Rush Creek Watershed

Rush Creek map

Watershed Overview


Rush Creek, at the northern edge of Novato, provides critical wetland habitat year-round. It supports coastal saltwater marsh and coastal brackish-water marsh habitats. The wetlands provide suitable habitat for San Pablo song sparrow, California black rail, saltmarsh common yellowthroat, California brackishwater snail, and California clapper rail.

Northeastern Novato stormwater is directed into either Rush Creek, which then flows into Black John Slough and eventually to the Petaluma River, or the Deer Island Basin and Simmons Slough. Simmons Slough goes to Novato Creek by pump. Rush Creek wetlands are managed for both wildlife habitat and winter stormwater management through a series of levees and floodgates.


Watershed Today

Habitat Types



To come.

Fish and Wildlife

The watershed supports a number of special-status plants and animals.  Of particular interest are the occurrences of wetland-adapted species along Rush Creek and lower Novato Creek wetlands.  Noteworthy species include San Pablo song sparrow, California black rail, saltmarsh common yellowthroat, and California clapper rail.

Human Habitation, Land Use, and Resource Conservation

Land UseImperviousness

Land Use                                        Imperviousness

Land protection and restoration efforts in the watershed include the Rush Creek and Bahia restoration projects, and planning by the City of Novato and Marin County Open Space District for preservation and land acquisition for trails.

In 1999, the Rush Creek/Cemetery Marsh Enhancement Project was completed by the Marin Audubon Society.  This project involved the excavation of channels to improve circulation and replacement of tide gates in the 230-acre Rush Creek marsh and 50-acre Cemetery Marsh.  Both marshes are managed by Marin County Open Space District as natural preserves.