Iowa Flood Information System

Stream sensor in action

Iowa Flood Center stream sensor in action.

The Iowa Flood Center (IFC) at the University of Iowa has installed over 30 new stream sensors this spring to help communities be better prepared when water levels begin to rise. The new stream sensors help fill identified flood monitoring and forecasting gaps, providing river level information for informed decision making.

The IFC stream sensors operate using an ultrasonic transducer to measure the water level. The sensors are completely self-contained and solar-powered. A cell modem transmits data from the stream sensor to the IFC-developed Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS) every 15 minutes where the data is publicly displayed in an easy-to-use, interactive Google Maps-based web environment.

With funding support from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and local communities, the additional IFC stream sensors have expanded the statewide total to nearly 260 locations, complementing the Iowa U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) network of about 200 stream gages. The need for additional flood monitoring became apparent after the 2018 fall floods when IFC received requests from state and local partners for over 100 proposed new sites on Iowa’s rivers and streams.

A majority of the new stream sensor sites were selected by the Iowa Silver Jackets team, a group of interagency state partners that includes IFC, IDNR, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, USGS, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Weather Service, and local emergency management coordinators. In addition, many community leaders have recognized the benefits of having a stream sensor to provide advanced flood alerts to protect their towns. A list of the new stream sensor locations now collecting and displaying data on IFIS is available below:

  1. Mud Creek at 65th St (E36) (Benton Co.)
  2. Mud Creek at 22nd Ave. (Benton Co.)
  3. Mud Creek at 64th Ave. (Benton Co.)
  4. West Fork Wapsi River on E. Dunkerton Rd. (Black Hawk Co.)
  5. East Fork Wapsi River (Bremer Co.)
  6. 145th St. over East Fork Wapsi River (Buchanan Co.)
  7. 145th St. over Buck Creek (Buchanan Co.)
  8. Wapsipinicon River at Quasqueton (Buchanan Co.)
  9. West Fork Cedar River near Kelsey (Butler Co.)
  10. Cedar River at Rochester (Cedar Co.)
  11. Mill Creek at Cherokee (Cherokee Co.)
  12. Osterdock Rd. over Turkey River (Clayton Co.)
  13. North Raccoon River near Adel (Dallas Co.)
  14. North Fork Maquoketa River on HWY 136 in New Vienna (Dubuque Co.)
  15. Shellrock River near Rockford (Floyd Co.)
  16. Iowa River near Iowa Falls  (Hardin Co.)
  17. Skunk River at Oakland Mills (Henry Co.)
  18. Skunk River near Merrimac (Jefferson Co.)
  19. Cedar River at Sutliff Rd. NW (Johnson. Co)
  20. Kitty Creek near Langworthy (Jones Co.)
  21. HWY 136 on Bear Creek (Jones Co.)
  22. Buffalo Creek at Prairieburg Rd. (Linn Co.)
  23. Little Rock River WSW of George (Lyon Co.)
  24. Mud Creek near Lester (Lyon Co.)
  25. Cedar River W of Osage (Mitchell Co.)
  26. Ocheyedan River near May City (Osceola Co.)
  27. Willow Creek Bridge (Plymouth Co.)
  28. Floyd River at Merrill (Plymouth Co.)
  29. Indian Creek at Council Bluffs (Pottawattamie Co.)
  30. West Nishnabotna River at Tamarack Ave. near Avoca (Pottawattamie Co.)
  31. East Branch West Nishnabotna River on E High St. near Avoca (Pottawattamie Co.)
  32. HWY 67 Bridge on Duck Creek (Riverdale, IA)
  33. Des Moines River at Chillicothe (Wapello Co.)
  34. Wonder Creek at Spillville (Winneshiek Co.)
  35. Turkey River NW of Spillville (Winneshiek Co.)
  36. Turkey River at Ft. Atkinson (Winneshiek Co.)
  37. Upper Iowa River on Clay Hill Rd. (Winneshiek Co.)

For questions or additional information, contact Breanna Shea (, p. 319-384-1729). Flood Center,Published on: June 19th, 2020