Strong flood plan a must for Iowa
By David Loebsack
The Gazette Guest Opinion
As Iowans across the state are all too aware, flooding has caused more damage in recent years than any other natural disaster. Folks across Eastern Iowa and Southeastern Iowa are still struggling to rebuild their homes and businesses after the devastating floods of 2008. And once again, homeowners, farmers and businesses in Western Iowa are battling rising floodwaters causing billions in damage.
Every summer, flooding seems to be a problem and in order to keep our families safe, we must ensure that we are better prepared, and that our recovery is as quick and effective as possible.
Iowa needs a strong flood management plan. Last week, 3rd District Congressman Leonard Boswell and I sent a letter to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, urging them to hold a hearing to examine the flood management plans and regulations guiding the operation of key flood-control infrastructure, including dams, reservoirs, levees and locks. The Army Corps of Engineers must have the ability to work closely with local, state and federal officials and have the resources to ensure that the management and operation of critical flood infrastructure stays up to date in an evolving environment.
The way we respond to floods is a critical component of our flood management plan, but we must also look for ways to be better prepared. Iowa is lucky to have the Iowa Flood Center, which has provided important expertise and guidance since 2008. However, despite Iowa’s work to address flooding concerns within our state, there is no comprehensive, nationwide flood research effort that would allow us to address all the factors that lead to flooding.
That is why I recently introduced legislation to create a National Flood Center to conduct research on flooding, flood prevention and other flood-related issues. This center, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and experts at universities across the country, would also coordinate efforts between a wide range of federal, state and local organizations and policymakers.
The National Flood Center would provide valuable research on the environmental, economic and social effects of flooding, analyze federal, state, regional and local flood-related policies, and develop and test new and improved tools, methods and models. This work would lead to a wide variety of policies and practices to help better predict, prepare, prevent and recover from floods.
As flooding continues across the Midwest, the urgency of addressing our nation’s flood management policies only increases.
David Loebsack, D-Mount Vernon, is Iowa’s 2nd District congressman. Comments: http://loebsack.house.gov/contactform/