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Hazards on the Hill

The Iowa Flood Center (IFC) has been invited to participate in the National Science Foundation’s “Hazards on the Hill” Event.  The event is co-hosted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Bill Nelson, Chair of the Senate Commerce Science and Space Subcommittees.

Witold Krajewski, Director of the IFC, and Larry Weber, Director of IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, will highlight work the work of the IFC and its role  in helping to address the tremendous needs of Iowa communities for more technical assistance to better prepare for floods.

This event is open to the general public.

902 Senate Hart Building
Washington, DC
September 7, 2011
10:30 am to 2:00 pm

Palo Storm Water Management Committee

Iowa Flood Center Director Witold Krajewski and Engineers Ricardo Mantilla and Dan Ceynar met with the Palo Storm Water Management Committee on August 18, 2009.

Palo Meeting on August 18.

Palo Meeting on August 18.

Krajewski Named Director of Iowa Flood Center

University of Iowa News Release

The University of Iowa has named Witold Krajewski, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering and research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, as director of the new Iowa Flood Center, effective immediately.

IIHR Director Larry Weber said that Krajewski, who also holds the Rose & Joseph Summers Chair in Water Resources Engineering, is the right person to lead the center.

“As a leading researcher in rainfall forecasting, modeling, and measurement using radar and satellite remote sensing, Professor Krajewski is uniquely suited to direct the center,” said Weber.

In April, the center received $1.3 million to enable it to conduct real-time forecasting of floods and help communities improve flood monitoring.

In late June 2008, Weber and Krajewski, at the suggestion of UI President Sally Mason, brought National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Arden L. Bement, Jr. to the UI campus to meet with researchers. Following his visit, UI researchers applied for and received nearly a dozen NSF-funded projects valued at a total of more than $500,000. These projects include such studies as an analysis of Cedar Rapids soil samples to learn what industrial and farm chemicals may have been carried into the city by floodwaters.

“Gathering UI researchers together for Dr. Bement’s campus visit last June gave us a unique opportunity to learn about other expertise on campus,” recalled Krajewski. “The wide range of research projects, led by engineers, geographers, and sociologists, convinced us that we needed to think beyond the 2008 flood and consider how we might study floods together within the context of a new multidisciplinary flood center.”

Because much of IIHR’s flood-related work is basic research funded though small NSF grants, Krajewski recently submitted a separate proposal for a National Flood Research Center in response to an NSF call for proposed Science and Technology Centers. If funded, it would be one of several Science and Technology Centers across the United States, but the only one focusing exclusively on floods.

The state center, however, will allow for work focused specifically on applications for Iowa, Weber said.

“We expect the work of the Iowa Flood Center and the National Flood Center, if funded, to complement each other,” said Weber. “The National Center will have a broad research and education mission to serve our nation, while the Iowa Flood Center will focus on applications and priorities specific to Iowa.”

The Iowa Flood Center will establish community-based programs to improve flood monitoring and prediction along Iowa’s major waterways, as well as share center resources and expertise across the state to develop a flood-savvy work force.

Krajewski said that the goal of the center is to develop physically based numerical models that will improve flood forecasting and mitigation understanding in the basin — all with the goal of trying to prevent or at least lessen the effects of flooding.

The Iowa Flood Center will also collaborate with state and federal agencies, such as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Weather Service.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu

Press Citizen: UI to Host Iowa Flood Center

Legislators OK $1.3M Bill

By Rachel Gallegos
Iowa City Press-Citizen

State legislators approved a bill Saturday evening that includes $1.3 million for an Iowa Flood Center at the University of Iowa.

“We’re very happy to be able to accomplish this,” said Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City. “We think it’s a really important piece of our flood recovery effort.”

The bill passed in the Senate on Saturday night in a 31 to 18 vote.

Larry Weber, director of the UI hydrological lab known as IIHR and co-creator of the flood center proposal, said the goal of the center is to develop physically based numerical models that will improve flood forecasting and mitigation understanding in the basin.

Weber co-wrote the proposal with Witold Krajewski, who will be one of the lead faculty members of the center, Weber said.

Much of the work they do now is funded though small grants received through the National Science Foundation, Weber said. NSF funding generally goes for fundamental science, with less focus toward application, he said.

The state funding the center will receive will allow for work that focuses specifically on applications for Iowa, Weber said.

The center will collaborate with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the National Weather Service for its work, he said. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources administers the Flood Plain Management Program.

Bolkcom said he thinks the center will “capitalize on the expertise we have at the University of Iowa” while also providing the resources to hopefully avoid another round of devastating damage and huge public costs to rebuild.

“This is a really good thing,” Bolkcom said.

He said leaders also have applied to try and secure funding to make the University of Iowa center one of several national flood centers. State support was an important factor for this national application, Bolkcom said.

Weber said the center would work to create tangible products, such as flood inundation maps that could be available through Google Earth. These maps would show how the different river levels affect neighborhoods and homes, he said.

The flood center, part of House File 822, passed in the House in a 55 to 39 vote.

Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, said the budget bill calls for about $84 million in spending for various projects.

Much of the money would come from a special account that is called the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund that lawmakers set up in 1995.