$10 Million in Watershed and Flood Mitigation Projects to Benefit Iowa
State Leaders, Agencies Announce New Projects to Protect Iowa
RIO Press Release
(DES MOINES) – This morning, several state agency representatives and community leaders announced several new projects to help Iowa minimize erosion, manage runoff and mitigate future flood damage. The announcement was made at the University of Iowa’s Stanley Hydraulics Laboratory in Iowa City.
In August, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced $312 million from the Disaster Recovery Enhancement Fund (DREF) was awarded to 13 states in response to each state’s flood mitigation efforts. Iowa was awarded the largest grant of $84.1 million due to the state’s commitment to flood mitigation efforts.
Of the $84.1 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, approximately $10 million will be allocated to watershed demonstration projects directed toward flood damage reduction and educational programming.
“When the Iowa Legislature passed House File 2459 and House File 2531 this year, it directed the state to undertake several efforts to protect Iowans from future disasters. Now, with this $10 million in funding, we have the financial support to act on all of their directives,” said Lt. General Ron Dardis, Rebuild Iowa Office Executive Director.
Of the $10 million, the largest amount, $8.8 million, has been set aside for the coordination of one or more watershed demonstration pilot projects which will be overseen by the Iowa Flood Center. The pilot projects will seek to maximize soil water holding capacity from precipitation, minimize severe soil erosion and sand deposition during floods, manage water runoff in uplands under saturated soil moisture conditions, and reduce and mitigate structural and nonstructural flood damage. The $8.8 million in funding will assist in planning, implementing and monitoring watershed demonstration pilot projects in both urban and rural areas.
“I want to thank Governor Culver and the state, specifically the Rebuild Iowa Office and the Iowa Dept. of Economic Development, for allocating federal funding to these activities,” said Larry Weber, University of Iowa’s IIHR Director. “The impact of this funding is sure to improve Iowa’s future.”
Approximately $800,000 of the CDBG funds will be used to establish two to three Watershed Management Authorities in Iowa on a pilot basis. These authorities will be created by an agreement between two or more local governments that share a common watershed. The authorities will be tasked with assessing flood risks and water quality, and options to improve them. The authorities will also monitor federal activities involving the watershed, as well as funds for water quality and flood mitigation. This activity will be administered by the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources.
Lastly, $400,000 will be used for a flood education marketing campaign. The Iowa State University Agricultural Extension Service, the Iowa Floodplain and Stormwater Management Association, and the Iowa Water Resources Coordinating Council will work with floodplain and hydrology experts to educate the public about floodplains, flood risks and basic floodplain management principles with these funds.
To date, Iowa has received more than $882 million in CDBG funds to help the state recover from the 2008 natural disasters.