San Rafael, CA – Three creeks in Novato are being cleared of sediment this summer to reduce flooding during the rainy season by improving creek capacity. The $1.55 million flood mitigation project, overseen by Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, starts in early July and is expected to continue through the end of October.
The 2016 sediment removal project for Flood Control Zone 1 was the last time a project of this scope was performed on Novato Creek, shown here on a stretch of the creek near the Warner Creek confluence.
Sediment, which naturally accumulates in creek beds over time, will be removed from the eastern section of Flood Control Zone 1
, which encompasses the greater Novato area. The targeted parts for this summer’s project include the lower reaches of Novato, Warner, and Arroyo Avichi creeks from Diablo Avenue near downtown Novato to downstream of the railroad tracks off Rowland Way, just behind the Century Rowland Plaza movie theater. Approximately 1.5 miles of creeks will have sediment removed.
Workers will use trucks and heavy equipment to do the work in and near the creeks weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. In temporary spurts, the work may be noisy for residents in neighborhoods adjacent to the worksites.
Sediment removed from the creeks will be beneficially reused as part of the District’s long-term plan to widen the creek floodplain and restore tidal wetlands in the Deer Island Basin and Novato Baylands to help habitat adaptation to sea level rise. A portion of the removed sediment will be placed on the ecotone levee located within Deer Island Basin, south of the City of Novato’s corporation yard. Ecotone levees have flatter slopes than normal levees, which provides habitat for a range of species under current and anticipated sea level rise conditions.
The levee is being built using reusable sediment for a gradual construction process since 2016. This year, additional sediment removed from the creeks will also be placed within the Heron’s Beak Pond, behind the Vintage Oaks shopping center, to create tidal marsh. The new floodplain will help existing levees with future sea level rise.
Funding for this project comes from Zone 1’s maintenance budget. For more information about the Flood Zone 1 sediment removal project, please visit the Novato Flood Protection and Watershed Program webpage.