San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Board of Supervisors has taken the next step toward formally reallocating a $7.6 million California Department of Water Resources grant to the Corte Madera Creek Flood Risk Management Project. The amount represents more than half of the estimated $13.5 million cost of the project’s first phase.
A concrete water channel alongside Frederick Allen Park in Ross.
The allocation is part of a process that began in June 2017 with the Ross Valley Flood Control Zone 9 Advisory Board recommending the shift of the state funds from a potential Phoenix Lake project, which was deemed infeasible because of costs and other restrictions associated with the grant, to the planned project. A revised state grant agreement reflecting the change is expected to be presented at the Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors in May.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the lead agency for the overall project, which will be separated into two phases. Facilitated by the state funding, the Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, which is the acting local agency in partnership with the project’s federal agency, will continue to work with USACE on the state and federal environmental compliance.
The release of the draft project environmental document is anticipated in June 2018, followed by a 45-day public comment period. Two public meetings will be scheduled, one focused on a project update and open dialog with the community, and another during the public comment period to collect input on potential environmental effects. Information on the project status, schedule and how to provide comments will be shared on the Ross Valley Flood Protection & Watershed Program website. The final environmental document is scheduled to be released in December 2018.
Public input has been actively sought out and encouraged during the project’s feasibility and planning process. Since summer 2017, the Flood Control District has held more than 50 meetings with key stakeholders. In addition to the environmental document’s upcoming comment phase, the district will continue to work with residents, businesses, and the Town of Ross during the subsequent design refinement phase.
Construction is expected to begin in 2019 if various approvals are secured such as environmental regulatory permits and construction easements for property owned by the Town of Ross. Additionally, the Ross Town Council will be involved in the formal discussion between the district and the town for post-construction maintenance responsibilities of the proposed Frederick Allen Park aspect of Phase 1.
Phase 1, estimated to cost $13.5 million, plans to implement priority flood reduction measures in Ross and Kentfield years ahead of USACE’s larger Corte Madera Project schedule. The USACE’s process is longer due to the overall scope and its reliance on federally appropriated funding. The reallocated state funding, redirected from the Phoenix Lake Project, ensures that Phase 1 can be built regardless of the federal appropriations approval. Local matching funds from Ross Valley stormwater fees would cover the remaining cost of Phase 1.
Phase 1 would provide significant flood reduction benefits by removing the Corte Madera Creek fish ladder, a significant cause of flooding in the Town of Ross and downstream in Kentfield. The proposed Phase 1 also includes the removal of a large segment of the existing concrete channel at Frederick Allen Park to create a natural riparian corridor and floodplain that provides flood protection, ecosystems restoration and improved passage for endangered fish species. Further downstream, a flood wall would be installed along the concrete channel at the Granton Park neighborhood to alleviate chronic flooding.
The potential Phase 2 measures are currently being evaluated by the USACE and are planned for public release in the draft environmental documents. The state funding and local stormwater fees for Phase 1 could potentially be eligible to count toward the USACE-required local funding match for Phase 2, should federal appropriations be granted. This would substantially reduce the need for additional stormwater fees to construct Phase 2, tentatively scheduled for 2023.
In addition to the environmental documents for the Corte Madera Flood Risk Management Project, two more environmental reports are expected to be released in 2018. One for the San Anselmo Flood Risk Reduction Project and another for the Ross Valley Flood Risk Reduction Program.
Residents can learn more about the projects at upcoming community meetings on the flood control website. Additionally, the three draft EIR documents each will have an associated comment period. During those periods, the public is encouraged to provide comments which will be considered in the development of the final environmental documents.