Flood Protection

(Last updated: April 2023)

The Public Works Department is responsible for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of all flood control facilities within the Town of Corte Madera. These facilities consist of: drainage pipes, catch basins, ditches, channels, ponds, pump stations, and numerous other infrastructure elements that seek to protect our town from flood damage. You can read more about these efforts in our Flood Protection Newsletter and view the FEMA-determined flood hazard areas with our Flood Hazard Area Map.

Corte Madera can experience flooding from both rain storms and tidal events.  There are systems in place to help prevent and minimize damage and disruption from flooding, and some key elements are outlined below:

  • A portion of Corte Madera lies within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), more commonly referred to as the "floodplain". This SFHA consists of properties within zones AE and VE as delineated on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) prepared by FEMA for our community. The FIRM can be viewed at the Public Works Department office, and assistance can be provided in determining if your property is within the SFHA.
  • Associated with these zones is a Base Flood Elevation (BFE). This BFE represents the level to which a flood having a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year (commonly called the "100-year" flood) will rise. For Corte Madera, the BFE is equal to an elevation of 10 NAVD (North American Datum)
  • The National Flood Insurance Program (NIFP) requires that the town examine the construction of all new structures, and the improvement, modification, or repair of existing structures that are located within the SFHA. Any new development or additions/renovations to an existing structure within the SFHA will require a "Floodplain Development Permit"
  • In an effort to reduce flood insurance rates for our residents, the Town of Corte Madera participates in the FEMA / NFIP Community Rating System. Through our floodplain management efforts, the town has reached a CRS Class 6, which translates to a 20% savings on all flood insurance rates. This discount is set up to occur automatically for all current policies. However, to ensure that you are receiving this discount, ask your insurance agent to use our NFIP No. 065023 when renewing or purchasing a flood insurance policy.
  • Due to the relatively flat terrain within a large portion of the town, nine pump station facilities have been constructed in key locations. These stations assure runoff from storms is properly conveyed and disposed of in a manner that minimizes the potential for flooding of streets and private property. The pump stations are monitored and maintained by the Public Works staff, and are checked regularly to ensure proper operation.
  • View information about sandbags made available by the Public Works Department.
  • View information about Lagoon and Waterway maintenance.
  • View the Town's Floodplain Ordinance

FEMA Resources

FEMA has many excellent resource documents regarding flood protection, flood prevention, and flood insurance.  We have included several of these references below, but please visit the FEMA website FloodSmart.gov for the latest information.
 FEMA Flood Smart

FEMA Informational Handouts

Letter of Map Correction (LOMC)

If a property owner thinks their property has been inadvertently mapped in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), they may submit a request to FEMA for a Letter of Map Change.  

Applications can be submitted on-line or by mail.  Please click on the link below for more information

Tide Information
Because Corte Madera is directly adjacent to San Francisco Bay, the tide elevations within the Bay have the potential to significantly impact our storm drain system. Within low-lying areas of the town, high tides can even lead to potential overland flooding. In order to prepare, you can view predictions of upcoming tide elevations by visiting the NOAA website.