- Water Quality + Flood Reduction
- Watershed Management Authority
- Photo Tour
The TRWMA Flood Reduction Plan was released in June 2015 and has a price tag of approximately $32 million. In the plan, it was documented, based on reports from communities and counties, that floods had caused at least $20 million over the past 20 years. Since only a few of the communities and counties reported, it was deduced that this was a fraction of the actual cost. This assumption was correct.
The Storm Events Database hosted on the NOAA website provides data going back to 1950 for a myriad of different natural disaster events searchable by date, type of event, and locations. A search of the counties that make up the Turkey River Watershed from 1995 to present for the event categories; heavy rain, flooding, and flash flooding, revealed that 114 events were reported. The database also tracks the cost associated with these events. In the counties making up the TRW, these 3 event categories have cost $121.087 million in property damage and $47.025 million in crop damage. This means that flooding has cost nearly 6 times as much in damage as it would cost to implement the flood reduction plan. Not only has it cost 6 times as much, but since it was spent on recovery, we are just as vulnerable to flooding as 20 years ago. It should be of note that not all recovery money was spent in the TRW but within the county boundaries.
Another interesting fact revealed by the Storm Events Database, is the largest rain events for each of the past 3 years have happened within a few days of each other, June 18th-22nd.
The TRWMA Flood Reduction was in the news this week as a featured article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. The flood reduction plan was finished at the end of may and released to the public in mid-June. The article, which ran in the June 29th edition of the Gazette, is already garnering statewide attention, especially as recent rains again threaten flooding in Iowa.
Tuesday April 7th 2015, staff from the Iowa Flood Center and IIHR in Iowa City put on a training for new flood forecasting tools available for the Turkey River Watershed. The web-based tool is called the Iowa Flood Information System or IFIS. Some of the tools available through IFIS, such as stream gauge information, have been available for a couple of years but the Iowa Flood Center has recently added some new tools to help people anticipate and prepare for flooding. The Turkey River Watershed has specific tools available such as estimated travel times from different points in the watershed and rain drop tracker. The tools specifically available to the for the Turkey River Watershed can be found by following this url – http://ifis.iowafloodcenter.org/ifis/ifis10/sc/turkeyriver . The general IFIS website can be found here – IFIS – or by following the link on our homepage.
The National Weather Service has traditionally been charged with flood forecasting and warning across the US and will continue to do so. In Iowa, we are fortunate to have additional information from the Iowa Flood Center to compliment the NWS forecasts. With both forecasts available, emergency crews should have ample information when needing to make critical decisions about the potential for flood conditions.
“An Iowa State University research team has discovered that strategically adding a little bit of prairie back onto the agricultural landscape can result in many benefits – in water and soil quality, habitat for wildlife and pollinators, as well as opportunities for biomass production. Learn more about this new conservation practice and the excitement it is generating both within and outside Iowa.”
View a short video on Prairie Strips Here
This article is summarizing the minimal amount of land and cost required to put vegetative buffers along Iowa’s waterways. Currently, there is no regulation requiring such practices. Fifty foot buffers are required in the state of Minnesota.
12-4-2014 – Postville Iowa – The Turkey River Watershed Management Authority met on Thursday December 4th and heard a presentation from the Iowa Flood Center (IFC) regarding information from their modeling results in the Turkey River Watershed and the Otter Creek Watershed. The models used by the IFC simulate surface and subsurface conditions leading up to and following large precipitation events. Results from the models indicate the how the landscape in the Turkey River Watershed responds to heavy rainfall. One of the tools used by the IFC are rain gauges and soil moisture probes that continuously monitor conditions at five sites in the Otter Creek Watershed. The gauges collect data every 15 minutes and is streamed live on the Iowa Flood Information System website which can be accessed here. Thanks to funding secured by Northeast Iowa RC&D and the Iowa Flood Center, an additional 17 gauges will be dispersed throughout the Turkey River Watershed to expand monitoring efforts. With an extensive network of continuous monitoring in place, the Iowa Flood Center is hoping to be able to more accurately predict when conditions are more likely for flooding to occur. The Iowa Flood Center will be working with Northeast Iowa RC&D and local emergency managers and officials to develop this technology.
Wayne Fredericks says he isn’t a poster child for conservation.
But the 63-year-old farmer near Osage is willing to test ideas, gather data about the results, and see what works best in the field.
“Farmers have been real hungry for data,” said Fredericks, a farmer participating in the Rock Creek watershed improvement project in north-central Iowa. “They want to know what these practices are going to do and how they will affect yields and the bottom line. Will it be something that’s cost-effective?”
View the full article here.