map of Novato watershed

What's Happening Now

Welcome to the Novato Watershed webpage

The Novato Watershed Program aims to provide a system-wide analysis of flood protection options and identify specific opportunities to integrate flood protection goals with creek and wetland restoration, including evaluating alternatives that would reduce flood protection maintenance costs and impacts and be resilient to sea level rise.

Partners in the program are: Flood Control Zone 1, City of Novato, North Marin Water District, and Novato Sanitary District.

Novato Watershed Partners on a field trip to Novato baylands

Fact Sheets

Proposed Flood Zone #1 Parcel Tax Fact Sheet

Novato Watershed Program

HWY 37 Info Sheet - Proposed Flood Mitigation

History of Flooding in Novato

Novato is prone to flooding due to its topography and development patterns. In the past 90 years, Novato has experienced 12 major floods, averaging over one per decade. Floods in 1940, 1955, 1982, 1998, and 2006 were particularly destructive. The impacts of flooding affect residents, businesses, property owners, emergency response, transportation networks, and the overall economic vitality of the community.

Newsletter Archive

2015 Spring
2014-15 Winter
2014 Summer
2012 Fall

Supermoon rising over Hamilton, November 2016.

Supermoon over Hamilton.

Board of Supervisors Recommends Tax Measure be Placed on Ballot

Measure E

Following a public hearing on Aug. 1, the Marin County Board of Supervisors recommended placing a flood control parcel tax for the greater Novato area on the November 7 ballot. It will appear on the ballot as Measure E.
View the presentation

Read the press release

Fact Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions

Preliminary Project List

Map 1 Upstream of Hwy 37

Map 2 Downstream of Hwy 37

2017 Storm Damages

Final Resolution and Ballot language

Roadway flooding in Novato in winter 2016/2017. Photo from City of Novato.

Novato Watershed Products

Program Summary

Deer Island Basin (photo credit Ernie Ganas)

The Novato Watershed Program released a summary document that outlines where we started, what we've done, and where we’d like to go from here. View the Summary.

Novato Watershed Program Reports

All reports, including the 2016 Hydraulic Study, Flood Control 2.0 reports, and many of the program's presentations, are available in the Library.

Highway 37 Flooding

Highway 37 Flooded in 2017  - photo by Josh Edelson of SF Chronicle

Caltrans and County of Marin have prepared an information sheet about flooding on Highway 37. View it here.

Videos and Interactive Maps

Online Watershed Tours

Screenshot of Waterrshed Tour story map

These online tours show points of interest in the watershed and highlight some of the potential flood reduction projects.

Novato Watershed Tour
Potential Projects Tour

Creek Maintenance Projects

The 2017 summer work program includes trimming vegetation and removing debris from watershed creeks and tributaries.

This time-lapse movie shows crews removing a huge, fallen tree in Novato Creek. When storm season rolls around, the water will be able to flow safely through the cleared channel.

All pumps and pump stations will be inspected, and three pumps will be removed for major cleaning.

Novato Creek as it flows under Redwood Blvd and Highway 101

Every four years, Zone 1 dredges parts of Novato and Warner Creeks and Arroyo Avichi. This work last occurred in 2016. View a video compiled by construction management firm CLE.

Sea Level Rise

Local sea levels have risen seven inches over the
past century, increasing the upstream extent of tidal flooding and creating larger, stronger waves that erode the shoreline. Climate change is likely to increase the magnitude and frequency of winter storms, further worsening flooding problems

The Novato Watershed Program incorporates planning for sea level rise into all of its studies and products. See the Novato chapter of BayWAVE report for information about SLR vulnerabilities.

Nature-based Solutions

Deer Island Open Space Preserve -August 27th

If you missed our walk with a bird's eye view of restoration and flood management opportunities along Novato Creek, you can still view the maps we showed:

SFEI Historical Ecology
Restoration Opps - NW
Restoration Opps - SW
Sea Level Rise - North
Sea Level Rise - South

Flood Control 2.0

Graphic of Vision map from Lower Novato Flood Control 2.0 project.

Lower Novato Creek is a focus area for Flood Control 2.0, an ambitious regional effort aimed at utilizing natural processes to reduce flood risk while restoring habitat, improving water quality, and adapting to sea level rise. Learn more.

Naturally Resilient Communities

NRC has a website with tools for understanding nature-based solutions to address flooding. View the NRC website.

Media Corner

Marin County News Release August 2017
Local measures on Marin Ballot

Marin County News Release August 2017
Novato Flood Control Tax to be on 2017 Ballot

Marin County News Release July 2017
Novato Flood Control Tax

MarinIJ July 2017: Novato Creek work could help battle sea-level rise

MarinIJ April 2017: Novato forum educates public on rising sea level threat.

Media archive