Civic Center Watershed Restoration (CCWR) of the Gallinas Watershed Council is a project to improve the water quality of the Marin Civic Center Lagoon, part of the Gallinas Watershed in North San Rafael
CCWR is a partnership of community foundations, government and businesses committed to the environmental health of the Gallinas Creek and the Marin Civic Center Lagoon
When the Bioneers Conference’s annual Indigenous Sunrise Ceremony in the traditional Tule Boat got cancelled due to unhealthy levels of e-coli bacteria in the Marin Lagoon, 3 students of the Environmental Forum of Marin took-on the issue to see if we could help restore both the eco-system and the Sunrise Ceremony in the Lagoon.
On October 16, 2015 we installed two demonstration floating island biofilters at the Civic Center lagoon. The planting and launch activity was part of the annual Bioneers Conference and this hands-on activity for the entire community was attended by over 100 volunteers. Read all about it on the front page of in the Marin IJ newspaper.
Since 2015 GWC volunteers have been maintaining the islands and the vegetation on the islands. The demonstration islands have been successful and we are moving forward with Phase 2 of the project with the support of the County.
Since 2016 GWC has been investigating next steps in the bioremediation of the Civic Center Lagoon. We are assembling our water quality testing data and other materials to present to officials in charge of this area.
The bioremediation plants on our two demonstration islands have performed very well, but will need to cover a larger area in order to completely take care of the contaminants in the lagoon water. We have determined that we need to put at least 4200 square feet of floating island bio-filtration into the Lagoon to hopefully improve water quality to standards that meet public safety requirements.
Enhancing Watershed Resilience
The Marin County Civic Center is a state and national Historic Site, and surrounding parklands and commons connect with the natural world.
The lagoon, an integral part of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision, feeds into the Gallinas Creek and its marshlands –critical habitat for wildlife and endangered species (Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse, Clapper Rail). Factors such as a burgeoning Canada goose population and runoff from parking lots affect the lagoon and in turn the Gallinas Watershed by increasing nitrates that cause algal blooms in the lagoon’s shallow waters (eutrophication).
Innovative and Natural Bioremediation
Floating Islands are a green biofilter technology presented by Bioneer John Todd. These islands support a living ecosystem of native plants (donated by The Watershed Nursery), providing natural water filtration and absorbing nutrients that can be potentially damaging to watershed systems. This passive, net-positive biological technology uses no fossil fuels, requires little maintenance, and relies on facilitating natural, plant-based bioremediation.
Come See The Floating Islands
If you live in the Bay Area or you like promoting natural ways to protect and enhance our watersheds, then this project is for you.
Support stewardship of our natural commons and water resources through education and community engagement.
Come to the lagoon to see this water enhancement technology consistent with Frank Lloyd Wright’s original vision of architecture integrated with nature.
“The floating island pilot project is wonderfully innovative and creative. Just as Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision for the Marin County Civic Center was to successfully knit a building to its surroundings, this floating island is a natural way to improve watershed health while blending with the environment. I’m sure this floating island will catch the attention and stimulate the curiosity of the many residents and visitors who enjoy Lagoon Park.”
Kate Sears, Marin County Supervisor and Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy board member