 479-1049.

Culvert Report.  We have been asked if the recent clean-out of the Illahee Creek culvert outlet has resulted in an increased opening at the inlet.  The answer is it is very hard to see much of a difference.  We took a couple of photos on different days, with the last being on Monday, which showed a nominal 12 inches of clearance.  We wanted to get this photo since the culvert outlet will be dredged again on Tuesday (12/5/12).
Lost Cat.  Lots of these postings around Illahee of another lost cat.
High Tides.  There have been higher tides than usual the last few days, especially with the low pressure, which raises them even higher than the predicted heights.  This morning was exciting as the high tides and wave action caused a number of logs to go moving with the waves down the shoreline.  We had an old piling from the Illahee Community dock that washed up on our shoreline a couple of years ago that came loose from its rope today and probably ended up at Brownsville.  We took pictures of some shoreline plants that took a beating from the tide and waves.  The first one shows the plants and the second one shows how high the tide was by the piece of driftwood that ended up on top of them.
Seals.  We like to have at least one wildlife photo and choose this one of the seals as they congregated on one end of a nearby float.
Jim Aho
Note:  Past updates available at
We are always looking for Illahee photos or stories to share; please forward to

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

Illahee 7/19/12 Preserve Dumping, Heart of the Park, Thompson Lane Reports, Strange Encounter, Salmon Fishing, Slugs

Preserve Dumping.  It is disappointing to find trash dumped in the Preserve Almira’s parking lot when volunteers work hard to keep every part of the park and trails picked up.  Volunteers take care of most of the trash, but when major dumping occurs we often ask for help from the Park’s Department, and they have been very responsive and helpful.
Heart of the Park.  For some time the housing unit area at the end of Thompson Lane was referred to as the “heart of the park”.  It is comprised of 14 parcels with a number of them being rentals.  Years ago, because of dumping problems in the Preserve along the half mile long Thompson Lane road that goes to the housing units, a gate was installed by Kitsap County.  The gate worked well to stop the dumping, but a number of years ago someone rammed the gate mechanism and it was considered too costly too repair.  Thankfully the extreme dumping along the road has basically ended, and we have one volunteer group that periodically cleans the trash along the Thompson Lane roadway, so there has been no big push to find the money to fix the gate.
Thompson Lane Road Reports.  We have had reports and also comments on our website of Preserve users being harassed while walking along Thompson Lane.  When Leadership Kitsap personnel were installing trail markers along the road they had their equipment stolen, when they broke for lunch.  Reports we received over the past year state they were told it is a private road and they shouldn’t be there.  We didn’t know if this was a big enough issue to bring up until we experienced an encounter on Wednesday evening.
Strange Encounter at Heart of the Park.  On Wednesday evening, while doing some GPS tracking in the Preserve for a couple of map corrections, I ventured into the Heart of the Park, after finding some 4 wheel vehicle tracks that came from the area (see photo).
I walked down the road and didn’t see any 4 wheel vehicles, but did notice the very large flat rock in the common field area of the housing units, so I took a picture of it from quite a distance (because it is flat it is hard to distinguish much from the photo).  
As I was leaving I was confronted by a man and woman who accused me of taking photos of their house and their kids.  They said they wanted me to delete the photos (and later said if I didn’t they would smash my camera).  I said I didn’t take any photos of their house or their kids, which didn’t satisfy them, so they said they were going to call 911.  I said go ahead, and then I took some photos of them (in deference to their request that I delete my photos I decided to not to show my photos of them), and I left to continue on my GPS tracking mission.
Later on in my walk I realized the man who confronted me was following me, and continued to follow me as I was doing my GPS tracking and taking photos of the trail markers.  Eventually I ended up back at the Almira parking lot, with the guy still right behind me, and just as a Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy pulled in.  He asked me for my ID and asked why I was taking photos of the house and kids.  I again said I wasn’t and showed the deputy, G. Westerfield #74, the photos I took.  I was never able to get the guys name and Deputy Westerfield gave me his card with a case number, K12-007491, and said I could get the information there.  The guy kept insisting that I be made to delete any photos I took of them and when the deputy said I didn’t have to delete the photos, and the guy again said he would smash my camera, to which I replied that sounded like a threat.  Deputy Westerfield said things were escalating and that I needed to leave, which I did.  Today (Thursday) I called to get a copy of the case file, which they said will be mailed to me within 5 business days.  I still don’t know the names of the people or exactly where they live.  We will try to share the case file in an update when it is received.
Thoughts?  My first thought about the encounter was hearing the lady trying to describe me as “some old guy”.  Guess I haven’t come to grips with the fact that I look old.  Another thought is that this is a good time to try and resolve harassment issues of Preserve users using the Thompson Lane roadway.  Also, the long range plans of the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee are to hopefully purchase the “Heart of the Park” properties, and maybe this is the impetus to start working harder on that goal.  And lastly I wonder about the size of the huge flat rock in the common area of the housing units.  It appears from a distance to be at least 20 feet in diameter.  It would be nice to do a story on the rock and the history of the Heart of the Park in a future update.

Salmon Fishing.  When salmon fisherman are seen in Illahee the first question some of us ask “are the salmon back already”, and the second question is what are the regulations for what and how many can they catch.  Illahee is in Marine Area #10, which is shown below, and has its own subarea, 9, special regulations, including a special one for Illahee State Park where salmon can be fished year around.

Salmon Regulations.  We copied the pertinent sections for subarea 9 and the one which follows it for fishing piers, which includes Illahee State Park.
Slugs?  We attended a “Slug” presentation the other day put on by the Master Gardener Foundation, and saw several other Illahee residents there.  The speaker has been studying slugs for 13 years and was a wealth of information on these slimy creatures.  Probably the single most interesting piece of information presented for us was that we have both native and non-native slugs, and the ones who attack our gardens are generally the non-natives since the native slugs are attracted primarily to native vegetation, which is mostly found in forests.
Banana Slugs?  Banana slugs are the best known native slug in the Northwest and are good ones as they prefer native plants to graze upon, though they are known to feed on gardens if we build in their habitat.  They can be up to 12 inches in length and can be white, yellow, tan or greenish, with some having black spots.  The photo below of two banana slugs courting is from the public domain of Wikipedia.
Leopard Slugs?  Leopard slugs, or great gray slugs, are non-natives and have voracious appetites and will eat their own.  Our instructor noted she personally discovered this when she collected two leopard slugs for a presentation, and by the time of the presentation there was only one.
We also saw an amazing video of how the leopard slugs mate, which can be seen on a U-Tube video:
Thoughts?  We have been asked to include more human interest stories so let us know how we are doing.
Jim Aho