Winter Weather Outlook
The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center anticipates that there will be a strong El Niño this upcoming winter and their latest precipitation outlook for December through March indicates that Marin is likely to receive higher than average amounts of precipitation. Additionally, due in part to warmer than average ocean waters, tides could be significantly higher than predicted.
Regardless of predictions, the Marin County Flood Control & Water Conservation District (District) prepares for every year as though it is an “El Niño year.” Although 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 last year, when the County suffered some of its worst flooding damage since 2006.
It is for these reasons that the District follows 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, and 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. A flood control zone-specific update regarding maintenance, storm preparedness and response in your local area is provided below.
Pump Station Maintenance
There are no District operated pump stations in Flood Control Zone 6 - Rafael Meadows & Redwood Village.
Conservation Corps North Bay performs annual vegetation maintenance work in creeks in City of San Rafael right-of-way under the direction of the City. Currently there is an agreement between the City and District whereby the City can be reimbursed for up to $8,000 for regular maintenance. Additional funding is available for emergency response.
Sediment removal is performed by the City on an as-needed basis in areas where they have right-of-way.
Levee/Floodwall Maintenance & Rodent Control
There are no District-owned levees or floodwalls in Zone 6.
Precipitation and Stream Gage Maintenance
The District owns several precipitation and stream gauges throughout the County which help inform us of water levels in creeks and heavy rainfall in real-time. The nearest rain gauges are in Kentfield, Tam Valley, and Mill Valley. For more information on the gauges visit https://marin.onerain.com/home.php. Preventative maintenance on the gauges is performed twice annually - September/October and February/March - and as needed. A grant has recently been awarded to upgrade the gauge software and is expected to be underway after this rainy season.
Before, during, and after storms, the Conservation Corps North Bay inspects and clears facilities as needed. They are also available for sandbagging and/or tarping levees and creek banks if requested. The District has a fleet of portable pumps which are maintained and tested prior to the winter season and some are pre- deployed in key locations. The nearest pumps that are not pre-deployed are stored at Pump Station #3 in Santa Venetia (Zone 7).
The District is evaluating and has received a bid for temporary removable flood barriers which could be deployed quickly and in lieu of sandbags at flood threatened locations. The barriers are made of high strength plastic and achieve their stability by filling them with water.