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Volunteer Programs

Volunteers pulling broom on the watershed

Volunteers play a critical role in maintaining the scenic beauty and biological richness of the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed. From improving trails, restoring habitat, and protecting endangered species, Marin Water has a variety of volunteer opportunities available to match your skills, interests, and available time.

To address health concerns about group gatherings during COVID-19, many of our volunteer programs on the watershed are on hold.

We are currently offering the following programs:

Watershed Cleanup

Ready to get some fresh air and contribute to keeping the watershed clean? Join us for a watershed cleanup: We are looking for volunteers to remove trash from high-use areas, along waterways and trails. This work protects critical habitats and waterways—clean areas promote responsible behavior. We will provide trash bags and sanitized trash-grabber tools.

This activity is suitable for individuals or small groups from the same household or social bubble. All participants must follow strict safety precautions and social distancing guidelines.

Please email us at or call 415.945.1169 to sign-up. Contact us to schedule an orientation, and to pick up sanitized gear. Once you have completed the orientation, you may hunt for litter whenever you are out on the watershed.

Watershed Greeters

Marin Water is collaborating with One Tam and partners like Slow & Say Hello in our new Watershed Greeters program. Staff and volunteer greeters are stationed at various locations on the mountain, sharing updates about park programs and events. They are a great presence and resource on the watershed, serving and engaging our community.

Volunteer Service Agreement

Please review our Volunteer Service Agreement for additional details about volunteering with Marin Water.

The foothill yellow-legged frog, Rana boylii, is native to parts of the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed and is listed as both a federal and state species of special concern, which means its population is declining. The foothill yellow-legged frog has disappeared from more than 45% of its historic range in Oregon and California due to:

  • Habitat loss and degradation
  • Disease
  • Introduction of exotic predators

Marin Water needs help from the community to stop the decline and restore a healthy population within the watershed. Each year, we train docents to monitor habitat conditions and to educate hikers at Little Carson Falls, a popular hiking destination located about five miles outside of Fairfax, and a breeding area for the foothill yellow-legged frog. Docents monitor Little Carson Falls during the spring when the eggs and tadpoles are at their most vulnerable.

Volunteer docents are asked to commit to three four-hour shifts between February and June. No previous experience or special knowledge is required. Frog docents must be at least 18 years old and capable of strenuous hiking.

Volunteers that have not previously participated in the program are required to attend a training. Volunteers will learn about the biology of the frogs, get instruction on observation and data recording protocols, and practice strategies for communicating with the public.

Frog Docent training is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, March 13, 2021. 

The western pond turtle, Actinemys marmorata, is a federally listed vulnerable species. These are the only freshwater turtles native to California, and they can be found around Phoenix, Lagunitas, and Alpine Lakes in the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed.

Marin Water has enlisted the help of volunteers to protect this vulnerable animal by monitoring habitat conditions, recording their behavior, and educating the public during the spring when they are most vulnerable. Volunteers have collected valuable data on native and non-native turtles that is helping to direct the management of these species.

Turtle docents collect data on populations between the months of February and May. Volunteers that have not previously participated in the program are required to attend a training.

Volunteers will learn how to identify the different species of turtles known to inhabit the lakes, get instructions on observation and data recording protocols, and practice strategies for communicating with the public.

Turtle Observer training is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, February 27, 2021.

Throughout the year, we have opportunities to learn about Mt. Tamalpais' unique plant and animal life while contributing to their continued survival. Generally, on the third Saturday of each month, we lead volunteer habitat restoration events from 9 a.m. to noon. Individuals, groups, non-profit organizations, and families are all invited and encouraged to attend. This program focuses on invasive species control with a special emphasis on French Broom and Douglas-fir. We always try to select sites that are both scenic and accessible.

Once the rains come and have a chance to loosen the soil, we will resume our broom pulls. We are modifying our volunteer activities to comply with physical distancing guidelines and to help protect our community. This fall we will offer independent and small group habitat restoration activities with limited Marin Water staff onsite support. Stay tuned for updates. 

Habitat restoration events are suitable for ages eight and up. Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, and all volunteers under age 18 must bring a permission form signed by a parent or guardian.

Trail Crew programs are currently on hold dur to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join our skilled volunteers and staff as we:

  • Maintain and repair our trail system
  • Build bridges
  • Install fencing and erosion control structures
  • Cut back brush
  • Repair stairs

Trail events are generally suitable for ages 13 and up. Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult and volunteers under age 18 must bring a permission form signed by a parent or guardian.