Current Issues

Board of Supervisors

There are many important issues of interest to District 2.  Select any of the topics below for more information, updates and opportunities for involvement.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact Katie at (415) 473-7331 or by email.


Land Use and Planning

Marin is a wonderful place, with a rich history and long tradition of community activism, conservation and thoughtful prospective planning. That tradition was defined in decades past by the defeat of proposals for freeway extensions and major development in West Marin, and with the adoption of Marin’s first Countywide Plan in 1973, codifying in land-use planning our conservationist goals and establishing the blueprint for how Marin County would grow going forward. That blue-print prioritized the protection of open space, preventing sprawl, and restricting growth to within established cities and towns and along the 101 city-centered corridor.

Debates around residential and commercial housing growth continue, and District 2 residents remain involved in discussions around planning for the future. Community involvement is essential: citizens involved and participating in solving problems, and in visioning what our County, our communities, will look like going forward into the future.

See below for more information about my thoughts on preserving affordable housing in Marin, how to get information on projects and more.

New Strategies on the Affordable Housing Front

Last fall, at my direction, the Board of Supervisors took up the topic of housing in a series of public workshops. We discussed Marin’s housing crisis, its impact on current residents, communities, and what if anything we can and want to do through program, policy or regulation to address it. We entered the conversation with a recognition that the status quo is not working, that we are losing both affordable and moderately priced housing options and that the trend has very real negative consequences for overall community character and resiliency.

We shifted our focus away from the conventional solution of new development, to focusing on preserving existing at-risk affordable housing. We also looked at how to expand housing options in ways that utilize the existing built environment compatible with community character and appetite.  The new menu of strategies coming from those workshops include: acquisition and preservation of existing housing stock, amendment of existing code and regulation towards encouraging the development of affordable second units and junior second units, landlord incentives aimed at expanding participation in housing programs, and voluntary landlord guidelines geared towards preventing unjust eviction and tenant displacement.

The community conversations we had at the board workshops were a positive demonstration of the kind of inclusive, productive debate that can be had as we tackle the important challenges of the day.

Marin Countywide Plan

The current Marin Countywide Plan was adopted in 2007. The updated plan continues to promote leading edge strategies started in 1974, when Marin County set in place policies that prevented runaway development and protected open space. By focusing on sustainability, this update to the Marin Countywide Plan also serves as a model for other communities to address the impending climate change crisis - including assessing greenhouse-gas emissions, setting targets to reduce emissions, and programs to plan for and adapt to projected sea level rise. To keep informed, subscribe for updates to the countywide plan webpage.

Current Projects

The best way to stay abreast of current planning applications is to subscribe to a planning area on the County’s website. You may subscribe to receive email notifications regarding a particular project, or to receive email notifications whenever a new application is submitted in a particular area.

Kentfield Greenbrae Community Plan

Some unincorporated areas of the County have chosen to adopt a plan specific to their community. If you live in the Kentfield/Greenbrae community, the Kentfield Greenbrae Community Plan, adopted in 1987, serves as a blueprint for growth consistent with community character.

Kentfield Planning Advisory Board

The Kentfield Planning Advisory Board (KPAB) is a 7 member board (appointed by the Marin County Board of Supervisors) to review referrals of all planning projects for the Planning Department including master plans, subdivisions, design reviews, rezoning applications, general plan amendments, and environmental review documents. It also reviews major public works projects that significantly impact the community, ensuring that the voice of Kentfield residents is well represented in decision making processes.

Page last updated: May 2, 2018

Fire Prevention

As Supervisor representing the Ross Valley, one of the most flood and fire vulnerable areas of the county, I am all too aware of our ever-present wildfire risk, and how easily the North Bay fires could have included our own communities. Hence the emphasis I have placed on programs and projects aimed at reducing risk, protecting our communities, collaboration between fire agencies, public land managers, and areas most at risk. There is lots of good work and progress being made on all fronts.

The Fire Districts serving Ross Valley communities – from Larkspur and Kentfield, to Ross Valley Fire, Sleepy Hollow Fire District and Marin County Fire—each serve us amazingly well and do so in a coordinated/mutual aid fashion across district lines. In addition to fire response, these agencies bring programs essential to preventing fire and supporting resident emergency preparedness in the form of defensible space inspections, fuel break/fire fuel reduction projects, and sponsoring CERT and Ready Marin programs. Marin County Open Space and Marin Municipal Water District, the agencies that manage the majority of public open space adjacent to our communities, have prioritized fire fuel reduction work, access and egress.

In addition, collaboration, strategic planning and information-sharing across agencies and communities is supported by FIRESafe MARIN, a coalition of fire agencies, public land managers, utilities, and organized neighborhoods and HOA's that was born out of the 1991 Oakland Hills fires. Today, FIRESafe MARIN is as strong as ever, bringing in grants totaling $1,267,773 over the past four years that help expand fuel reduction and wildfire prevention efforts, improve our fire detection capability, and support/enhance fire prevention, protection, and education in communities across the county. 

In the weeks and months ahead, you will be hearing from the various fire and emergency response agencies serving our community about what they are doing, and what our communities need to do to improve on prevention, planning and disaster response specifically for fire events. A countywide campaign geared to informing residents of evacuation preparations, procedures, and communications will be rolling out in the coming months in addition to the local information coming from various agencies. The goal: timely information, through appropriate communication mediums/channels, applied with consistency across agencies and the county.

We are all coming to terms with our "new normal" and taking steps regarding the same: from doing what we need to do as residents per defensible space and being prepared should fire happen; to local fire and police enhancing evacuation planning and preparedness; to rethinking/retooling communications protocol during and related to fire events.

For more information about upcoming events, disaster preparedness, fire prevention and investigation, vegetation management, defensible space and more, I encourage you read below and visit the Marin County Fire Department and FIRESafe Marin websites.

Emergency Preparedness Information

What to expect from official emergency services in an actual fire event if action is required:

  • Nearby residents will hear and observe responders telling them to leave, or to stay inside, or take other emergency action. If responders on the scene are not doing that, there is no call for residents to take emergency action.
  • Alert Marin will be activated when there is a need to act. It is not activated unless action is required, and then only as soon as possible after an assessment of risk is made, which can take more than 5 or 10 minutes. Alert Marin can be targeted to the affected areas. (Have you registered all your phone with Alert Marin? Go to
  • Police and safety personnel on scene will regulate traffic to allow for safe passage of responders to scene, and to direct evacuating traffic if there has been a call for evacuation; if there has been no evacuation ordered, remain at home and/or away from incident area.

What we can do in the emergency:

  • Keep calm. Observe what responders are doing and listen for directions.
  • Assess the situation: High winds are a risk, especially when conditions are very dry and if the fire is generating high rising embers.
  • Check for messages from Alert Marin, targeted instructions to act. Look for fire or safety informational messages on Twitter, NextDoor, or Nixle.
  • Use your own judgement to take action if you do feel threatened after steps 1, 2, 3.

A reminder of what each communication channel can do and how to register:

  • Alert Marin: Everyone should register for their VOIP phone and cell phones for voice, email, and text alerts when action is advised or required. Go to
  • Nixle is an official communications system used by individual public safety agencies that can send both email and text messages targeted by zip code. Nixle is generally used to communicate non-emergency information (e.g., traffic alerts related to accidents, construction detours). Go to
  • Fire and Law Enforcement agencies use Twitter and NextDoor for non-emergency announcements, information, and updates.

Vegetation Management Planning

Ensuring adequate defensible space zones are maintained around your home is of the utmost importance for fire prevention for you and your neighbors. It’s the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it.  This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from catching fire – either from direct flame contact or radiant heat. Defensible space is also important for the protection of the firefighters defending your home. You can learn about the two zones that make up the required 100 feet of defensible space here and access a list of resources that provide information on keeping your property and family safe from fire.

Wildfire Evacuation Planning

Key to planning for a wildfire is planning for an evacuation if the unfortunate need arises. FIRESafe MARIN provides  information on how to prepare an evacuation check list, the laws concerning evacuation, and the process should you need to be evacuated, or what to do if you become trapped on foot or in your home.

Chipper Days

I encourage everyone to take advantage of FIRESafe’s "Chipper Awards" that provide funding to assist communities, homeowner's associations, fire departments, and individual landowners with vegetation fuel reduction to reduce wildfire hazards in Marin.  FIRESafe typically offers $1500 - $3000 grants to fund "Chipper Days" in Marin neighborhoods where a chipper and crew are available to residents to dispose of cut vegetation.  $1500 typically covers the cost of one day of chipper and truck rental, and a full crew to operate.

Page last updated: July 18, 2018


Here in Marin, like elsewhere in the Bay Area and beyond, homelessness remains a complex and challenging issue. The increasing cost of housing, increases in drug use/abuse and addiction,  and the chronic underfunding and lack of resources for mental health services have made the situation even worse. As chair of the Homeless Policy Steering Committee, I have pushed for a more intensive effort on the part of the County towards addressing homelessness. Over the course of the past several years the County, in partnership with the City of San Rafael, service providers, the faith community and others, have intensified our collective effort to address homelessness in Marin. And though there is much more work to do, and many more people desperately in need of help or support, we are making progress.

  • The County currently provides housing and support services to approximately 450 mental health and/or substance use clients; and another 191 adults are in full service partnership programs.
  • Three mobile crisis teams launched last year are now out on the streets working in coordination with local law enforcement and service providers to outreach to homeless with mental health needs. 
  • The Chronic Alcoholics with Justice Involvement (CAJI) project—a three year pilot was launched in spring of 2016 with capacity for 8-10 chronic alcoholics with a history of rotating in and out of jail each year.
  • In February 2016, the County teaming with the City of San Rafael, the San Rafael Police Department, and community partners launched a cross-disciplinary effort to bring highest-needs, high-visibility persons off the streets of downtown San Rafael and into services and housing.

Below is more detailed information on efforts underway aimed at addressing homelessness.

HOT Team

The HOT Team is an exciting new effort targeting the chronically homeless and connecting them up with services and housing. This subset of the homeless population are the folks we see on the street suffering from severe mental illness and/or other significant challenges.  They also generally have a history of cycling between law enforcement, psych emergency, medical and/or other services. The program employs a wrap-around, multi-disciplinary approach to each individual, focusing outreach, case-management and housing on a case by case basis. The HOT program is modeled after a similar highly successful program operating in San Mateo County.

Downtown Streets Team

At my urging, the County has partnered with the City government to support the Downtown Streets Team. This organization provides assistance to homeless and at-risk individuals who are ready to integrate back into society. In exchange for offering high-value volunteer hours, Team members receive non-cash stipends to meet their basic needs. Today, homeless individuals contribute over 400 volunteer hours cleaning up downtown San Rafael, as well as setting-up and cleaning-up the weekly downtown farmer’s market. In addition, Team Members discourage loitering, panhandling and disorderly conduct among prospective “team members,” earning the respect and support from city officials and local business owners.

Since its founding, the Team has grown to the point where a full third of the San Rafael homeless population has attended at least one of the Team’s Weekly Success Team Meetings. The goal is simple – to transition Team Members into employment through regular “Applyathons” where organization staff and community volunteers offer Team Members assistance in applying to available employment opportunities. I look forward to continuing to support their positive service approach to alleviating homeless and fulfilling much-needed services to our downtown San Rafael business district.

Helen Vine Recovery Center Relocation

Since the Helen Vine Recovery Center lost its lease at Honor Farm at Silveira Ranch, I have supported the effort to find a new permanent location to ensure that the Center’s critical services continue to serve our community. The Center is part of the Buckelew Programs, and operates a 26-bed residential detox program to assist individuals with alcohol and drug addiction issues as well as psychiatric problems in their recovery process. The Center specializes in offering a supportive, accepting approach that provides individual counseling, medical services, and mentors to ensure a successful recovery and prevent a relapse. For individuals on our street suffering from substance abuse problems, Helen Vine offers a way forward, and our community must be steadfast in supporting this critical societal service. 

Mental Health Services

The Health and Human Services Department uses the federal government’s approach to coordinating funding for homeless services and housing. Its four goals for a coordinated approach to address the issue are to:

  • Promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness
  • Provide and coordinate funding for efforts to assist homeless individuals and families
  • Promote access to and effective use of mainstream programs
  • Optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness

The Mental Health and Substance Use Services (MHSUS) is tasked with providing our community with prevention and early intervention services, along with suicide prevention and crisis services. While this Division of the Marin Health and Human Services Department serves our entire community, it is of special importance to those on the front lines working to end homelessness and it's real impacts on our neighborhoods, parks and businesses.

Crisis Services' Access Team offers a 24/7 phone line to assess the needs of clients and provide referrals and authorization for treatment. Of significant relevance to the homeless debate, all substance abuse services are available on a sliding fee scale, based on ability to pay. This ensures that the entirety of our community – including homeless individuals – can be served. The CARE Team engages with homeless individuals suffering from mental illness. By conducting their outreach street-to-street, the team is able to provide individualized attention to the mentally ill homeless population. Furthermore, the CARE Team acts as a frequent referral vehicle for seriously mentally ill homeless adults to the Odyssey Program. This program is a Full Service Partnership that offers a continuum of services for up to 80 individuals that find themselves without a home due to their mental illness.

Key Contacts for Assistance

Marin County Mobile Crisis Team, open 7 days 1pm-9pm:  415-473-6392

Psych Emergency Services: 415-473-6666

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

Mental Health Access and Assessment:  888-818-1115

Substance Use Access and Assessment:  415-755-2345

Public Assistance: 415-473-3400

Page last updated: July 2016

Roads, Traffic and Transportation Issues

As we all know and experience nearly daily, traffic volumes are at an all-time high and the ensuing congestion a major frustration for everyone dependent on our local roads to get around. The increase in traffic is impacting our overall quality of life, the environment and challenging our mobility as a community. Traffic volume has grown significantly over the last several years with a robust bay area economy and ensuing job growth (both within Marin and regionally) being the primary drivers. Add to that a booming school age population, meaning more car trips to and from school as well as after-school activities.

And, yes, those of us without children at home are driving more too. The average Marin County household generates 10-12 trips per day now, versus six trips per day when I was growing up. In fact, that six trips per day per household number was used by traffic engineers and city planners to calculate roadway capacity needs going forward when many of our major roadways were expanded in the 60's and 70's.

Addressing today's traffic congestion will take a multi-prong approach including: maximizing the efficiency of existing roadways, reducing the number of cars on the road, and improvements in public transportation, including school bus programs, and programs encouraging biking, walking, carpooling  and alternative commute modes.

The good news – there are currently several public agency efforts underway at addressing traffic woes. 

See below for more information about these efforts:

Sir Francis Drake Improvement Project

The Sir Francis Drake Boulevard (SFDB) Rehabilitation Project consists of several physical modifications to the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard corridor between Highway 101 and Ross and repaving the entire roadway in the unincorporated area of Marin County and the City of Larkspur. The funding source for the project, Measure A (Marin County Transportation) Road Rehabilitation funds, are dedicated to repaving the entire roadway segment and constructing associated, mandated improvements such as ADA improvements. A detailed planning process facilitated the consideration of additional improvements in the corridor. Opportunities analysis by Department of Public Works and the consultant team, along with extensive public outreach, resulted in identification of several potential corridor improvements to address the community’s concerns regarding traffic congestion, safety and the movement of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists along and across the congested corridor.

The additional improvements include modification to the configuration and geometry of several intersections, replacement of traffic signal controls with modern equipment, widening sidewalks and improving roadway crossings for pedestrians, and installation of additional conduits to enable future adaptive signal technology and other fiber optic communications. A separately-funded pipeline replacement project by Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) has also been incorporated into the project as construction of the two projects together is more cost-efficient, less disruptive, and less environmentally impactful than being constructed separately.

The Board of Supervisors certified the project’s Environmental Impact Report and approved a final project for design and construction on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.  For information on the EIR and project elements, read the staff report and click here for a summary of project from presentation. The project will now move into design phase, with construction planned for Spring/Summer of 2019 and 2020. Visit the project website for further information and to sign up for updates.

Richmond-San Rafael Third Lane Project

The eastbound third land on the Richmond- San Rafael bridge is now open! The added lane will be available from 2 to 7 p.m. every day of the week, allowing Caltrans to retain a shoulder for maintenance work during other times of the day. Twenty overhead signs on the span will show a green arrow or red “X” to indicate whether the lane is open and a yellow “X” and arrow during the transition. Cameras to watch traffic on the span also have been added. Drivers should not be in the lane during off hours and face citations from the California Highway Patrol if there’s a violation.  Traffic congestion is reported to have lessened since the lane opened on April 20, 2018.

Visit the project page on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission website for more information.

East Sir Francis Drake Improvement Project (Larkspur/San Quentin)

Dovetailing/complementing the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge third lane project are improvements to East Sir Francis Drake in Larkspur. This project is designed to ease congestion on East Sir Francis Drake in the Larkspur landing area and improvement access to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Key elements: a 1000 foot extension of the second lane Eastbound on East SFD heading towards San Quentin; lane restriping and traffic signal improvements at Larkspur Landing Circle West/SFD and Larkspur Landing Circle East/SFD. This project is scheduled for completion Spring 2018.

Visit the project page on Transportation Authority of Marin's website for more information.

SB 1 & ACA 5 – Transportation Funding, Reform and Protection Plan

In early April, the State Senate and Assembly passed SB 1 (Beall), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The $5.2 billion that will now be generated annually for California’s state and local transportation system will ensure that Californians have safe and reliable streets, roads and bridges and a solid transportation network. Both houses also passed ACA 5, which upon voter approval will ensure that revenues generated by SB 1 are spent only on their intended purpose. This recent action provides significant public benefit for transportation in every county across California, Marin included.

Statewide, cities and counties will evenly share an average of $1.5 billion/year in new local road funding from SB 1. The funds are non-competitive and will come to the County in monthly disbursements from the State Controller once the gas tax increase takes effect in November 2017. There is no sunset, and funding will grow with inflation. Marin’s average annual share of new funding from SB 1 is $5,300,000 over the next decade.

Counties will also be able to access grant funding from active transportation, congested corridors, and goods movement programs funded by the bill, which also includes significant ongoing funding for transit services and state highway maintenance.

The revenues will be phased-in over a multi-year period:

  • Gas and diesel excise taxes and diesel sales tax begins in November 2017
  • Transportation improvement fee begins in Spring 2018
  • The price-based excise tax will be reset to 17.3 cents in July 2019
  • New Zero Emissions Vehicles will begin to pay an additional registration fee for road maintenance in 2020 ACA 5, which will go to the voters in 2018, ensures that all of these revenues sources are constitutionally-protected and cannot be diverted to non-transportation purposes.

Reducing School Related Traffic Congestion

School related traffic comprises anywhere from 20-40% of a.m. traffic within various communities throughout Marin. It is an obvious target for efforts geared towards reducing local surface street traffic - hence Safe Routes to Schools, Transportation Authority of Marin's crossing guards program and other efforts addressing school related traffic. These programs have been successful, significantly increasing the numbers of students carpooling, biking, walking and riding transit to school, but as school populations have increased, so too traffic, and thus efforts to do more. Here's the latest on two projects I have advocated for and are now being implemented by Marin Transit and partners

  • Express Bus Service between San Rafael Transit Center to College of Marin. This route (route 122) has more frequent service during student commute hours and also eliminates several stops along the way, shaving about 10 minutes off run time. The express bus came on line in 2015, the same time as newly instituted student bus passes were made available to all COM students. Marin Transit and the College continue to work together to make transit an attractive option for students and reducing traffic in SFD corridor.

    Additionally, Marin Transit is looking at what other local bus routes might be converted to express bus and /or have express bus service added to them towards increasing transit ridership.

  • Yellow School Bus Pilot. Marin Transit, in partnership with Ross Valley School District and families, Towns of San Anselmo and Fairfax, is piloting a Yellow School Bus program for a second year for students attending White Hill Middle School in Fairfax. Approximately 500 of White Hill's 800 students are taking the bus to and/or from school, literally removing close to 2000 car trips a day off crowded Sir Francis Drake. Current ridership represents an increase over the number of kids who used transit service to White Hill in past years, formerly provided by Golden Gate Transit. Marin Transit and County are also working with Kentfield School District in hopes to launch a yellow bus pilot for that community as well in the near future.

Looking forward, Marin Transit is closely monitoring the yellow bus pilot as part of the recently completed countywide student transportation study by Marin Transit in coordination with the Transportation Authority of Marin, the Marin County Office of Education, and the Safe Routes to School program. The study is aimed at increasing "best fit/green trip" transportation solutions for public schools throughout the county. Yellow Bus Service being one tool of many that will play a role in reducing school-related traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and getting kids to school safely, happily, and on time.

In the News

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Third Lane Set to Open (Marin IJ, April 2018)

Roads/Traffic Project updates in Ross Valley - Winter 2017 (Supervisor Rice, December 2017)

Marin transportation officials pounce for gas tax matching funds (Marin IJ, December 2017)

Busy Kentfield Road Set for Repaving and Upgrades for Safety Access (Marin IJ, June 2017)


County of Marin Roads – learn about road closures, projects and maintenance; get contact information for questions and complaints, subscribe for updates

Transportation Authority of Marin - information about meetings, events and projects

Marin Transit – information on bus schedules, services, maps

Metropolitan Transportation Commission - information about projects, meetings, opportunities for involvement

Page last updated: May 2, 2018

Ross Valley Flood Protection and Watershed Program

The Ross Valley Flood Protection and Watershed Program was initiated by the County of Marin partnering with the towns and cities in Ross Valley after the 2005 New Year’s Eve flood. The program was developed to identify comprehensive watershed solutions through implementation of a region-wide flood management program that promotes healthy watershed processes and integrates environmental stewardship and restoration with flood reduction, storm drainage and community preparedness. 

In 2007, Ross Valley parcel owners approved a parcel fee on all parcels that drain into the Ross Valley watershed to help fund annual costs for a flood protection program and to leverage additional outside grant funding necessary to fully fund projects.  Since 2012, over $31M in grant funds have been secured for the Program’s flood control projects.

Studies completed to date demonstrate that multiple strategies need to be employed to reduce flood risk, from increasing capacity and removing constrictions in the creek, to finding sites for holding back/detaining floodwaters during heavier storms. The true litmus test for any project is that it will effectively address our chronic flooding problem while also providing added benefits consistent with the desires of our community. Successful implementation of the program will depend on the continued involvement, cooperation and commitment of local jurisdictions, agencies, community leaders and residents from throughout the Ross Valley.

See below for more detailed information on the overall program and current projects.

Program History

Since the flood fee’s passage, the Flood Control District has utilized these funds to conduct several studies addressing flood reduction in Ross Valley including the Capital Improvement Plan Study for Flood Damage Reduction and Creek Management for Flood Zone 9/Ross Valley (CIP) (Stetson, 2011) and the Ross Valley Flow Reduction Study Report (Flow Reduction Study) (CH2M, 2015). The CIP described plans and technical rationale for a suite of on-the-ground flood reduction measures, spread watershed-wide, that work together as a system to reduce flooding and seek to restore the ecological health and function of Corte Madera Creek and its tributaries. The Flow Reduction Study re-examined the flood control measures proposed in the CIP and added other new measures either not previously considered, or if considered, were ruled out based on prior screening criteria. One of the key goals of the Flow Reduction Study was to reexamine the proposed detention basin sites, as well as consider additional detention basin sites, to ensure every option was assessed before moving forward with complex flood reduction measures. The Study reaffirmed the need for detention basins to be implemented alongside creek improvement measures to achieve Program objectives.

The CIP and Flow Reduction Study utilized a computer-based floodwater model of the Ross Valley Watershed to examine numerous approaches to flood risk management. Collectively, the various recommended flood reduction measures would function collectively to contain the 100-year flood event along Corte Madera Creek and its contributing tributaries in Ross Valley.  The results of these studies form the foundation of the Program.  The Flood Control District is currently upgrading and expanding the hydrologic and hydraulic model to include additional portions of the watershed, incorporate climate change projections and model potential flood reduction measure options.  

Flood risk reduction projects will be implemented in two phases.  Phase 1 (2017-2027, the period of the current flood fee) will target a goal of 25-year flood protection (4% chance of occurring in any one year), currently undergoing community participatory planning and scoping for the Program environmental review (began January 2017).  Phase 2 (2028- 2050, depending on securing funding sources such as grants or a renewal of the flood fee) will add additional measures to achieve a target goal of 100-year flood protection. 

Current Projects

In addition to taking a broad look at detention options in the upper watershed, there is encouraging progress being made with many of our projects, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Corte Madera Creek Project, bridge replacements, and a comprehensive assessment/recommendations for creek and levee improvements in lower Corte Madera Creek within Larkspur.

  • Former Nursery Site (“Sunnyside Growing Grounds”) Dual-Use Detention Basin Project
  • This new project was added to the Program as a result of the Flow Reduction Study and proposes to modify a former nursery growing grounds in western Fairfax into a seven-acre dual-use facility, functioning as a temporary flood overflow storage basin during severe flood events and community open space or other use yet to be determined.

    The County purchased the site in Summer 2016. Implementation of the project will depend on verification that the site is suitable for use as a flood detention basin and then an extensive environmental review and community design process. It is part of the larger San Anselmo Flood Risk Reduction project, which also includes removal of a channel-constricting building in downtown San Anselmo.

    For more information, visit the Sunnyside project page and the San Anselmo Flood Risk Reduction Page.

  • USACE Corte Madera Creek Flood Risk Management Project
  • The primary goal of the Corte Madera Creek Flood Risk Management Project is to reduce the frequency and severity of flooding and to protect human life and property in the communities of Ross and Kentfield by enhancing and improving Corte Madera Creek. The Project will include removal of the wooden fish ladder in Ross, widening the channel by removing portions of the concrete channel to create flood plains and riparian corridors, installing flood walls adjacent to the banks and stabilizing creek slopes. The Project benefits include flood reduction during large storms and ecosystem restoration.

    The Project is being phased in order to move priority flood reduction measures in Ross and Kentfield years ahead of the larger Project’s schedule by utilizing a $7.6 M grant from the Department of Water Resources (DWR). In June 2017, the Flood Zone 9 Advisory Board approved reallocating DWR grant funds from the Phoenix Lake Integrated Regional Water Management Project (determined to be infeasible as proposed due to grant restrictions) to create Phase 1 of the Corte Madera Flood Risk Management Project.

    It is expected that a Draft EIR/EIS will be released for public review and comment in Spring 2018.

    For more information, visit the project page.

  • Phase I - Corte Madera Creek Flood Risk Management Project
  • Phase 1 of the Corte Madera Creek Flood Risk Management Project would be constructed by 2020 and includes removing obstructions (such as the Ross fish ladder) and widening the channel (creating a flood plain and riparian corridor at Frederick Allen Park) to keep more water in Corte Madera Creek during large flood events. Phase 1 also includes making improvements to the earthen channel above the fish ladder and adding protective flood walls along the channel downstream in Kentfield at the Granton Park neighborhood. These measures are being prioritized as residents and business in these areas flood at even the smaller flood events, such as experienced in the winter 2016-17. This opportunity also leverages state funds to offset the required local funding share of design and construction of the project.

    For more information, visit the project page.

  • Bridge Replacement Projects (Fairfax, Ross, San Anselmo)
  • The Town of Fairfax Bridge Replacement Project at Azalea Avenue will replace and modify the existing bridge to create more creek capacity. Town of Ross Bridge Replacement Project proposes replacing and modifying the bridge at Winship Avenue. The Town of San Anselmo Bridge Replacement Projects include replacing and modifying the Nokomis Avenue and Madrone Avenue bridges, and removing the Sycamore Avenue bridge and replacing it with a bridge at Center Boulevard.

  • Lower Corte Madera Creek Levee Evaluation
  • The Flood Control District is soliciting proposals to furnish professional services for an evaluation of the Lower Corte Madera Creek and levee system. This study is partially funded by the California Department of Water Resources Local Levee Evaluation Program and will provide a comprehensive assessment of the current condition of the levee system and develop recommendations for creek and levee improvements. Services will include land and bathymetric surveying, geotechnical engineering, hydrologic and hydraulic analysis, civil design, and cost estimating.

    For more information, visit the project page.

In addition to projects above, an expanded creek cleaning program has been launched that targets removal of concrete debris to increase channel flow and improve creek habitat.  And, in 2016, feasibility and engineering studies for improvements in the Morningside/Lower Sleepy Hollow Creek area were initiated.  

The Program Environmental Impact Report was launched in 2017 and a draft is expected late spring 2018.

See Ross Valley Watershed Program for a listing of more projects and further updates and to subscribe for program updates.

In the News

Ross Valley flood protection plan wins council support (Marin IJ, December 2017)

Ross Valley Flood Control Options Sought (Marin IJ, June 2017)

Fairfax Petition to Ban Use of Ball Field for Floodwater Retention (Marin IJ, May 2017)

$400,000 Approved for Flood Measures (Marin IJ, March 2017)


Page last updated: May 2, 2018