County of Marin - News Releases - Corte Madera Creek Flood Control

For Immediate Release
April 20, 2016

Progress on Flood Project from Ross to Kentfield

Project in the works aimed at reducing risks for residents in floodplain

San Rafael, CA – Local and national flood control experts are working on mitigation measures for a long-planned project in the town of Ross that should bring safety and peace of mind to residents who live along flood-prone Corte Madera Creek. A public meeting is planned for Monday, April 25, at Ross School and will be hosted by U.S. Representative Jared Huffman, who represents Marin County in Washington, D.C.

A water depth gauge is shown at a spot on Corte Madera Creek in Ross.A water depth gauge on Corte Madera Creek in Ross.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Corte Madera Creek Project (Units 2, 3 and 4) has drawn significant interest of residents who live near Corte Madera Creek along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and neighboring streets such as Sylvan Lane and Shady Lane.

“We have many goals with this project, but it’s mainly lowering flood risks, reducing property damage from flooding, and improving fish passage,” said Neal Conatser, program manager for the Ross Valley Flood Protection and Watershed Program. “The project also will look for ways to reduce erosion along the creek banks and improving the aesthetic and recreational qualities of the creek.”

Engineers are also reviewing conceptual measures to achieve those goals such as removing the fish ladder, widening and deepening the creek, adding flood barriers near the creek banks, raising or flood-proofing structures, and improving flood warning systems.

About $3 million, including $1 million from federal sources to date, has been secured for the initial design phase of the project, which is being led by the Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the Army Corps.

“We are working to serve as a bridge between the highly-engaged community and the federal agencies,” said Hugh Davis, project manager for the Flood Control District. “We’re thankful to those who are taking the time to provide us input at this stage and encouraged by those wanting us to expedite our work to get the job done.”

The environmental review process, begun in 2008, identified potential solutions for chronic flooding in the area and included conceptual designs. A more recent rollout of the project took place in December 2015 and was followed by a public scoping meeting and a public commenting period. Construction is expected to take 1-2 years but won’t begin for several years – not until a preferred alternative is vetted with the community, final designs are circulated and approved, and additional federal funding is secured.

A $14 million preliminary cost estimate was included in the 2011 Capital Improvement Plan Study for Flood Damage Reduction and Creek Management for Flood Control Zone 9/Ross Valley, and further development of project details and feasibility will provide updated estimated costs. Present and future funding sources may include the Ross Valley Flood Control Zone 9 Storm Drainage Fee, the Army Corps, and the California Department of Water Resources.

Those interested in an informal creek walk hosted by Flood Control District staff can find more information on

Huffman, from San Rafael, is hosting the community meeting at the Ross School gymnasium, 9 Lagunitas Road, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The meeting will provide an opportunity for public input and supplemental review of the scope of work for the proposed project in Corte Madera Creek, commonly referred to as Unit 4, Unit 3, and Unit 2. Those interested in attending should register in advance online.

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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