Upstream Basin Boundary Maps

Understanding upstream basin boundaries is a key element of flood preparedness.

Understanding upstream basin boundaries is a key element of flood preparedness.

Recent flooding in Iowa has shown local flooding in a community is not always generated by local rainfall. Runoff from heavy rain upstream in the remote reaches of a river basin may cause flooding in communities far downstream.

Community Resource

Understanding basin boundaries can help community leaders and citizens identify and monitor the upstream regions that are drained by the same streams or rivers running through their community. Knowledge of the upstream watershed basin provides communities an opportunity for communication and collaboration with their upstream neighbors on watershed projects that can provide benefits to the entire basin.

Launch IFIS to view the river network and basins upstream of your community. Basin boundaries and river networks for 500 Iowa communities are currently available.


The IFC researchers utilize recently updated digital elevation models of the state to delineate the upstream boundaries.

Selecting Communities

The upstream basins of communities with a population greater than 200 inhabitants are available on IFIS. IFC researchers are in the process of mapping the upstream basin boundaries for all communities in Iowa located near order 3 streams.

Selecting Rivers

Initial rivers and streams were selected for inclusion on the maps based on their potential for flooding.


Project Personnel:
, Assistant Professor
, Design Engineer
, MS Student
Funding Source
Iowa State SealState of Iowa