County of Marin - News Releases - San Geronimo Valley Development

For Immediate Release
May 01, 2017

Environmental Report Finds No Major Harm to Fish

Analysis released about development’s effects on coho salmon and steelhead

San Rafael, CA – Endangered coho salmon and steelhead in the creeks of San Geronimo Valley are not likely to experience life-threatening effects from anything included in the 2007 Marin Countywide Plan, according to a new study on the matter.

A closeup of a stream in the Ross Valley, with rocks and vegetationCoho salmon and steelhead that live in San Geronimo Valley creeks will not suffer from significant or reversible impacts if the 2007 Countywide Plan is implemented, scientists said.
The County of Marin has completed and released a draft supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) analyzing impacts from future potential buildout in the San Geronimo watershed, and has found that there would be no significant and unavoidable adverse cumulative impacts on the family of fish known as salmonids as a result of homes and other development under the 2007 Marin Countywide Plan.

The analysis in the supplemental EIR, contributed by Stillwater Sciences, found that effects of the 2007 Countywide Plan on threatened and endangered salmonids can be mitigated to a less-than-significant level. Several mitigation measures, which are required to avoid, minimize, or compensate for potentially significant impacts, are included in the supplemental EIR and would help improve conditions for salmonids in the watershed.

The Marin-based nonprofit Salmon Protection Watershed Network (SPAWN), which for a decade has challenged the County in court over salmon protections, contended that home and land development per­mitted by the County in the San Geronimo Valley threatened coho salmon and steelhead.

A 2014 decision by the state First District Court of Appeals required the County to set aside its approval of the 2007 Countywide Plan and certification of the final EIR with respect to salmonid impacts in the San Geronimo watershed in order to complete an analysis of potential cumulative impacts on the salmonids. The supplemental EIR, released May 1, contains a robust analysis of existing conditions, potential impacts on coho salmon and steelhead in the watershed, and the required mitigation measures.

With the analysis complete and no major impacts on the fish predicted, the Marin County Board of Supervisors is cleared to consider certification of the final EIR and close the books on approval of the 2007 Countywide Plan.

“We’re pleased that the cumulative impact analysis did not conclude that there will be significant, unavoidable, and unmitigable impacts on salmonids as a result of the 2007 Countywide Plan,” said Tom Lai, Assistant Director of the Marin County Community Development Agency.

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. When the Supervisors certified the final EIR for the 2007 Countywide Plan update 10 years ago, SPAWN began its court challenge to its adequacy regarding protections 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.

Contact:

Tarisha Bal
County Counsel II
Office of the County Counsel

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6117
Email: Tarisha Bal
www.marincounty.org/cl