County of Marin - News Releases - Flood Control Project

For Immediate Release
February 04, 2015

Flood Control Funding Secured for Ross Valley

Long-delayed project on Corte Madera Creek moves ahead

San Rafael, CA – After decades stuck in neutral, a major flood control project along Marin County’s Corte Madera Creek has received a fresh injection of funding, bringing the Ross Valley one step closer to mitigating damage from a 100-year flood.

An archive photo of flooding in a concrete channel in Ross Valley.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) on Tuesday announced allocation of $400,000 to the Corte Madera Creek Flood Control Project (Unit 4) within its fiscal year 2015 work plan. The money will allow engineers to proceed with environmental review and alternatives evaluation, and construction could start within the next five years.

The Unit 4 project is a collaboration between ACOE, the Marin County Flood Control District and the Town of Ross, and the Marin County Board of Supervisors serves as the district’s board. Engineers and other employees from the County Department of Public Works serve as staff for the district.

The project’s completion is critical to the success of the overall Ross Valley Flood Protection and Watershed Program, established after the devastating flood of 2005 that caused upwards of $100 million in property damage.

“This project is a key element of the broader effort to reduce chronic flooding in Ross Valley while providing environmental restoration, fish passage, water supply, water quality, and recreation improvements throughout the watershed,” said Supervisor Katie Rice, who represents the Ross Valley on the Marin County Board of Supervisors. “The project has lain dormant for decades. Now we can move forward and address a critical bottleneck in the Corte Madera Creek system.”

The ACOE Corte Madera Creek Flood Control Project dates to 1962 and was designed mostly in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The first three units of the project were completed by 1971. Work on Unit 4 was halted by local opposition and community concern for the future condition of the watershed environment if a proposed concrete channel was constructed as planned all the way up to Fairfax. Since then, the ACOE and district staff have evaluated various environmentally sensitive alternatives for completing the project.

The Unit 4 project consists of hydraulic and structural engineering measures in two designated reaches of the federal project area – the concrete channel section in unincorporated Kentfield and an earthen channel section in the Town of Ross. Key elements of the project include:

  • Major creek enhancements downstream of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to improve flow conveyance and fish passage,
  • Removal of a fish ladder and other major flow constrictions, and,
  • Improvements to the existing concrete channel to convey the 100-year flood.

With the 2005 floods fresh in mind, Ross Valley residents showed they were on board with the project in 2007 when they passed a tax measure to provide the local funding source necessary to leverage outside funding and implement the watershed-wide flood protection and environmental restoration program. Environmental organizations, community groups, local chambers of commerce, public safety agencies, schools and faith community have all expressed support for the project since then.

“Having the Ross Valley Flood Protection program in place, a local funding source, a full-court press by community leaders and our elected officials from here to D.C. demonstrated our determination and capacity to get the project finished,” Rice said.


Neal Conatser
Capital Planning & Project Manager
Ross Valley Flood Protection & Watershed Program, Department of Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 304
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-2941
Email: Neal Conatser
Public Works website