Flood preparedness

Be prepared

When you hear on the radio or TV that there is a “Flood Watch” or a “Flood Warning" it’s already too late to begin preparing for the high water.

Please prepare for the possibility of flooding ahead of time.

Things you can do now

  • Rake leaves and place into your green bin. Keep leaves out of gutters and storm drains.
  • Sign up for Alert Marin to get calls, text, or email notifications from the County's Office of Emergency Services.
  • Buy a NOAA weather radio, such as the Midland WR-100B SAME Weather and All Hazards Alert Monitor. You can find these online or at local electronic stores.
  • Put a flashlight, radio and spare batteries in an easy place to find if the power goes out.
  • Remove hazardous materials (such as paints and chemicals) from flood prone areas such as garages, basements, and sheds.

Helpful resources and links

Everyone is responsible for flood risk reduction

Whole Community approach

Everyone has a role to play. The “Whole Community” approach to flood risk reduction requires communities and government agencies to work together to understand, assess, and identify flood risk reduction needs and solutions. The collaboration and shared understanding makes communities more resilient to flooding and better able to adapt and respond when floods occur.

Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District

The Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District (District) maintains channels and related flood control infrastructure in Marin. Maintenance activities include:

  • Regular servicing of pump stations, tide gates, levees and drainage ditches
  • Annual vegetation maintenance program

Work is limited to areas where we have permission to perform maintenance – on our own lands or where we have easements.

Flood Control Zones

Flood Control Zones partner with municipalities and other agencies to provide flood risk reduction. Each zone has an advisory board of residents who are appointed by the District Board of Supervisors. The Zones have authority to construct, operate, and maintain:

  • Stormwater basins
  • Levees
  • Pump stations
  • Culverts
  • Drainage ways
  • Creeks

Property and special taxes (if approved by a majority of voters) support work in the Zones. All revenues in the District are collected through the Zones and must be spent in the Zone providing the funding.

The annual work program for each Zone is coordinated by the Zone Engineer. The budget for the work program is reviewed annually by the advisory board before it's adopted by the District Board of Supervisors.

Winter preparedness

We prepare every year as though it is an “El Niño year.”

Two major flooding years in Marin's history occurred during years with El Niño episodes (1997/98 and 1982/83). It is not unusual to experience major flooding in the absence of El Niño, such as in 2005/06. Flooding can even occur during a drought year such as 2015, when the County suffered some of its worst flooding damage since 2006.

We follow a consistent system of facility and creek maintenance each year which mitigates the risk of flooding.

  • We conduct regular inspections of the creeks, floodwalls, and levees within our jurisdiction.
  • We frequently test our pumps, motors, and generators.
  • Creeks, drainage ditches, pipes, trash racks, and pump wet wells are cleared of vegetation, sediment, and trash in the fall and throughout the winter as needed.
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