Recovery

Marin Bolsters Flood Prevention Efforts with More Weather Devices

The gauges feed live data that public works and emergency crews can use to prioritize areas that need service.

by Adrian Rodriguez, The Marin Independent Journal, Novato, Calif. / April 2, 2018

(TNS) — Marin County, Calif., is adding nine new weather gauges that collect real-time data on rain, wind and stream activity, bringing its fleet of such devices to 18 across the county.

The Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District announced this month that it has won approval to receive the devices used to help with flood preparedness. They will likely be in hand this summer and ready to install by the end of fall, said Julian Kaelon, a spokesman for the department of public works.

“These provide a good framework with weather patterns, to see timelines and trends,” Kaelon said. “It’s a snapshot of activity and we are able to see when certain creeks might be raising.”

In a flood situation, he said, “the gauges feed us live data” that public works and emergency crews can use to prioritize areas that need service.

Kaelon said the county is still determining what the ideal locations could be for the new gauges: “We don’t want to be duplicating work.”

The district in 2016 received a $228,282 grant through the state of California Department of Water Resources. The new gauges cost $122,470, of which 71 percent will be covered by the grant. The county will pick up the tab with money from its emergency preparedness fund.

The data collected feeds into the county’s OneRain website, marin.onerain.com/home.php, which also displays information gathered from the Napa County Flood Control District, the Sonoma County Water Agency and the city of Petaluma. This is part of a partnership formed in 2016, called the North San Francisco Bay Counties Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Improvement Project.

Meanwhile, county flood control planners are also moving forward with the Ross Valley flood project in the Corte Madera Creek. The Marin County Board of Supervisors at a May meeting is poised to formally reallocate $7.6 million from a state grant to the Corte Madera flood risk management project.

The project features three main components, which include removing the fish ladder from Corte Madera Creek behind the post office; removing the concrete channel and creating a floodplain park at Frederick Allen Park; and installing a low flood wall at Granton Park near College of Marin in Kentfield.

The release of a draft environmental review document is planned in June 2018, which will be followed by a 45-day public comment period.

“That’s when things start to pick up,” said Tonya Redfield, capital planning and project manager with the county public works department. “We’re making good progress.”

Ross Mayor Elizabeth Robbins said council members and residents still have concerns about the effectiveness of work through Frederick Allen Park. Also, Robbins is worried about “indemnification of any untoward events that come from this project.”

The Ross Town Council in December reluctantly voted 4-1 to support the project. Robbins dissented.

“We’re going to continue to keep a close watch on this,” Robbins said.

For more information on the Corte Madera creek project, go to bit.ly/2uCie3j.

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©2018 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.)

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