IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Online Flood Risk Tool Evaluates Risk for Corte Madera, Calif.

The video and online tool use data from the U.S. Geological Survey's Coastal Storm Modeling System to model flooding impacts under various storm surge and high-tide scenarios. The program was developed by Virtual Planet.

The California city of Corte Madera has launched an interactive tool to measure flood risk.
Adobe stock/wildarun
(TNS) - Corte Madera has launched a new online resource to evaluate potential flood risks.

Town leaders hope the site — called the "Corte Madera shoreline flood explorer" — will foster support for potentially pricey coastline infrastructure projects such as the installation of berms, flood barriers, drainage systems and marsh land.

"We created the shoreline explorer as an interactive tool to help residents understand what we're up against in terms of Corte Madera's current and future flood risk, and to make sure folks have the information they need as they join the conversation on how best to protect our community," said Mayor Eli Beckman.

The video and online tool use data from the U.S. Geological Survey's Coastal Storm Modeling System to model flooding impacts under various storm surge and high tide scenarios. The program was developed by Virtual Planet, an environmental technologies firm, and the town.

The tool explores flood scenarios in various degrees of detail, featuring 360-degree views of the Corte Madera shoreline.

The site was developed as part of the town's "shoreline adaptation engagement effort," a public outreach campaign prompted by a climate adaptation assessment the town conducted in 2021.

It cost about $22,000 to develop the video, online interactive tool and virtual reality version in both Spanish and English, said Phoebe Goulden, the town's climate official. The multiyear shoreline adaptation effort is estimated to cost the town about $75,000.

The program is intended to provide the most recent information about current and future vulnerabilities so residents can share their insights on how to mitigate impact, town officials said.

The town is developing a plan to best approach shoreline neighborhood flood mitigation and is surveying affected residents and businesses, Goulden said.

"We will be designing next steps in partnership with the community and intend to seek solutions that are tailored to the needs of individual neighborhoods/areas," Goulden said.

The town is considering fortifying and raising a berm in the Marina Village neighborhood, she said. The town could also identify priority areas and flood barrier options in the Mariner Cove area.

While polling public interest in the proposed projects at Mariner Cove and Marina Village, the survey also asks about evaluating supplemental flood protection measures such as raising houses, improving storm drain infrastructure and preserving marsh areas.

A survey was mailed to residents and businesses in the affected areas about two weeks ago. Residents were asked to complete the survey by June 30, but the date will likely be extended to allow for more responses.

About 1,000 surveys were delivered to residents and property owners based on 100-year FEMA floodplain maps in the town.

Once the survey is closed, staff will take the feedback to the Town Council for direction.

"For me personally, as a resident of bayside Corte Madera, this tool really brought home the fact that a catastrophic flood isn't something that we have decades to plan for — it could happen as soon as this year, and I feel strongly that we need to start improving our flood defenses right away," Beckman said.

©024 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.