Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wildlife Report - 5-31-11

Deer Herd?  What constitutes a herd of deer?  It was reported that two bucks, three does, and two fawns was too much for one gardener to have in her yard and she tried to make enough noise to scare them away.  They reported looked at her and slowly walked across the road stopping oncoming traffic.  Gardeners we have talked to are seeming less patient as the number of deer in the area increases.  But maybe we should consider the number of deer in an area as an indication of where the great gardens are?  We will be checking next month to see if those interesting in hosting a garden tour are still interested, assuming the deer have left them something to show.

Coyotes?  There have always been coyotes in the area, but some who live next to the Preserve, say the coyotes are getting more aggressive around their residents and pets.  We would like to post some pictures of local coyotes so if you have any you would share please forward them.

Baby Ducks.  We had reports of two baby mallard ducks along the waterfront and we saw two baby mallards in the Illahee North detention pond (see attached photo).  Years ago we watched a mother duck try to get her ducklings from the waterfront to the pond and they didn't make it.  

Canada Geese Families.  We have watched three families of Canada geese come and go (see attached photos).  Once the goslings get bigger the seagulls seem to leave them alone.  The first photo is of a single goose that is raising two young ones by herself and is usually seen with the family in the second photo.

Killdeer Nest.  We have been led away from Killdeer nests several times this spring and finally we have discovered a nest.  Actually it isn't much of a nest at all and it appears the eggs were laid on the beach sand and broken shells.  The attached photos show the eggs in the nest, the Killdeer on the nest, and the Killdeer doing its broken wing dance to draw us away from the nest.  

Bird Tour.  There was a bird tour in the Illahee Preserve early on Memorial Day morning.  These tours are held regularly and quickly fill up.  They are led by a Master Birder and past president of Seattle Audubon. If this is something that interests you, please let us know and we will pass the information on so you can be notified of the next tour.  The photos were posted on Facebook and the link is:  http://tinyurl.com/3f4z9ys

Lazuli Bunting Report in Last Update.  This is a follow-up of the Lazuli Bunting sighting that was reported in our last Update.  Joan Carson does a bird report in the Kitsap Sun each week and noted several sightings of these amazingly beautiful birds and also responded to the Illahee resident who reported the sighting with the following email:

It sounds like you were one of the lucky Friday the 13th birdwatchers! Seems like a wave of Lazuli Buntings hit Kitsap County that day. I had reports from west of Keyport and Bainbridge Island. Considering where you are, that's a wide area. A very small number of these birds migrate through our area in the spring, but they don't seem to show up every year. Certain conditions influence them somehow and I suppose it is the wind. Anyway, you were lucky and I'm still waiting - one of these years I hope.

Wildlife Pictures?  We would love to pass on any wildlife photos or stories you have.  We normally pass them on anonymously unless give specific authorization to use your name.

Jim Aho

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Preserve, Wildlife, & BD Party - 5-18-11

Preserve Litter & Cleanup?  Tuesday morning we were asked to check on a campsite that had been in the Illahee Preserve for about a week.  On the way in we were disappointed to see a stack of phone books and "Little Nickel" newspapers along one of the trails (see attached photo).  When we came back later in the morning to clean up the campsite, the litter had been removed.  We know of several people who regularly walk the trails who pick up the litter of others and we want to thank them for their efforts to keep the Preserve clean.  

Illegal Campsite.  We did find the campsite (see photo) and came back later with garbage bags to clean it up.  The good news is that it was reported to the sheriff's department and a deputy visited the site and left a note that they had to leave.  We found part of the note that had been burned.  Others also reported the site and we thank all of you for notifying officials and us.  After we cleaned up the site, the Park's department was notified that we had left the bags by the mutt mit station, and they came by later to pick up the trash.  

Deer & Cat.  We get a number of emails and photos and try to remember to send them on.  This one came to us on Mother's day along with the photo.

I always enjoy my newsletter and Mother's Day morning, I had an interesting event in my backyard when the domestic and the wild came face to face.  As one of my cats was in the back yard, she had a visitor.  They were very curious about each other and watched each other for quite some time.  I did run the visitor off when my raspberry bushes became a morning snack.  What a great gift on this special day.

Amazing Colorful Bird.  We have had some interesting birds in Illahee.  Today an osprey flew over the area.  But the bird in this story is amazingly beautiful.  The response email is from Vic Ulsh along with the attached pictures of the Lazuli Bunting.

I live on a street just up the hill from the entrance to Illahee St Park and have a bird feeder and suet feeder on my deck.  I enjoy watching all the different birds that come to the feeders so I look out my windows quite often.  On Friday, May 13, I looked out and saw a bird on my deck railing that I have never seen before.  It was about the size of a finch and had a orange-beige chest, a blue head and back, and dark wings with two white wing bands.   It was just beautiful.  My daughter looked it up in her bird book and we determined that it is a Lazuli Bunting.  According to the information in the book, it’s not common to this area.  I’m wondering if anyone in the area has seen this bird and if so have I identified it correctly. 

Jim Aho forwarded your inquiry to me.  I work with him at Illahee Preserve.  Lazuli Bunting do occur in this area, but not common.  It is a treasure to see one.  I saw my first Lazuli Bunting within the Eastpark development area near YMCA last Memorial Day weekend.  The day had awful, bright glare lighting with brisk winds, but I "chased" the little rascal around for some photos.  The wind fluffed out his chest feathers in the first photo.  See attached. 

Here is another quick reference web site I like to use. 
You seem to have described a Lazuli.  Does this look like your bird?  Lazuli bunting is a beautiful, sweet little bird.  Count yourself to be very fortunate. 

Thank you for your email and for sending your photos.  Yes, that is the bird I saw.  He actually came to my deck twice that day.  I can’t say if there was a female with him because I was so focused on the beautiful little male I was seeing and there were quite a few other birds at the feeder at the time.  I’m hoping he will come back, but it sounds like it may be a one time sighting.  I count my self lucky for seeing him and wish I would have had my camera handy.

Audrey Boyer Turns 93 Next Month.  Audrey Boyer is one of the persons who was instrumental in the county obtaining the Illahee Preserve.  We found out she will have a birthday soon and her children are having a party next month for her.  See the following notice:

Audrey Boyer, Illahee Community Leader and Activist, Celebrating 93rd Birthday  Audrey Boyer's family is planning a community gathering to celebrate Audrey's 93rd birthday.  The gathering will be at Audrey's home in Illahee, on June 19, 2011.  If you have worked with, known, or know of Audrey and her many accomplishments, as a teacher, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, campaigner, Community Club leader, environmental activist, leader in establishing the Illahee Forest Preserve, Amnesty International member, and friend to many students and neighbors, she and her family hope you will be able to stop by to say hello.  Also, if you know someone whom you think would like to hear about the celebration, please pass this invitation along to them:   

Audrey Boyer's 93rd Birthday Celebration
5625 Ocean View Blvd
Bremerton, WA 98311
Sunday, June 19, 2011, 3-6 PM
Open House style, come when you can, cake-cutting at 5 PM
Your present is your presence.   
Please walk or carpool if you can, as parking will be limited. 

RSVP to Helen Boyer, helenaboyer@comcast.net

Jim Aho

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Miscellaneous - 5-14-11

Where Are The Updates?  We have been asked about when the Updates will resume, so it must be time to continue them.  We had a nice trip around the Baltic Sea, visiting and touring in Germany, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.  We were surprised at the low salinity and lack of tidal fluctuations in the Baltic Sea.  After the trip I ended up with pneumonia and have finally recovered enough to want to sit at my computer.  Not too many items to report so should be able to catch up with all I know in this Update. 

Fawn Reports.  Two sets of twin fawns have been reported, with one being hit by a car last Saturday just south of University Point.  Some gardeners are reporting daily and nightly visits by deer and are realizing they need to get nets up if anything is going to survive.

Gosling Report.  Not as many young Canada goose goslings reported, possibly because some of the seagulls are reportedly getting them when they are really small.  We have seen this ourselves a few years ago where the goslings were swimming in a line between the two parent geese, and a seagull quickly swims up and takes a gosling before the adult geese can react.

Baby Possums.  We had two reports of strange looking rat type creatures, which of course were small baby possums.  These babies are cute when they are small and we have been surprised that cats seem to leave them alone. 

Humming Bird Report.  We received the following email regarding a large hummingbird:

Today 5-4-11, I saw or at least what I thought was the largest Hummingbird I have ever seen around this area (off of Wise Street). It seems to be about 4 or 5 inches long. Has a dark hood with white stripe from back of eye to back of head. Body is green, but may have dark/ Dk Blue back. I think at times you can see a red spot on the forehead area.  It perches on on top of a 40 to 50 foot ceder tree of a neighbor. Attached are photos taken through a telescope. I could not ID this bird. See attachment.

Beverly Deitch Obituary.  Received the following note while on our trip and heard a number of Illahee residents attended the memorial service.

Just to let you know that Bev Deitch has passed away.  Her obituary appeared in the Kitsap Sun this morning (Thursday) . We are saddened to learn of her passing. 

Commissioner Brown's May Newsletter Mentions Illahee Film.  There is a nice write-up about what is happening in Illahee in Josh Brown's May newsletter, which can be read by clicking on the following link:  

Garden Tour?  Have not had a chance to find out if a determination has been made about an Illahee garden tour this summer.

Jim Aho

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Frilled Dogwinkles?  An article in the Kitsap Sun on Wednesday caught our eye when it mentioned "frilled dogwinkles."   A few years ago our neighbor was cleaning his garage and was going to throw out a box of old frilled dogwinkle shells.  

Were They From Illahee?  We questioned our neighbor whether the frilled dogwinkle shells had come from Illahee because they didn't look like any snail shells we have seen around here.  The frills on the shell extended out and they looked so nice that you would possibly want to display them.  He said he and his brother collected them from the Illahee shoreline when they were kids in the 1950's.

Questions Raised Last Year.  Last year we brought some of these shells to a beach watchers class to see if there was anyone who could explain why we don't see these intricate frilled dogwinkles on our beaches anymore.  We only see a few snail shells out there now, but they are without the raised frills.

The Answer?  Which brings us back to the Kitsap Sun article, as it explained that the changing chemistry of Puget Sound was increasing in acidification such that the "shells of marine snails called frilled dogwinkles get thinner."  Is this the answer to our question?  

Shellfish Expert.  We hope to ask the dogwinkle question of Betsy Peabody, a shell fish expert, who is being asked to be in the Illahee film project and to comment about possible reasons for the diminishing shellfish in Illahee and the fouling of the shellfish beds from excessive sedimentation.  

The Kitsap Sun Article.  The title and link to the Kitsap Sun article is:  Scientists checking changing Puget Sound chemistry http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/apr/12/scientists-checking-changing-puget-sound/

Piebald Deer Question.  We asked the question of whether the piebald deer north of Illahee had migrated to the area south of Illahee State Park.  From the response below, the piebald deer by the park has different markings:

I can confirm that the piebald I saw last week was not the one in the photo below.  The individual I saw was cream colored and only had a few spots, which were along its haunches and lower parts of the leg, similar to what the writer described as potential offspring of the male in pictures. The individual I saw was also quite small.  I do not know what sex it is.  

Black Deer Pictures.  These photos (from near Beamsville, Ontario, Canada) were sent in by a resident who noted a black deer is even more rare than piebald or albino deer.

Earthquake Fault Lines.  We still get comments regarding the Updates we sent out regarding the fact the we have earthquake fault lines running through Illahee and whether residents should have earthquake insurance.  Attached is a map showing just the Illahee area fault lines, that was taken from the county's website.  The link to the county map is:  http://kitsapgov.com/dcd/gis/maps/Standard_Maps/Environmental/FAULTS_DEC2006.pdf

Monday, April 11, 2011

Miscellaneous - 4-11-11

Trillium Blooming In Preserve.  One of first flowers to bloom in the forest are Trilliums.  We took the following picture on Sunday to show just how beautiful these flowers are.  A couple of interesting facts from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trillium are:

Picking a trillium seriously injures the plant by preventing the leaf-like bracts from producing food for the next year. A plant takes many years to recover. For this reason in Michigan[1] and Minnesota[2] it is illegal to pick and/or transplant trilliums from public lands without a permit from the State.

Trillium is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants. At maturity, the base and core of the trillium ovary turns soft and spongy. Trillium seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants extract the seeds from the decaying ovary and take them to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes and put the seeds in their garbage, where they germinate in a rich growing medium.

North Perry Water Response.  We received the following response from North Perry Water's General Manager, George Smalley, regarding our inquiry whether the community could help or show support for a possible relocation of the Riddell well:

I know it seems that there is always a correction to be made every time a news letter goes out, so here it is.
It’s not that the Tribe “ shut NPW down” on the proposed well site on Almira Drive.
It was the simple fact that the Tribe and Dr. Massman were convinced that pumping at the new site on Almira could possibly affect a stream in Tracyton, which is a closed stream with a healthy salmon run.
North Perry Water did not want to end up in Court over the appeal by the Tribes and could not agree on where or how much water could be added to several streams throughout the District to offset perceived pumping affects on the streams  from Tracyton to Brownsville and Illahee.
The new well site on Almira was to be drilled into a deeper aquifer than the well on Perry Avenue, which is  near the beginning of Illahee creek., ( Perry Ave well site),   and the Pickering well site @ maple and Pickering St. That would have allowed NPW to pump the shallow aquifer less at those sites, and hopefully give the aquifer more time to recover between pumping times. It would not affect how often the District would be pumping the Riddell site. It should be noted however that the Riddell well does pump from a  deeper aquifer than the Perry site and the Pickering well  site. Right now the aquifers  looks very healthy and water levels are good For whatever reason the District, has been pumping and selling less water over the last five years than previously, as are other purveyors in the County.
I believe it is the result of the economy and conservation efforts that are responsible for this.
Even though the shallow aquifers look good, we do believe that getting into the deeper  aquifer is the right thing to do . The District is still looking at other options when it comes to pumping out of the shallow aquifer.

It is good to know that the people of Illahee are willing to help in negotiations on a new site in the future if needed.

Piebald Deer Movement?  We were asked whether the piebald deer seen south of Illahee State Park, is the same one that was observed north of Illahee.  And so we have included the attached info on the north Illahee piebald deer so those around the State Park can tell us if it is the same one.

This is probably the same piebald deer that visits us every few days.  I am sending a couple of pics to see if its the same one.  I have pics of this deer from Summer of 07, so he is about 4 years old.  We actually are starting to see what I believe are some of his offspring.  They have a few white spots but are mostly cream colored.  I hope hunters don't try to shoot this deer.  I have talked to the major land owners in my area and they have said they won't allow hunting on their land.
Hopefully there is no hunting in the Illahee Preserve and the surrounding areas.
Rolling Hills Golf Course Gifting Finalized.  We have been waiting to hear that the gifting of the Rolling Hills Golf Course by Don Rasmussen and Kerma Peterson to Kitsap County has been finalized and just heard yesterday that it has.  Thanks to Don and Kerma and to Commissioner Josh Brown for helping to make it all happen.  

Possible Next Step re Timbers Edge?  We heard that the finalization of the Golf Course gifting is what the Illahee Community Club has been waiting for as they will now be contacting the two Land Trusts that expressed interest some time ago about the possibility of purchasing the Timbers Edge properties.  The golf course is evidently a major part of the bigger plan for expanding the Illahee Preserve and now they feel that they are in a better position for a land trust to want to come in to help.

Illahee Garden Tour This Summer?  We were notified that a core group of Illahee gardeners are pursuing whether there is enough interest to have a garden tour in Illahee this summer.  If you would like to be part of this group or have some suggestions for possible gardens that could be toured, please let us know and we will pass the information on.

Jim Aho

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Garden Tour & Watershed Curriculum - 4-10-11

Garden Tour Group Interest.  There were at least 10 who expressed interest in an Illahee garden tour this summer, and they will hopefully be able to meet and decide on gardens and dates.  Let us know if you have suggestions or want to be part of the group and we will pass the information on.  

Watershed Curriculum Evaluation.  Illahee has been selected to evaluate a watershed curriculum that was developed in Jefferson County and is now scheduled for 5 evaluations in our surrounding counties, Island (2 sites), Pierce, Kitsap and Jefferson County.  There is some good information in this presentation and we will pass more details on later.

Out of Town.  We will be out of town for a few weeks, but will be in email contact with our ipad.  We are sorry to miss all the flowers and leaves that are emerging.  Attached is a photo of a rhododendron starting to blossom out.

Jim Aho

Monday, April 4, 2011

BKAT Schedule & Piebald Deer Sighting 4-4-11

BKAT Showing of Aquifer Briefing.  We first heard that BKAT (Channel 12) was showing the aquifer briefing presentation by someone who caught the last few minutes of a showing and wanted to know when it would be showing again.  We received the schedule from BKAT this morning and caught the 11:30 am showing and have some comments.

At Times the Microphone Cut Out.  While the visual coverage was great, there were a few times when the microphone Dr. Massmann was using cut out, and we wished the external microphone's volume was higher for the question and answer time.

Remaining BKAT Schedule.  The remaining airing schedule for the aquifer briefing is:

4/5        9pm
4/9        11am
4/11      1:30pm

Piebald Deer Sighting.  This sighting was in the area south of Illahee State Park. 

I wanted to let you know that I think we had a piebald deer in our yard this morning.  The deer was quite stocky and short and did not seem like it was a second year deer because it was so stocky and filled out; it didn't look like any second year deer I've ever seen. The deer also had very noticeable white patches on its haunches down to its hooves.  It seemed to be solitary but I wasn't able to get a good look around before my dog noticed what I was observing. The deer was about 30 feet from my sliding glass door and the only reason why I noticed it was because the dog wanted out.  Luckily, I saw the deer before I opened the door and let the dog out.  

I thought I should pass this on particularly becuase I have not seen other deer like this in the neighborhood since I've lived here and I know the Illahee community is trying to monitor our wildlife.

Jim Aho

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Brush Picker Report & Misc 4-3-11

Brush Picker Report.  If the following report is true, we should expect to see brush pickers in the Illahee Preserve tomorrow.  They evidently prefer to be there when it rains since there are fewer people there.

I had a lengthy chat today with one of my scouts in Illahee Forest  (no names revealed).  Their general feeling is the brush pickers are picking us blind right now.  This person is very perceptive and notices much detail during their walks.  They say the pickers are all Latin Americans who wear black rain coats and are very adept at hiding in brush when anyone else is around.  The black rain gear is perceived to be universal and almost a team uniform.  They believe the pickers are most apt to be active Monday thru Friday from 8 to 5.  They often get dropped off along Petersville/Riddell access and get picked up same place in late day.  They have also witnessed an Almira parking lot pick-up.  This person has recently found two VERY large bundles of salal (different locations) and taken it upon themselves to cut it apart and scatter the vegetation.  They also say the most common time for the pickers to be active is when it is raining because there are fewer trail walkers to detect them. 
If my observed trend is consistent, then we have another several weeks of brush thievery before it dies down until late Fall.  Just a few thoughts from the field. 

Unleashed Dog Report.  We received the following account of an incident with unleashed dogs today that we thought should be passed on.  Thankfully, this is only the second one we are aware of.

My wife and I had a very bad dog encounter at Compass Circle this morning. A guy with two big snarling dogs came out Doe Trail, dogs first. The dogs challenged me growling and showing big teeth. One big hound dog was particularly aggressive - classic junk guard dog appearance. The guy yelled out from the trail to ask if we had a dog, as if it was our fault if his dogs were being aggressive. When the guy emerged from the trail he said the dogs were OK, as they went to circle my wife while snarling. The mean hound was bumping into my wife's back while snapping at her. I gave the guy an earful as he leashed the meaner hound. It was frightening for both of us. We were both shaking. Worst dog experience I've had in the Forest. Those were two big, mean dogs. This idiot is exactly why every dog should be on a leash. Any little dog running into the path of these mean big dogs would be lunch. Completely unacceptable behavior this morning.

Last Preserve Report.  When we put out our last report on tree clearing in the Preserve a week ago, we had not yet received the following report from those doing the clearing:  (Remember, this was from last week (3/27/11)

We went on trail brigade with chain saws at 6:30 this morning. 12 trees cleaned up. A Northern Pygmy Owl greeted us near north end of Golf Course Loop trail. A pair of hairy woodpeckers worked on a dead tree along Bootleg Trail. Birds are more vocal as Spring has arrived in the Forest. Rained entire time. Horses have damaged trail in many areas.

These are some dedicate volunteers who would get up so early on a weekend to take care of the Illahee Preserve trails.  Thanks guys for your dedication and support!!

Kids Tour Illahee Creek.  Last Sunday an energetic bunch of kids from the Unitarian Fellowship were given a tour of Illahee Creek.  They met at the Krigsman's and walked up the the old concrete reservoir that was put in by Dr. Schutt.  The kids went through the water and brush easily while the adults struggled along.  The picture of the group was taken by the Krigsman's potting shed along side the creek, before the wet and muddy excursion took place.

North Perry Water.  We wanted to acknowledge that North Perry Water was at the aquifer briefing last week, along with their hydrologist.  We thought about this when we went by the newly cleaned water reservoir on Sunset.  It looked so nice we took its picture.  The boom in the picture was used to elevate those doing the pressure washing.  Thanks to all the North Perry folks for also keeping our drinking water clean and healthy!

North Perry Riddell Well.  We heard that at one time North Perry was looking at relocating their Riddell well at Perry Avenue to the west side of the ridge going through the Illahee Preserve, which would put it in the Meadowdale Aquifer (which is in the Steele Creek watershed).  We also heard they withdrew their request because of some issues with the Tribes.  Some Illahee residents are wondering if it would help if the community were to publicly support the move.  We aren't sure we have all the facts on this issue, but feel if the relocation supports the communities desire to restore Illahee Creek, then we should be doing all we can to help North Perry in its relocation request.  We brought this issue up to get discussions started.  Let us know your thoughts.  This may be a good item to present at the quarterly Illahee Community Club meeting in May. 

Input Needed and Appreciated.  As you can see much of what we put out in these updates comes from your input.  Thank you for trusting us with it and letting us pass it on.

Jim Aho

Friday, April 1, 2011

Aquifer Briefing Report 4-1-11

Aquifer Briefing (3/29/11).  On March 29, 2011 Dr. Joel Massman gave an informative presentation on aquifer modeling and specifically how the Bainbridge Island aquifer study and model related to Illahee Creek and the surrounding area.

Many Engineers and Hydrologists Attended.  We were surprised at the number of engineers, hydrologists, and those working in the water industry, who attended the briefing, since the press releases sent to local papers did not get printed.  Other educators and scientists also attended such that it seemed like the aquifer topic appealed primarily to those with scientific backgrounds and those with advanced degrees with at least 4 Ph.D's, including Dr. Massmann in attendance.

Illahee Residents - Low Numbers?  We were also surprised that there weren't more Illahee residents in attendance, though a number of residents who could not attend provided questions to ask.  There were a total of 14 signs placed throughout the Illahee community, and in the days preceding the briefing we were told by many that they like receiving the summaries of meetings so they don't feel they need to attend in order to be informed.  We also heard some got the date wrong and showed up on Wednesday. 

Bremerton Kitsap Access Television (BKAT).  The briefing was video taped by BKAT for later showings, which will help those who could not attend on Tuesday.  We will let you know when they will be shown on Channel 12.

Briefing Content.  We do not have a copy of the Power Point of the briefing so this will be very short and succinct.  The Bainbridge Island study did extend over onto the Kitsap Peninsula which takes in Illahee.  The USGS gave Dr. Massmann access to their modeling software so he was able to use the model to extrapolate the affect of wells on the flows on Illahee Creek.  The modeling exercise showed that there is a significant effect on the summer base flows of Illahee Creek from the various wells along Illahee Creek.  

Many Questions Followed.  Following the briefing questions from the audience and written ones from those who could not attend, were fielded by Dr. Massmann, with a few fielded by Dr. Matt Bachmann from the USGS.  Comments from some Illahee residents were that the questions helped get the discussions down from the theoretical to the practical issues that local citizens are dealing with.

Responses (Answers) Later.  We will publish some of the more pertinent and interesting questions and answers when we get a tape of the event.  One question and response proved interesting which was -- When will the USGS Kitsap aquifer study be completed?  The answer was in another 4 years.  (Comment - That is the reason the Port wanted to have Dr. Massmann review the USGS BI Study could give us more information on Illahee Creek, which many residents consider already at a critical state with respect to low base flows.)

Comments from Other Attendees?  We would like to hear from others who attended the briefing on their thoughts.  We did receive emails the next day thanking those who arranged for the briefing, which would be the Port of Illahee with funding from the Department of Ecology.

Jim Aho

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kitsap Sun Aquifer Article 3-29-11

Deciding Whether to Attend Aquifer Meeting Tonight?  If you are trying to decide whether to attend the Aquifer Briefing tonight (3/29) at 6:30 pm at the Norm Dicks Center, you might want to read the following article in the Kitsap Sun this morning.  We have attached it below and also linked it http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/mar/28/as-expected-study-predicts-declinging-drinking/.  We will be learning about some of the same issues as they affect Illahee and the surrounding community from a noted hydrologist.

Aquifers Also Feed Illahee Creek.  Not only do our aquifers provide our drinking water, they also provide for the base flow in Illahee Creek, which is necessary to maintain if the stream is to continue to be fish bearing.  This will also be discussed.

Jim Aho

Kitsap Sun                                             Tuesday March 29, 2011
As expected, study predicts declining drinking water supply on Bainbridge
By Tristan Baurick
Monday, March 28, 2011

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — The results of a U.S. Geological Survey study of Bainbridge's groundwater supply were released this week, almost eight months after its preliminary results indicated the island's main sources of drinking water have and will continue to decline over the next two decades.
USGS hydrologist Lonna Frans said there is no significant difference between the preliminary results, which were released in July, and the final 95-page report. It took eight months to formally release the report because of the USGS's extensive review process, she said.
The study's aim was to develop a model that can simulate the potential impacts of increased groundwater pumping over the next 25 years.
Under likely conditions, the large Fletcher Bay Aquifer system, from which many high-capacity city and public utility wells draw water, is likely to drop by up to 10 feet by 2035, according to the study's preliminary results.
None of the study's results showed saltwater intrusion in island wells. Some residents with nearshore wells have expressed concerns about saltwater seeping into wells as their levels decline.
"The groundwater model gives us the tools necessary to make informed and sustainable water resource decisions," city water resources specialist Cami Apfelbeck said this week.
City water resources experts had recently stated that island aquifers were stable, and that any declines were temporary, despite a city-commissioned report that indicated otherwise in 2009.
The USGS report's findings also run counter to the notion that the island's groundwater levels are stable.
"Stable means things aren't changing, and that's not necessarily the case," Frans said when the preliminary results were released. "The (USGS study) does show decreases, and pumping is likely (the cause)."
Groundwater is the island's sole source of drinking water. Concerns about a dwindling supply could steer policy decisions for managing population growth and development.
City leaders expressed concern when the preliminary results were released, but decided to put aside discussion until the final report was released.
Water use has been a contentious topic on Bainbridge. Ensuring that the island has an adequate water supply was the top concern among the issues that worry residents, according to a 2008 opinion survey. Some residents fear that the limited supply fail to meet the demand of a growing population, and that policies should be enacted to better-manage development and water use.
The full USGS groundwater report is available for download at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2011/5021/.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Aquifer & Preserve Info 3-27-11

Signs In Illahee.  We heard there were 14 signs put up on Saturday reminding residents of the Aquifer Briefing being held at the Norm Dicks Center on Tuesday evening from 6:30-8 pm.  It looks like there are two different versions, which we found near the Illahee Preserve parking lot on Almira.

What is the Status of Our Aquifers?  There seem to be some differing opinions out there, with the four most common responses being:  

1.  Not a problem.  "We get too much rain for there to be a problem."
2.  There is a problem.  "Illahee Creek's flow is getting lower every summer."
3.  Don't know and would like to know more. (paraphase of most common response)
4.  Don't need to know.  "North Perry (Water) takes care of these issues."

Most Don't Know.  Most residents do not know what the aquifer situation is in Illahee or how important it is to understand it, and what residents can do to help.

Hydrologist Expert Opinion Requested.  That "not knowing" is the reason for bring back Dr. Massmann to help us better understand the aquifer situation in Illahee and the surrounding area.  Dr. Massmann has studied the Illahee situation several times before, first at the request of the Illahee Community following a study by Aspect Consulting that said development along Illahee Creek could lower the base flow in Illahee Creek by 15-20%.  The community paid for the study to verify those findings.  The second study entitled "Illahee Watershed Aquifer Protection Plan" was prepared by Dr. Massmann as part of the Department of Ecology and Port of Illahee grant.  Dr. Massmann presented those findings in 2009 at a presentation.

Important Subject.  Aquifers are an extremely important subject, since Illahee's drinking water comes solely from our underlying aquifers.  Our aquifers also supply the spring water that keeps Illahee Creek flowing during non-precipitation periods.

Latest Findings?  When the Bainbridge Island Aquifer study was done by the USGS, they included some of the surrounding areas, including Illahee.  Dr. Massmann has been asked to see if he can extrapolate any information from that study that might be applicable to Illahee and the Manette Aquifer.  

Suggestions for Residents.  Dr. Massmann has also been asked to provide residents with suggestions of what they can do to help protect and preserve our aquifers.

Stolen Car in Preserve?  We heard today that about 2 weeks ago a stolen car was driven into the Preserve from Thompson Lane and had to be hauled out by a tow truck.  We were asked why they hadn't seen the event or any pictures in an Update.  Well, the reason is that was the first we heard about it.  We would have been out taking pictures and getting more information had we known.  Please let us know about these events.  We don't mind getting multiple reports.

Rotary Trail Crew Work.  Thanks to the East Bremerton Rotary's chain saw crew who cleaned up another downed tree this morning that was crossing a trail.  The Preserve is almost entirely a volunteer maintained and supported park and we thank the Rotary and all the other volunteers who help day in and day out.

2010 Hours?  Just how many hours were logged in officially at the Illahee Preserve in 2010?  This does not include many hours of work that did not get recorded.  We heard that the number was just a little under 3000 hours!  Thank you to all those volunteers who help make the Preserve a great park and a success in volunteers planning, supporting, and maintaining a major county park.

2010 Dollar Support?  In addition to volunteer hours, there were some major financial support, that we heard amounted to over $12,000 in 2010.  The Rotary has been a major contributer, especially with the beautiful entrance signs which were installed in previous years.  The Illahee Forest Preserve is the non-profit organization (501.c.3) that supports the Preserve.  They paid for the dedication plaque, rock moving, etc.  Additionally, the Port of Illahee and the Department of Ecology paid for the rain garden plants.  Thanks to all these groups and organizations for stepping up to help.

Ducks in the Preserve Pond?  It appears we again have a pair of mallard ducks who think the Illahee Preserve detention pond next to the Almira parking lot should be their home.  We took the attached photo this afternoon.