Deer Island Basin Complex Tidal Wetlands Restoration Project


The District’s Deer Island Basin Complex is located in the lower Novato Creek watershed just north of Highway 37. It includes two stormwater ponds, Heron’s Beak Pond and Duck Bill Pond along the south side of Novato Creek, as well as the Deer Island Basin on the north side of Novato Creek.

During the past century, former tidal marshes at Deer Island Basin have been diked, drained, and converted to pasture. The District proposes to restore ecologically valuable tidal wetlands for endangered species and to improve tidal connectivity to the diked areas that were historically tidal wetlands along Novato Creek.

The project team has actively consulted the San Francisco Bay Restoration Regulatory Integration Team (BRRITT) which coordinates permit applications for the project. 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
  • Improve ecological functions within baylands habitat 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


  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration adopted – Fall 2023
  • Conceptual design for Deer Island Basin – Fall 2023
  • Final design and permitting for Duck Bill and Heron's Beak ponds – Summer 2024
  • District Board approval for construction – Summer 2024
  • Begin construction – Summer 2025
  • Complete construction – Fall 2026


To-date, the District has secured about $11M for project design, permitting, and construction:

  • $630,000 Measure AA grant to cover project design, environmental review, and permit applications
  • $1,018,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated by the Marin County Board of Supervisors toward the project construction
  • ~ $7M grant from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for project construction
  • ~ $2.4M from San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (SFBRA) for project construction


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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