County of Marin - Press Releases - Novato Watershed

For Immediate Release
January 13, 2014

Tidelands Experts Consider Flood Protection Strategies for Novato Watershed

Report due in summer 2014 on flood water management, rising tides

Novato, CA - This summer, the County of Marin will release a draft report that evaluates conditions on seasonably problematic Novato Creek and offer new approaches to managing flood waters and rising bay tides in the Novato Watershed.

As part of the project, a regional science advisory panel evaluated preliminary flood control and restoration opportunities in the Novato baylands east of Highway 101. The specialists discussed methods to improve sediment transport in lower Novato Creek and the restoration of habitat and tidal flow for sensitive species in the baylands. Moving levees to allow increased tidal flow and new solutions such as re-using dredged creek mud to build horizontal levees were also evaluated.

The panel, convened by the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI), includes Peter Baye, coastal plant ecologist; Letitia Grenier, tidal marsh ecologist at SFEI; Jeff Haltiner, a UC Berkeley professor who works with San Francisco-based ESA PWA, an environmental hydrology firm; and Jeremy Lowe, sea-level rise coordinator at ESA PWA. The panel was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“We are so appreciative that the Novato Watershed Program is able to benefit from such a wide range of specialized experience provided through this EPA grant,” said Judy Arnold, Marin County Supervisor who represents District 5, which covers most of Novato.

Robin Grossinger, senior scientist with SFEI, noted that the panel’s “vision for a well-integrated landscape, both short-term and longer-term, should be a useful guiding tool” for the Novato Watershed.

The Novato Watershed Program, as well as the countywide watershed program, is managed by staff from Marin County Public Works. The Novato program is a collaborative effort of the County of Marin, the City of Novato, the North Marin Water District and the Novato Sanitary District to provide a system-wide analysis of flood protection options and identify opportunities to integrate flood protection goals with creek and wetland restoration elements. The process includes developing alternatives that would reduce flood protection maintenance costs and impacts and be resilient to sea-level rise.

The conceptual alternatives presented to the science advisory panel are at a very early stage. Using computer-based hydraulic models, the alternatives will be evaluated and refined with stakeholder input.

The Novato Watershed Program is one of three Bay Area projects to benefit from the expertise of the science review panel funded through the Flood Control 2.0: Rebuilding Habitat and Shoreline Resilience through a New Generation of Flood Control Design and Management project.

For more information, contact Laurie Williams, Senior Watershed Planner for the County of Marin, at 415-473-4301 or For more information about the Novato Watershed, go to


Laurie Williams
Senior Watershed Planner
Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 304
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-4301
Email: Laurie Williams
Public Works website