The Iowa Flood Center (IFC) recently received a one-year, $1.3 million renewal appropriation from the Iowa Legislature to fund its fiscal 2011 operations. In addition, the IFC has received a four-year, $10 million contract from the Department of Natural Resources.
This funding is available through a Community Development Block Grant Program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and will allow the IFC to conduct the Iowa Floodplain Mapping Project.
The continued funding of the one-year-old center is much needed and very welcome, said IFC director Witold Krajewski, and the Iowa Floodplain Mapping Project will allow individuals, businesses and communities across the state to better identify their flood risks. [more]
About the IFC
The concept for the Iowa Flood Center is rooted in the monumental efforts that took place on The University of Iowa (UI) campus in June 2008 before, during, and after the Iowa and Cedar Rivers crested in Eastern Iowa. In between filling sandbags and moving out of flood-endangered buildings, UI researchers began collecting time-sensitive data of many aspects of the flood – from high resolution data to document flood water elevations, to contaminated sediments deposited by flood waters. The flood helped catalyze formation of new teams of researchers from throughout the UI campus to work together on flood-related initiatives. They also sought funding from a variety of sources and in the first three months after the flood, The University of Iowa was awarded over $500,000 by the National Science Foundation for flood-related research.
A central issue that emerged from this work was the realization that there is no central place in Iowa (or in the nation!) for advanced research and education specifically related to floods. Thus came the discussion and formulation of a plan to establish an Iowa-based center for flood research and education. The University of Iowa was the logical home for this center, based on its own experience during the flood and because it houses IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, one of the preeminent hydraulics laboratories in the nation.
The IFC is already engaged in projects in several Iowa communities and employs about 20 graduate and undergraduate students participating in flood-related research. For example, IFC researchers are currently installing a new network of sensors to better monitor local river and stream levels across the state. A set of four X-band radars are being deployed in Eastern Iowa to improve the use of radar data for precipitation measurement and to better predict small and large-scale flooding events. The IFC has already produced detailed flood inundation maps for several communities across the state and is now working with Iowa Department of Natural Resources to prepare floodplain maps for nearly the entire state. Future IFC activities will include evaluation of different flood mitigation strategies and may also incorporate other aspects of flooding, including health issues, policy and politics, economics, education, and social implications.