Urban Streams Coordination
The Urban Streams Coordinator (USC) position was created as a result of the Stream Conservation Area Ordinance. The role of the USC is to provide support and assistance to the residents that live along Marin County’s creeks through educational workshops, presentations, watershed tours and site visits that can result in targeted restoration actions. The USC will work with County departments; Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program ( MCSTOPPP), Marin Watershed Program, Community Development Agency, Department of Public Works in addition to the various watershed and neighborhood organizations and associations. Through collaborative efforts with local, state and federal regulatory agencies, the USC will guide property owners through the challenging permitting process when applying for projects that include development and/or restoration along the creeks of Marin. Finally the USC will act as the liaison between the various stakeholders, facilitating communication among all parties.
Keeping Wood in the Creek…
Why? Any strong storm can bring down trees, but after four years of drought, this winter we are seeing an especially large number of trees come down. It’s important to know that when trees fall into creeks, they become part of the creek channel in the eyes of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Fallen trees, as they sit, tumble and turn within the creek, are nature’s creek-architects: they shape the creek’s bed and banks, the way the creek meanders, and how sediment and floating wood debris within the creek move or accumulate; fallen wood also becomes home and shelter to a variety of aquatic wildlife, and in particular, salmon and steelhead.
What About Removal? Large wood is critical to the health of a creek for these reasons, but in some cases, it can conflict with the needs of the creekside landowner. Large fallen wood can sometimes divert the stream’s energy toward a bank, posing a threat of bank failure or other damage, or may have caused serious damage at the time it fell. These might be reasons why a landowner would feel the need to remove fallen wood that lies within a creek channel.
Permitting: If you do need to remove wood from a stream, you first need to notify the Department of Fish and Wildlife by filing for a Lake or Streambed Alteration (1600 LSA) permit. As mentioned above, wood changes the creek’s bed and banks when it falls in; by removing it, a landowner is also causing change. The Marin RCD can assist landowners in filling out a 1600 LSA permit.
For landowners who encounter an emergency need to remove fallen wood, they have 14 days after the removal to file an Emergency 1600 LSA permit notification. Please read the instructions for this permit closely to be sure your situation qualifies as an emergency.
Before You Remove Wood…Take notice of any large wood situated in your creek. Some pieces of wood are part of structures that have been installed and secured to improve fish habitat by the RCD. If you are removing fallen wood, please do not remove these structures or other pieces of wood that pose no threat to property. Above is a photo of one of MMWD’s many large wood debris installation projects in the Lagunitas Creek watershed.
Attention: Green Waste Days at West Marin Compost
The 2015-2016 free green waste drop off dates have ended. Stay tuned for 2017 dates. This is your opportunity for free and safe disposal of green waste yard materials such as branches, grass and light brush. No building materials. They are located at 5575 Nicasio Valley Road and can be reached by phone at 415 662 9849. Check out their webpage to learn more about West Marin Compost, Click HERE!
Attention: Household Hazardous Waste, Universal Waste, Bulb & Battery Take Back Program
There are drop-off facilities provided through Marin County’s Department of Public Works for residents of Marin County that may bring paint, adhesives, motor oil, pesticides, household batteries, light bulbs, latex paint, computer monitors, televisions, household electronics, and bleach cleaners to the facility free of charge. Click HERE to learn about specific locations for drop-offs. Residential Customers: Thursday – Saturday, 8am – 3:30pm. Call ahead for details. 565 Jacoby St., San Rafael Residential (415) 485-6806.
Attending a Watershed Work Day with Green Gulch Zen Center in December, 2014 conducting restoration on a tributary to Redwood Creek, near Muir Beach.
Sarah Phillips attending a Gallinas Creek watershed tour by Judy Shriebman from the Gallinas Watershed Council in November, 2014.
Joining Trout Unlimited’s North Bay Chapter during a release of Trout in the Classroom into Bon Tempe Reservoir in April, 2015.
Assisting streamside residents in Marin through a San Geronimo Valley Stewards meeting in January, 2015.
Helping SPAWN install a willow wall at Cheda Ranch to reduce creek bank erosion and increase riparian canopy cover in October, 2014.
Monitoring for steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) with Catie Clune from SPAWN in April, 2015.