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Corte Madera Creek Flood Risk Management Project Update, October 2019

Posted on October 31, 2019


Corte Madera Creek Flood Risk Mangement Project Architectual Rendering

As reported previously, the Corte Madera Creek Flood Risk Management Project scope and timeline has shifted away from one led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to a locally managed and funded effort overseen by the Marin County Flood Control & Water Conservation District (District), in partnership with the Town of Ross, the County of Marin, Friends of Corte Madera Creek and other local stakeholders. This change came about due to several constraints that were identified during the environmental review process for the original project. The Flood Zone 9 Advisory Board (AB) supported shifting the project at their March 19, 2019 meeting and supported the District moving forward with a set of planning objectives (Staff Report, page 2) to continue development of the locally managed project. The March AB staff report provides more background details about the change.

In pursuit of meeting the new planning objectives, the District has made the following progress since April 2019.

  1. The District commissioned the following surveys and technical studies to refine the scope of the project, assess feasibility and to update existing information that will support development of a project description for the Project Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Comments received through the previously released USACE EIS/EIR were used to identify key findings and concerns to better inform planning for the locally managed Project EIR. A new Project EIR is necessary due to the reduced scale and scope of the project as compared to the USACE-led project and Joint Draft Environmental Impact Study/EIR (EIS/EIR) that was released by USACE in October 2018.
    • Concrete Channel Condition Assessment – Completed
    • Property Boundary Survey – Completed
    •  Fish Passage Improvement Assessment – Planned for completion in Nov 2019
    •  Hydraulic and Geotechnical Analysis – Planned for completion in Nov 2019
    •  Environmental Resource Agency Consultation – Oct/Nov 2019
  2. District Staff are working with USACE to formally close the Feasibility Cost Share Agreement for the original project. The termination action and a draft letter to USACE will go to the District Board of Supervisors for approval in November 2019. Following formal termination of the agreement, to be set for December 31. 2019, District Staff
    will work with USACE to balance remaining financial reporting. At the March 19, 2019 AB meeting, Staff discussed potentially suspending the agreement. Following that meeting, the District was notified by USACE that an agreement termination (instead of suspension) was necessary due to their federal policies. The termination action does not affect the federal authorization of the project and it still remains within the jurisdiction of USACE and thus, eligible for future authorizations, emergency funding and programs.
  3. Coordination with USACE on required permits associated with our locally managed project will continue throughout the new project development process. Staff will also continue to seek other potential federal authorizations or programs for future funding consideration.
  4. A tentative schedule (subject to change) has been developed, as outlined below.
    *Public engagement and stakeholder coordination occurs throughout the process.

    • January 2020 – March 2020: Flood Zone 9 Board Meeting and Community Series: Present draft project concepts and receive input to formulate final project description.
    • February 2020 – March 2020: Coordination agreements executed with the Town of Ross and other agencies.
    • April 2020 – May 2021: Project Environmental Impact Report and project approval.
    • May 2021 – October 2021: Final project design and permitting.
    • Spring 2022 – Fall 2022: Project construction.
  5. The District continues to coordinate with Friends of Corte Madera Creek (FOCMC) on two grant opportunities (led by FOCMC). One concept proposes supporting channel restoration design for the downstream portion of the concrete channel (adjacent to College of Marin property) and the other would provide design for improved fish passage in a segment of the channel that is largely impassible for endangered species.

Next steps

District staff will continue to finalize the technical studies (outlined above) to develop a draft project description and concept expected in early January 2020. Information will be shared with the community via the Program Website (RossValleyWatershed.org) and through a series of community meetings that will be scheduled in early 2020 to share findings and receive feedback from the public and potentially impacted stakeholders. Following development of a final project description with the Town of Ross and stakeholders, the District will launch the Project EIR process, tentatively planned for April 2020. Formal public comments will be solicited throughout the Project EIR Process. A meeting with the Flood Zone 9 Advisory Board will be scheduled in January/February 2020 to share more information about the project development process, tentative schedule and draft concepts.

Visit the project page for more information, documents, and meeting details.

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