Courtesy of Marin County
At its July 12 public session, the Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors will consider awarding a $617,549 contract for engineering design services to develop a design for the Santa Venetia Levee Upgrade Project along Gallinas Creek. The project was put on pause in March 2022 following a cost estimate that exceeded available funding.
“This flood protection project is crucial to addressing the near-term sea level rise needs of the Santa Venetia neighborhood residents,” said Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Rosemarie Gaglione. “We are committed to developing a strong, final design for the project that will be ready to move forward once construction funding is secured.”
The Flood Control and Water Conservation District has secured funding for the flood mitigation project from four sources, with the largest coming from a $3,235,180 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant. In May, the District submitted a project scope of work and budget change request to FEMA to reallocate $1,515,170 from the grant, transitioning the funding from construction to design work, environmental compliance, and public outreach activities. A response from FEMA is expected this month.
The engineering design firm will examine the project requirements and develop a final design that meets the flood protection needs of the community. To meet the deadline for the $1.5 million FEMA funding allocation, the engineering firm will need to finalize the design by the end of November 2022.
Once the final design is completed, District staff will work to secure additional funding and voluntary permanent easements before moving forward with construction. District staff plans to use the final design to apply for construction funding through FEMA, while also pursuing all other viable funding options that may be available for the project.
In terms of the FEMA grant process, the Santa Venetia levee project has a high benefit-to-cost ratio, meaning that the cost of creating the flood protection is low compared to the value of the properties that would be protected. The benefit-to-cost ratio is expected to make the project competitive in the next round of FEMA grant applications. District staff anticipates that the next opportunity to apply for competitive hazard mitigation funding will be in 2023.
Throughout this design and funding process, the District will continue to explore the acquisition of permanent easements from residents along Gallinas Creek on a voluntary basis. Those easements would support construction and all current and future maintenance of the levee.
In the meantime, the District will continue to prioritize the standard maintenance of the existing timber reinforced berm infrastructure along Gallinas Creek for the community. A public meeting is proposed for late July to provide a general update. For more information about the Santa Venetia Levee Upgrade Project and details on upcoming public meetings, visit SantaVenetiaLevee.org.