Novato Flood Control District Post Election Meeting Validates “No on Measure E” Arguments

I wanted to provide an update on the Novato Flood Control District (aka Flood Zone 1 or FZ1) Projects that were discussed heavily during the campaign and which were used to promote Measure E tax and alternatively to defend the anti-tax stance – the “NO on Measure E” arguments.

On Thursday November 16th, the first public meeting post-election was held, and I am supremely happy to report all good news.

  1. All damage to levees reported from last February’s storm has been repaired. – This was one of the points made by proponents of the tax that made up the $1.7 million dollars’ worth of storm damage.
  1. All pumps have been repaired and are fully functional and ready for the winter. – This was another of the point made by proponents of the ta that made up the $1/7 million dollars’ worth of storm damage.
  1. Insurance claims were submitted, and payments have already been received for the pump repairs.
  1. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management) applications have been made to pay for the pump and levee repairs. These FEMA grants are also intended to be used for pump station work. (separate from actual pump)
  1. The $1.45 million dollars in Grant money that the FZ1 Staff wanted to move from the failed Weir project to the Simmons Slough project back in March was approved. Staff confirmed that the flood zone 1 budget is now increased by that same amount, since the Simmons Slough work had originally been slated to come out of FZ1 budget funds. In other words, that $1.45 is “found money”.
  1. Staff reiterated that erodible levees performed well last year…”Worked as intended”.

A short discussion of the components and design of the erodible weirs followed after one board member asked for confirmation/clarification of the statement “worked as intended”. The topsoil portion of the weir is designed to “blow out” should pressure from water containment behind it, become too great, thus preventing the entire levee from failing.

Storm waters from 2017 never got high enough to cause such a blow out, and neither did the water levels concern Staff enough for them to help the process along by using backhoes to breach the top of the levees to alleviate water pressure into the Novato Creek section of the system.

  1. Staff has submitted additional grant applications to FERP (Flood Emergency Response Projects – CA State Department of Water Resources) and FEMA for additional miscellaneous project
    Click image to enlarge

    funding. Please read the full Staff report linked below for details.

  1. The highlight of the meeting was that Staff has submitted a grant application to the SFBRA (Measure AA funding authority) for $690,000 for the next phase of studies for the Novato Baylands Restoration Project to get it to 100{d9b4283c2062863291fd18ac228fb4be8f3cae1afcf783b7d1f1061d322e2d0a} studied. What they call “Shovel Ready”. They are competing with other Sonoma County projects. However, it was the only Marin based project submitted.

The Senior Engineer reiterated that the project is a sought-after project. He used the following terms describing it: “Pioneering Project”, “Poster Child” and “Very Attractive” and they would know whether the funds would be approved in January.

The Senior Engineer said they anticipated ultimately going back for construction cost funds once the studies were complete. He also reiterated several times, that NO MATCHING FUNDS were required to win the grant!. I was struck by the number of times he repeated “no matching funds required” given how often we encountered it as an argument in favor of the Measure E tax.

  1. As far as Highway 37 is concerned – Staff is also working with TAM (Transportation Authority of Marin) to prepare a grant application to Caltrans for improvements to infrastructure to reduce flooding.

The grant actually comes from Caltrans, and if awarded, will allow the Novato Flood Control District to participate in studies and inform Caltrans on the “what’s and how’s” of the final improvements. The grant requires an additional money commitment of $48,000. TAM is committed to providing $24,000. The Board approved the other $24,000. All work would ultimately be the responsibility of and be completed by Caltrans.

Here is the full Staff report: http://www.marinwatersheds.org/documents/FCZ1_AB-Mtg_Staff-Report_111617_.pdf

But, it is important to note that attending FZ1 meetings in person provides additional context and color around live, verbal discussions and shows that the community is indeed involved and watching. I urge everyone to attend at least ONE meeting during the year so that you can put faces to names and ask questions.

This meeting validates the No on E vote in every way. Good job Novato!!

 

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