Deer Island Basin Complex Tidal Wetlands Restoration Project


The District’s Deer Island Basin Complex is located in the lower Novato Creek watershed. It includes two stormwater ponds known as the "Bird Ponds" along the south side of Novato Creek as well as the Deer Island Basin on the north side of Novato Creek.

In this area, the District proposes to restore ecologically valuable tidal wetlands for endangered species and improve tidal connectivity to the diked areas that were historically tidal wetlands along Novato Creek.

Since 2021, the project team has actively consulted the San Francisco Bay Restoration Regulatory Integration Team. This included site tours with key regulators and multiple rounds of project design discussion and comment. Soliciting early input from regulators has been an asset to informing the project’s permitting approach.

Project Goals

  • Restore floodplain and tidal connectivity to diked historic tidal wetlands along Novato Creek, restoring tidal wetland habitats
  • Enhance ecological functions within baylands habitats along/adjacent to Novato Creek
  • Preserve and improve habitat conditions that support special status species known to occur, currently and/or historically, within Novato Creek and associated tidal marshes
  • Contribute to long term flood control goals and sea level rise resiliency for the lower Novato Creek Baylands
  • Protect critical infrastructure located within and adjacent to the project area by maintaining or increasing current levels of flood protection

Project map

map of the Deer Island project area


The project's Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration was adopted in September 2023. Final designs and project permits for the Duck Bill and Heron's Beak ponds restoration are anticipated to be completed by March 2024. Conceptual design for the first phase of the main Deer Island Basin Restoration is complete.


To-date, the District has secured $630,000 in Measure AA grant funding for this project. These grant funds cover project design, environmental review, and permit applications.

In December 2021, the Marin County Board of Supervisors allocated $1,018,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds toward the project construction. Additional construction funding is being pursued through grants.


Zone 1: Novato

Agencies and partners

  • Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District
  • San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority
  • Environmental Science Associates


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