Santa Venetia Floodwall Project Update to be Presented

Posted on March 2, 2023

For Immediate Release –

San Rafael, CA –

Flood Control District consultant to provide revised design plan and cost estimate at Board session on March 7

Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District logo
At its March 7 public session, the Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors will receive an update on the proposed Santa Venetia Floodwall Project.

At its March 7 public session, the Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors will receive an update[PDF] on the proposed Santa Venetia Floodwall Project. The goal of the project is to reduce flood risk for 576 households in the community of Santa Venetia, a low-lying area near San Pablo Bay, which is facing the impacts of sea level rise.

The project was re-scoped in March 2022 following a cost estimate that exceeded available funding and, in July 2022, began a new design process led by a new engineering firm. At the upcoming Board meeting, representatives from the CSW Stuber-Stroeh Engineering (CSW) firm will present the 90% complete design plans, technical specifications, and construction cost estimates for the revised potential project.

The recommended design consists of a composite sheet pile floodwall extending approximately 1.5 miles along 111 properties on the bank of Gallinas Creek in Santa Venetia, a neighborhood in the unincorporated area of San Rafael. CSW’s work has been reviewed by Flood Control District staff throughout the design process, and updates were shared throughout 2022 at community meetings on July 27 and September 14, as well as at the October 13 Flood Zone 7 Advisory Board meeting. A report of the project design was released in October 2022.

The District’s Flood Zone 7 has been funding this effort through four sources, with the largest coming from a $2,982,753 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant. In May 2022, the District submitted a scope of work and budget change request to FEMA to reallocate $1,679,067 of the FEMA grant, which had been earmarked for construction, to now support the additional design and public outreach activities.

The mitigated negative declaration through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that was developed for the original project would be re-evaluated under CEQA requirements for any potential new impacts. At the Board meeting on March 7, District staff plans to recommend entering into a contract with a CEQA consulting firm. The review would be expected to be complete later this year.

A condition of the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is that the District own or control the property included in a project for which it is seeking funding. As the District has permanent easements on 16 of the 111 properties, the District cannot make a showing of ownership or control at this time. The project remains in the planning stages and further acquisitions would be subject to Board approval. The timing of such Board approval, if sought, would not occur until after CEQA is complete.

The engineers estimate for construction is $13.7 million and construction management is $1.2 million for the Santa Venetia floodwall, calculated in year 2025 dollars accounting for current inflation rates. However, the actual year of construction is dependent on securing necessary grant funding. If constructed, the recommended design would save approximately $150,000 annually on maintenance costs of the existing timber reinforced berm.

For construction funding, the District is investigating all possible grant opportunities. The proposed project has a high benefit-to-cost ratio, meaning that the cost of creating the floodwall is low compared to the value of the properties that would be protected, making the project competitive for grant applications. When looking at potential construction funding sources, the project is no longer eligible for FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance funding as there are no residents within Zone 7 that are National Flood Insurance Policy holders.

More information about the Santa Venetia Floodwall Project and details on upcoming public meetings can be found on the District website.


Rosemarie Gaglione
Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive.
San Rafael, CA 94903

Close window