County of Marin - News Releases - Environmental Review

For Immediate Release
August 09, 2018

County’s Key Planning Document to be Updated

Environmental review is for stream conservation efforts in San Geronimo Valley

San Rafael, CA – After more than a year of review by staff, scientists and residents, a new environmental review further analyzing the County of Marin’s stream conservation efforts is inching closer to approval, covering the impacts on certain types of fish living in the San Geronimo Valley watershed.

A closeup of a stream in the Ross Valley, with rocks and vegetationThe Final Supplemental EIR analyzes the effects on fish habitats in the San Geronimo Valley.
The Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA) has released a final version of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) to the 2007 Marin Countywide Plan, posting it on the CDA webpage. The report describes environmental impacts on fish in the San Geronimo area arising from potential development pursuant to the 2007 Countywide plan. Prepared by consulting firm Stillwater Sciences, the SEIR is 870 pages. The 21-day public review period closes August 24.

A draft version of the SEIR was circulated in May 2017 that included a robust analysis of existing conditions, potential impacts on coho salmon and steelhead (collectively known as salmonids along with other species) and required mitigation measures. During the 45-day comment period, the County received written and verbal comments from San Geronimo Valley residents and other stakeholders on the adequacy of the draft SEIR, and that feedback was considered in the final SEIR.

Written in conjunction with County staff, the final SEIR finds that proposed conditions of the 2007 Countywide Plan update would not result in any unavoidable significant impacts to the fish. All environmental impacts were either identified to be less than significant or able to be rendered less than significant through mitigation measures, including a stream conservation area ordinance.

The matter will go before the Marin County Planning Commission on September 24 and, if recommended for certification there, would go before the Marin County Board of Supervisors for final approval at a subsequent meeting.

The additional environmental analysis of the 2007 Countywide Plan comes as the result of a lawsuit. When the County updated its 1994 Countywide Plan in 2007, the analysis of cumulative impacts to stream resources and fish habitat did not clear environmental review. The Marin-based nonprofit Salmon Protection Watershed Network (SPAWN), which for a decade challenged the County in court over salmon protections, contended that salmonids were threatened by County-permitted home and land development in the San Geronimo Valley. The valley is a subwatershed of the larger Lagunitas Creek watershed that drains to Tomales Bay and eventually to the Pacific Ocean. In 2014, the First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco required the County to set aside its approval of that provision with respect to the San Geronimo watershed.

First created in 1973, the Countywide Plan is a guiding roadmap for future land use and development and serves to avoid or minimize adverse impacts on biological and wetland resources in the county. The 2007 Countywide Plan and accompanying EIR were certified and is in effect except for the provision about the San Geronimo Valley watershed.

Comments about the SEIR may be emailed to or mailed to Rachel Reid, Environmental Planning Manager, Marin County Community Development Agency, 3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 308, San Rafael, CA 94903.

Anyone may subscribe to receive emailed updates about the project whenever there is news to report.


Brian Washington
County Counsel
Office of the County Counsel

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6117
Email: Brian Washington