SA Flood Committee Creek Walk
We'll be there to watch, learn and listen—join us!

Join us on the creek walk.

E-mail us:

Frank Malin

or Lise Stampfli Torme

Return to home page

Our next meeting:
Thurs. Sept. 7th,
7 pm.
St. Anselm School
Molinari Room

Get Your Waders! Though a pair of rubber boots should do fine. Join the Flood Mitigation League of Ross Valley and the Town’s volunteer committee of experts (San Anselmo Flood Mitigation Group—aka Flood Committee) who will be walking the length of the Corte Madera Creek as it winds through San Anselmo. The creek walk is scheduled for July 22 and will commence at 8:00 am. Walkers will meet in front of the Fire Station on San Anselmo Avenue. Residents or others who are concerned about the condition of the creek are welcome to accompany the Town's Flood Committee on this walk.

The purpose of the walks is to examine the physical condition of the creek, banks, and surrounding areas after the recent winter’s flooding. The committee records observations, and collects information for future discussion and recommendations. The Town Council has tasked the committee to come up with short term, mid term and long term solutions for flooding. Last month FLMorRV members Lise Stampfli Torme and Frank Malin attended the creek walk for the downtown portion of the creek and observed the proceedings. They noted several areas where trees in the creek created obstructions for high water flow events. Old railroad structures created blockages and changed water direction from a natural, straighter flow. Buildings built out over the creek create choke points and that cause flooding. Gravel bars have built up and create areas of slower flow. Vegetation along creek banks is overgrown.

Findings from First Creek Walk
At the Flood Committee’s first creek walk followup meeting on June 12, committee members made observations and issued mitigation recommendations for the downtown portion of the creek. League member David Torme was there to take notes of the discussion, and recommendations. He felt the following were important points made at the meeting:

  • a report by Debbie Stutzman that the estimated cost to have the creek cleaned out thoroughly by Marin Conservation Crew (or the Corps of Engineers) from Fairfax to San Anselmo and all the way down to Ross would take approx. 20 days and cost $40,000.
  • a report by Richard Stutsman that the County will begin to do a creek survey in July but that there is insufficient funding to do a complete survey.
  • it was reported that J. Curley of County Flood Control District 9 informed the Town that the Flood Early Warning System will be up and running in the fall.
  • a report by Debbie Stutzman that the towns have applied for a FEMA flood mitigation grant amount totaling $11 million that will be shared between Fairfax, San Anselmo, Kentfield and Ross, of which $3 million is earmarked for San Anselmo.
  • That town public works director, Rabi Elias has been granted by the Mucicipal Court, the power to enforce creek clean up by property owners. But, it was noted that it is difficult to enforce beyond a letter of demand.
  • committee member Dearth's opinion that removing one or two major obstructions will not solve the problem. We need to remove ALL obstructions, that a wholistic approach is needed and that we need to go after ALL businesses or property owners that cause or contribute to creek blockages.
  • committee member Ritter's suggestion that we need hydraulic structures to control the creek flow. We also need to think about “sweetening” this project for “creek dwellers” by perhaps expanding existing, or creating new, park areas.
  • committee member Johnson suggested that
    we should do all we can to eliminate the lesser 6” floods that happen frequently in the low lying areas by cleaning out all debris and obstructions. There should be a re-emphasis on keeping the creek clear of trees, garbage and etc... to eliminate these smaller floods that yearly affect the low lying areas such as Nokomis/ Madrone.
  • committee member Stutzman expressed the following opinion: Even 2 hours in the creek cleaning out stuff plus tree trimming WILL have a significant effect on flood reduction. However, we won’t solve this problem completely until hydraulic structures are built all the length of the watershed area. At the next creek walk we need to focus on blackberry and ivy clearance.
  • the meeting concluded with the committee recognizing and expressing that as a group they are limited in both scope and funding to effect major creek changes. They agreed to focus on what CAN be accomplished this year and in the near term to mitigate as much flooding as possible, and then, support/endorse the larger construction and hydraulic model findings and their recommendations.

For official minutes of the downtown creek walk report: link to the Town website. The minutes of the June 12, 2006 meeting are available for download on this page:

Join us on this Creek Walk!
The FLMofRV plans on attending the creek walk and encourages volunteers from our membership to attend as well. It is an opportunity to witness conditions frist hand and to hear expert opinion from engineering and hydrology professionals. Deferred maintenance on the creek, its banks and overgrowth are certainly factors that contribute to flooding. The FLMofRV insists that mitigation measures that can be done now are done this summer and fall. Remember, our next big rains are only months away.

If you can attend the walk please let us know. Use the links in the sidebar on this page to contact Frank Malin or Lise Stampfli
Cameras and video equipment are greatly appreciated and recommendeed.

The Town of San Anselmo lists this phone number for more information: 258-4626.