Illahee 8/30/17 Work Party Report, Trails, Noxious Weeds, English Holly, Car in Ditch, Illahee Creek Restoration Project, Port Comprehensive Plan

Work Party Report.  Last Friday (8/25) Washington Youth Academy (WYA) cadets, 54 of them, descended on the Illahee Preserve to assist Rotary and Stewardship volunteers, 9 of them, with a variety of tasks.  

Trails.  Trail work, consisting mainly of keeping 30 wheelbarrows loaded with chips moving a half mile to the Hall of Cedar’s trail.  
Noxious Weeds.  Noxious weeds in the Preserve are unwelcome and every attempt is made to remove them. Scotch broom was removed from the Compass Circle meadow area, along with Himalayan blackberries.  Thistle is a particularly nasty weed and while a small patch was removed at the end of Thompson Lane, the powerline has a large infestration that will need to be controlled in 2018.  Tansy Ragwort is more of a pasture type of plant that was found on recently aquired property at the end of Thompson Lane.  If cattle or horses ingest it it causes irreversible liver damage.  Tansy was bagged and will be brought to a landfill.  Knotweed is another nasty weed under the powerline that needs to be controlled and will require more attention. 
English Holly.  English holly, is not a noxious weed but rather a weed or bush of concern, that grows amongst the forest canopy and is particularly troublesome in that cutting those too large to pull up results in new shoots coming from all around the stump, sometimes in a radius as far a 20 feet away, creating a bigger problem than a single plant.  The goal is to find them when they are small and can be pulled up and hung by their roots so they will die, as can be seen in this photo.
Another use of English holly is for blockage of rogue trails and paths to illegal homeless camps, which is what is being done with these that were pulled along Almira to a recently removed camp site.  
How Many Hours Worked?  Over 400 hours between the cadets and the Rotary and Stewardship supervisors.  No wonder the Preserve has the reputation for the best maintained trails, along with the fewest noxious weeds.
Car in Ditch.  We couldn’t see what the problem was until we got closer.  Don’t get too far off the shoulder on McWilliams road as the ditch is a drop off in certain areas.
Illahee Creek Restoration Project.  The following is from a paper entitled “Illahee Creek Watershed Preservation & Restoration Project” summarizing the results of a 2008 Port of Illahee/Department of Ecology Centennial Clean Water grant.  These are some noble and necessary goals and need to be noted, and earlier Port Commissioners need to recognized for their proactive concerns many years ago when they applied for the grant.
The purposes (goals) of the Illahee Creek Watershed Preservation & Restoration Project are:  
(1) to acquire adjacent Illahee Preserve properties and Illahee Creek riparian corridor properties, including those that constitute prime salmonid spawning and rearing habitat; 
(2) to restore forested areas for recreation and wildlife; 
(3) to restore salmonid use to near historic levels; 
(4) to restore the natural ecological processes of the forest, riparian corridor, and the watershed; 
(5) to control the storm water surges and excessive sedimentation that plagues Illahee Creek and Puget Sound (through retention/detention and bio-retention facilities); 
(6) to advocate for raising the height of the Illahee Creek culvert to compensate for the raised flood plain in the lower reaches of the stream and to prevent the possible washout of the culvert and Illahee Road;  
(7) to eliminate fecal coliform sources that pollute Illahee Creek; 
(8) to ensure sufficient aquifer recharge of the base flows in Illahee Creek necessary for salmonid use and survival; 
(9) to inform and educate the local community and the public at large regarding the above issues and involve them in the restoration processes, and 
(10) to facilitate public use and enjoyment of the natural features and ecological processes of the Illahee Preserve and Illahee Creek Watershed. 
While Illahee Creek is only a small salmonid producer in the West Sound Watershed area, with only small runs of chum and Coho in a good year and intermittent use by steelhead and cutthroat, it is a major polluter of Puget Sound with excessive amounts of sedimentation being deposited into the Sound during storm events.  And although much of its stream corridor and watershed consists of prime habitat (65% undeveloped with most of that protected), a relatively small area of development on the outer perimeter of the watershed, constructed before storm water mitigation regulations went into effect, has resulted in over 40 years of excessive sediment pollution of Illahee Creek and Puget Sound.  Additionally, Illahee Creek is impacted by diminishing low base flows during times of low precipitation, along with the presence of fecal coliform pollution in the stream. 
Significant progress has been made over the last few years to begin to document the issues and accomplish both property acquisitions and some restoration, primarily through earlier grants from the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Coastal Protection Fund (CPF), and Department of Ecology (DOE)/Port of Illahee; along with the recent generosity of the owner of the Rolling Hills Golf Course (104 acres) and the Timbers Edge owner and developer (25.5 acres). The property acquisition and easement phase is now ~85% complete (with the remaining 15% consisting of ~30 acres of conservation easements and ~50 acres of acquisitions).
The Port of Illahee, the Illahee Forest Preserve Non-Profit Corporation, the East Bremerton Rotary, the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee, and Kitsap County have committed resources and are working collaboratively to accomplish the purposes and goals of the restoration project, with financial support, volunteer labor, inter-local agreements, etc.  Integral to the success of the remaining acquisitions and conservation easements will be the continuing quest for gifts and grant support to secure the properties. 
Port Comprehensive Plan.  The Port of Illahee has done a great job of leveraging their limited annual tax funding ($79,646) with grants, and will be presenting their next 6 year Comprehensive Plan on Sept 11th at 5 pm at the Sylvan Way library at a public meeting for residents to provide comments and input.
Jim Aho

Illahee 2/24/26 Photos, Photo Problem Identified, Community Meeting, Surveying Work Above Outfall, Work Party Report, Washington Youth Academy

Photos.  The first photo below shows a relatively rare Eurasian wigeon in this area and an American wigeon.  We think the Eurasian wigeon is the same duck we have seen in previous years, and wonder what the life span of the average wigeon is.  

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The second photo was sent to us by Pat, “….can’t resist sending this photo .. use if you wish or not .. taken from my deck.. not far from Illahee State Park.”
Photo from Pat N 2-9-16
Photo Problem Identified.  “We like to look at the photos, so what happened?  There was only the map photo in the last Update.”  The comment was from a friend so I explained about our concerns that we include too many photos which might cause the photos to not come through.  It appears those having problems with the photos not appearing have firewall issues, i.e., their firewall won’t let our photos be posted.  If that happens, the photos can be viewed anytime, along with past Updates, by simply viewing the website.
If the missing photo comment came from a county worker then the problem is on our end. Recently the county IS started to block your photos for some reason. I can view the same email with photos on my phone with cell data. It might have something to do with security settings on your sever as they are getting pretty serious about securing our network.

Community Meeting.  There appear to be about 10 of these signs out in the community.  Please bring your ideas of what to do with the Illahee Store to the meeting.
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Surveying Work Above Outfall.  We received the following notice from the developer’s engineer that some work is beginning above where the Illhaee Outfall was installed last year.  It looks a development is ready to go forward and we hope the county will provide some kind of notification as it was part of an agreement with the Illahee community that notice would be provided. 
I just wanted to keep you in the loop and give you and the community a heads up that the project clearing limits will be staked in the next couple of weeks. There will be surveyors along the Sunrise Terrace and Berg Street ROWs.
Preserve Work Party Report.  This past Friday (2/19/16) a platoon of Washington Youth Academy (WYA) cadets helped clear tree debris and hauled wood chips to keep the Illahee Preserve trails well maintained.  There were 51 cadets and 4 supervisors, along with 8 volunteers (orange vests) who guided their efforts.  
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We have been questioned about how we can keep the trails so well maintained, and the answer is because of the help of volunteers like the WYA cadets and the Rotary and Preserve Stewards who coordinate the work parties.  The unofficial hours this work party worked:  WYA 358 hours, work supervisors 64 hours, for a total of 422 hours, with the Rotary providing for the required port-a-potty.  Note the fresh wood chips on the trail in the photo below.
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Washington Youth Academy.  Some information about the Washington Youth Academy appeared recently on the front page of the Kitsap Sun.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 6/7/14 Coyotes, Pheasants, Deer, Crab Pot, Work Party Report, Canada Geese

Coyotes.  Thanks to those who remember we are always looking for wildlife reports and especially photos to go with them.  Coyotes are some of the hardest for us to see, much less get a photo of them. Below is part of the note we received with the two coyote photos.

I remember a while back you talked about a coyote pack roaming the area. We hear them out on the back side of our property all the time. My husband says that very fearless. He had the dog with him out there one day and they had no problem standing around in broad daylight with him standing in proximity (probably looking at the dog as a tastey morsel). I’ve always wanted to get a picture of one and send it to you. I happened to have mowed the acre and a quarter of yard with a field mower the other day and as usual scattered a mass of rats. This usually bring every cat in the neighborhood around for days. It apparently attracted the coyotes as well. 
Pheasants.  We have had reports of a number of pheasant broods, and have been unsuccessful at photos of them, so we were glad to get these photos. We also had a report that pheasants like strawberries, and the chicks were standing on the protective netting, eating the berries through the netting.
Deer.  It isn’t very often you get a photo of two active fawns stopping to nurse.  When they realized we were there, they decided to leave. They are already trying to get into local gardens.
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Crab Pot.  This crab pot was dropped off along the road, so if you are missing one let us know.
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Work Party Report.  Last weekend there were two work parties scheduled. One on Friday evening and the other on Saturday.  Those who volunteered liked Friday and lots of chips were moved and other work accomplished in the two hours.  Saturday was a bust with one person cleaning up a section of one of the rain gardens.  They are reassessing whether weekend work parties should be scheduled.  If you have an opinion, let us know.
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One wood chip pile was leveled as those chips went around the perimeter of the Native Plant Demonstration Rain Gardens (see the above photos), while the smaller chips were used for the paths.
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Canada Geese.  Some of the local geese families are large this year, and others are small, as can be seen by these two photos.  Keeping a garden around here is tough when you have geese, pheasants, deer, squirrels, raccoons, and possum to deal with, along with various smaller birds. 
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Illahee Update 4/17/12 Trillium Patch, Illahee Preserve Celebration, Press Release, Work Party Report, Vandalism, Preserve Projects

Trillium Patch. This dense patch of trillium was near the Illahee Preserve’s Almira Parking lot.

Illahee Preserve Celebration. We were just forwarded a brochure for the Illahee Preserve’s May 5th celebration being headed up by Leadership Kitsap.  Looks like it will be the Preserve’s biggest celebration yet and all are encouraged to attend.

Press Release. We were also forwarded the press release for the event, which is copied below:

April 16, 2012 (360) 621-9657
“A Day at the Park” at the Illahee Preserve
BREMERTON. On Saturday, May 5, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Leadership Kitsap will be
partnering with the Illahee Stewardship Committee to hold “A Day at the Park” at the Illahee
Preserve. This family-friendly event is open to the public and will feature free food donated by
Port Madison Enterprises, a raffle with great prizes, and a poker hike that will raise funds for the
Illahee Preserve’s stewardship efforts. The poker hike will be $5 per person.
The Illahee Preserve is a community treasure in East Bremerton. It has an area of over 444 acres
that includes the Illahee Forest and Illahee Creek Watershed and approximately five miles of
walking trails.
Recently-added amenities to be showcased during the event include new trail markers and a new
trail map and brochure for public use, created as part of a Leadership Kitsap project.
For more information on the event, please visit or
contact Connie Zapp at (360) 621-9657 or

Work Party Report. Saturday’s work party involving Leadership Kitsap and Washington Youth Academy was busy and productive.  Leadership Kitsap and WYA cadets installed intersection posts in advance of coming up with a new map to help trail users from getting lost.  WYA and stewardship members not only made the wood chip pile disappear, but the rain garden logs were replaced (the old ones were stolen, probably for firewood), a new walkway to a soon to be built kiosk was roughed out, trails were better delineated, mud holes were filled, and several trails were closed for habitat restoration.  The Rotary Club of East Bremerton and the Illahee Forest Preserve made sure there were enough wheel borrows available, and Kitsap County Parks brought their tool trailer loaded with enough tools to handle the group that numbered over 60. Thanks to everyone involved!

Vandalism. It seems like every time change occurs in the Preserve that there are those who don’t approve and destroy the efforts of the volunteers who maintain and support this treasure.  By Monday afternoon four of the 30+ posts installed by Leadership Kitsap had been removed and presumably stolen.  Similar thefts took place when the trails were marked by signs and especially those signs mounted on trees, which is why LK went with the intersection posts.

Compass Circle Project Status. This project is getting critical as the turf grass seed needs to be planted soon.  We are waiting for the rest of the perimeter alders to be taken down so the ground can be cleared and prepped for seed planting.

Kiosk Project Status. The kiosk project is an Eagle Scout project that is scheduled to be installed at the Almira parking lot entrance in time for the May 5th “Walk in the Park” celebration.  Lots of work to be done in the next two weeks!!

Jim Aho

Illahee Update 4/8/12 Work Party Report, Otter Story, Goose Nest, Preserve Water Holes, Large Deer Report, Timbers Edge, Another Work Party?

Work Party Report. We were helping out with Saturday’s Illahee Preserve work party and didn’t get any pictures until the next day to show the depleted wood chip pile at the Petersville entrance, and the partially depleted pile at the Almira parking lot.  Our estimate of the number of workers helping out with the Compass Circle Wildlife Meadow project was at least 25 and the number helping at Almira was 15 to 20.  Thanks to the East Bremerton Rotary for organizing the work party, and the Washington Youth Academy for providing the majority of the workers, and the Illahee Forest Preserve for their helpers.  We went for a walk today in the Preserve and we were asked what kind of equipment was used to bring all the chips in and they were surprised to learn it was all done with manual labor and wheel barrows.

Trail Work. We took a picture of a couple of walkers on the newly placed wood chips in the Amphitheater area.

Otter Story. Living in Illahee and discovering river otters has been an interesting experience, both for those along the shoreline and those living along Illahee Creek.  The attached story is a great reminder that while we may see them during the day, they are basically nocturnal animals.

I liked both the pictures in the last update! When I first moved to Illahee I rented a house on Rue Villa.  My black lab, Willie was in heaven.  The very first Saturday we saw an otter out in the water.  Willie went swimming after it.  When it dove under and stayed down Willie finally gave up and went back to the beach.  The otter would re-surface and the game would begin again.  When Willie got tired of it, the otter would swim in closer and closer, inticing Willie back out.  Another night, under a full moon like tonight, Willie and I went walking after midnight.  We sat down and watched three otters playing together under the full moon.

Goose Nest. Another story of adapting to living with wildlife was received.

A pair of geese have decided to move in for the spring. Their nest is on top of my shed. The one where I keep my tractor. I have been trying vigorously to shoo them away until yesterday when I found out they already had a nest. Now I have have to figure out how to get my tractor out of the shed without disturbing them.

Preserve Water Holes. There have been more concerns expressed about trying to keep some water holes open for wildlife in the Preserve.  Some have been filled with wood chips, but some are being preserved for birds and animals, such as the Douglas squirrel we encountered today on the trails.

Large Deer Report. We were told about a very large buck with antlers of 6 points on one side and 7 points on the other side and how they have been trying to get pictures of it, so we thought we should put out a request to the community to see if someone can get a photo of it.

Timbers Edge Question. We had questions today and Saturday about the possible purchase of Timbers Edge properties.  We don’t have many answers.  When the land trust and Port stopped being involved there was little hope for a purchase.  Should grant monies be available someday, the earliest that could happen would be in 2014.  The other hope would be for a non-developer to purchase the properties for their private use or for holding until grant money became available.

Next Work Party on Saturday (4/14/12)? We think another Illahee Preserve work party is being planned for this Saturday and will pass on more information as it becomes available.

Jim Aho