Following the devastating floods across Iowa in 2008, the state established the Iowa Flood Center at the University of Iowa. The Flood Center harnesses the expertise of the university’s Hydroscience & Engineering Institute, one of the preeminent hydraulic laboratories in the nation, to improve Iowa’s flood prediction and preparedness.
Iowa Flood Center staff members were at the Statehouse this week to share their work with legislators.
Since its creation, the Flood Center has mapped floodplains across the state and improved Iowa’s ability to monitor and predict floods. These advances were showcased last year when catastrophic rains led to major flooding in the Cedar River basin. With improvements in monitoring and planning, downstream communities were able to take action. The city of Cedar Rapids, for example, installed barriers that likely saved the community millions of dollars in damages to homes and businesses.
The Flood Center also uses its expertise to tackle Iowa’s water-quality problem. Through the center’s work, Iowa has received $97 million in federal grant money to implement the Iowa Watershed Approach, which is a collaborative effort to reduce flooding and nutrients making their way into the water in nine major watersheds across the state, including the Middle Cedar.