Des Moines Flood Mitigation Project


City of Des Moines


Larry Weber, Antonio Arenas, and Nathan Young



Project Period:

December 1, 2017—December 1, 2019


Des Moines, Iowa

Services Provided by IFC:

Through a project with the city of Des Moines, IIHR and IFC researchers have completed an upstream flood mitigation study of the entire Des Moines River Watershed to help residents understand and reduce their flood risk.

Des Moines River Upstream Mitigation Study

“Flooding causes significant environmental, social, and economic impacts for communities. This project will help the city of Des Moines become more resilient to these impacts in the future.” — IFC Research Engineer Antonio Arenas Amado

Project Description:

Researchers at the Iowa Flood Center have developed a hydrologic model of the Des Moines River (which flows through Des Moines) Watershed. The project quantifies the value of implementing certain conservation practices in the watershed that will help to create storage in the landscape and reduce downstream flooding.

Using innovative tools, research, and technology, the study compares existing and potential best management practices (BMPs) in the watershed. This provides valuable information to the city of Des Moines that will help landowners strategically place BMPs in the watershed to bring about the greatest flood reduction benefits. In addition, the information will help guide BMP selection and prioritization.

The study will help city officials understand their community’s flood risk and how residents can become more flood resilient. Results from the study will help Des Moines decision-makers set goals to guide planning decisions into the future.

Soap Creek watershed farm pond for flood mitigation.