Rush Creek land use and habitat


Northeastern Novato stormwater flows into two places. The first is Rush Creek, which then flows into Black John Slough and to the Petaluma River. The second place is the Deer Island Basin and Simmons Slough. Simmons Slough goes to Novato Creek by pump.

A series of levees and floodgates manage both wildlife habitat and winter stormwater.


The watershed has special-status plants and animals. The wetland-adapted species along Rush Creek and lower Novato Creek wetlands are of particular interest.

Special status wetland species

  • San Pablo song sparrow
  • California black rail
  • Saltmarsh common yellowthroat
  • Ridgway's rail (formerly California clapper rail)

Land use

Land protection and restoration efforts in the watershed include:

  • Rush Creek restoration project
  • Bahia restoration project
  • Planning by the City of Novato and Marin County Open Space District for preservation and land acquisition for trails

In 1999, the Marin Audubon Society completed the Rush Creek/Cemetery Marsh Enhancement Project. This project improved water circulation by excavating channels and replacing tide gates.

Rush Creek marsh is 230 acres and Cemetery Marsh is 50 acres. Both marshes are managed by Marin County Open Space District as natural preserves.

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