Current Activities - Join Us!
Annual Miller Bay Cleanup
The annual cleanup of Miller Bay is TBD for 2023 but is typically 1 week after 4th of July.
Pictured at left: Sharon Nichols at Miller Bay Clean Up
Most work parties are based out of the Cowling Creek Forest Preserve (CCFP), 20325 Miller Bay Rd NE, Poulsbo. We also work in the Miller Bay Preserve (MBP), 22986 Miller Bay Rd NE, Poulsbo, about 1/2 of a block south of the Gunderson intersection at Miller Bay Rd. Turn into the driveway at the opening in the black fence turn left, and find a place to park along to the north. Removing invasive plants, trail work, and tree planting are the usual activities. Be sure to dress for the weather and wear gloves! Information regarding each event will be emailed to you including addressed and where to park. So far in 2023 three work parties have been scheduled:
- Wednesday, February 1st 10 a.m. - noon at CCFP
- Thursday February 16, 10 a.m. - noon at MBP
- Saturday March 18, 10 a.m. - noon at MBP
Additional work parties may be scheduled!
Shellfish Biotoxin Monitoring
Twice monthly, from May to November, FOMB volunteers collect mussel samples from Miller -Bay to be tested by the Kitsap Public Health District (KPHD). Mussels are used as an indicator species for toxin levels in shellfish because they pick-up and release the poisons in their tissues faster than any other species.
The samples are tested for their levels of paralytic shellfish poison (PSP), diarrheic shellfish poisoning (DSP), and amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP), the three toxins that make up what is more commonly known as red tide. If threshold levels are reached for any of these biotoxins the bay is closed for shellfish harvesting.
To learn more about this topic go to the link below for the Washington State Department of Health website for an excellent overview of biotoxins. If you plan on digging shellfish anywhere in the Sound, call the Shellfish Safety Hotline at 800 562-5632 for up-to-date information.
FOMB volunteers have been planting native trees and shrubs in the Cowling Creek Forest Preserve since 2004 including a large project in partnership with the Great Peninsula Conservancy in 2016. Also, more recently FOMB has begun planting trees in the Miller Bay Preserve.
Thinned alder are stacked to mimic a fallen old growth tree. This provides habitat for smaller animals.
Plastic sleeves protect the tree leader.
Outmigration Trap : Beginning in 2016, FOMB and Paul Dorn, partnered with Trout Unlimited to install an outmigration trap at Grover’s Creek Hatchery. The trap captured everything moving downstream that came into the collection box. The trap was monitored daily and all captured fish were measured along with everything else (frogs, crayfish, insects, salamanders, etc.) and recorded before being released unharmed.
This project allowed an assessment of the natural production of watersheds. Of special interest was whether there were any steelhead left and to what extent have they have bred with cutthroat? DNA from a tiny piece of fin tissue (which grows back) was analyzed at Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife in their Olympia lab. This was critical data for the State and the Tribes in order to manage steelhead recovery programs.
Grover’s Creek watershed (Miller Bay’s largest ) continues to be very productive with mostly native species. Its main challenge is people - our activities and numbers!
FOMB member Bob Nichols prepares to remove mussels from Miller Bay to be tested for biotoxins.
Olympia Oysters in Miller Bay
For many years FOMB President, Paul Dorn, has been hoping to reintroduce Olympia oysters to Miller Bay. They were once plentiful and the only oyster found in Puget Sound, but over harvesting and environmental changes wiped out these small mollusks many years ago and they are now rarely found. The Pacific oyster we are used to seeing on Puget Sound beaches is an non native species.
In the summer of 2018, Betsy Peabody, who is working with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund on a project to restore Puget Sound Olympia oyster reefs, offered to help bring these dainty little oysters back to Miller Bay. With help from FOMB volunteers, 20,000 young oysters were planted in mesh bags on a substrate of Pacific oyster shells on Clam Island with hopes of creating an oyster reef there. The bags were anchored to the bottom of the bay in an area exposed at minus tides.
The oysters have a multitude of obstacles to prevent their success: silt, pollution, frosty winter nights, and the Japanese Oyster Drill can all be problems. The Olympia Oyster bags are cleaned monthly to remove algae, snails and to spread out the developing oysters. We’ll keep you posted on this project.