County of Marin - News Releases - Ross Valley Flood Control Fee

For Immediate Release
July 15, 2016

Ross Valley’s Flood Fee Put to Good Use

Public hearing set for July 19 with a proposed 3 percent annual increase

San Rafael, CA – One of the most challenging issues facing the Ross Valley has been addressing the type of severe flooding that occurred in 1956, 1982, and 2005, each of which left widely-felt impacts throughout the valley. Despite the last flood being 11 years ago and the recent drought dimming urgency and public interest, solving the problem remains a priority for the Ross Valley Flood Protection and Watershed Program.

A water depth gauge is shown at a spot on Corte Madera Creek in Ross.A proposed 3 percent fee increase would translate to $3 to $6 more for property owners.
Among the challenges of addressing flooding are reaching consensus on community preferred improvement measures and securing the necessary funding for their implementation. Accepting these challenges, the Marin Flood Control and Water Resource Conservation District, which is overseen by the County’s Department of Public Works staff, is working with community, town, regional, state and federal contacts to maintain progress and involve the community every step of the way.

The program was established in response to the devastating flood of December 31, 2005. Beginning in 2007, residents have supported the program through a voter-approved ballot measure and fee levy which, upon expiration in 2027, will have raised more than $40 million over a 20-year period. These local dollars help to leverage additional outside grant funding necessary to fund projects.

To date nearly half the fee has been collected, close to $29 million in grants have been awarded, and nearly $14 million spent moving the program and projects forward and continuing annual creek maintenance activities. A range of near-term solutions as part of a 10-year work plan is estimated to cost $112 million and will be necessary to address flooding, including detention basins to retain flood water during major storm events, bridge replacements and in-creek improvements to increase the creek’s floodwater capacity, and barriers to help contain breakout flows.

A community-based participatory process is being used to help develop projects including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Corte Madera Creek Project (Units 2, 3, 4), Phoenix Lake Integrated Regional Water Management Retrofit Project, bridge replacement and creek improvement projects in Fairfax, San Anselmo, Ross, and the Sunnyside Nursery Detention Basin Project.

To keep pace with the costs of planning, labor, and construction, staff is recommending approval of a 3 percent fee increase for Ross Valley property owners, as allowed by the voter-approved fee language.  Relative to last year, and depending on property size, the proposed 3 percent fee increase would equate to approximately $3 to $6 in additional annual costs for owners of single-family properties. The requested fee increase would provide an estimated $85,000 in additional annual fee revenue, bringing the annual fee total to more than $2.3 million and will help the program keep pace with increased costs of doing business.

A public hearing is scheduled for July 19 before the flood control district board, which is comprised of members of the Marin County Board of Supervisors. The hearing will be no earlier than 10:45 a.m. in the Board chamber, Suite 330, Marin County Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. Interested residents may attend the meeting, watch the hearing live on Comcast channel 27 or view online via the County’s webcast. The meeting will be viewable in the County’s online archive the next day.

Ross Valley residents live in Flood Control Zone 9, which encompasses the watershed drained by Corte Madera Creek and its tributaries, and includes the towns of Fairfax, San Anselmo, Ross and Larkspur as well as the unincorporated communities of Kentfield, Greenbrae, Oak Manor and Sleepy Hollow.

The fee amount for each Zone 9 parcel is related to the parcel size and how much stormwater runoff it generates. A copy of the draft report containing the proposed owners’ listing and fee amounts is available for review at the Department of Public Works, Civic Center Room 304, and online at

All public meetings and events sponsored or conducted by the County of Marin are held at accessible sites. If you are a person with a disability and require information or materials in alternative formats – or if you require accommodation to participate in a county program, service or activity – please contact department staff at (415) 473-7331 or (415) 473-4381 (voice/TTY) or e-mail


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