The Iowa Flood Center (IFC) at the University of Iowa provides Iowans with accurate, state-of-the-art, science–based information to help individuals and communities better understand and reduce their flood risks. The IFC’s overarching objective is to improve flood monitoring and prediction capabilities in Iowa, while studying and developing strategies to mitigate flood impacts.
The FY21 funds will be used to provide support for faculty, staff, researchers, and graduate students who dedicate their time to the mission and work of the Iowa Flood Center. The IFC will use the FY21 appropriation, along with additional grant funding from other sponsors, to support projects that include:
- Hosting and continuing to refine and add new tools to the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS)—an easy-to-use online application that communicates real-time flood alerts and forecasts, precipitation and hydrologic conditions, and stream levels across Iowa.
- Continuing to maintain instrumentation and data plans for over 260 stream stage sensors across the state. This year we need to finish replacing their modems, which will no longer be supported by our provider (Verizon) after 12/31/2021;
- Expanding the statewide network of rain gauge and soil moisture/temperature monitoring platforms to improve flood monitoring and forecasting in partnership with other IIHR projects (i.e. the Iowa Watershed Approach) and with other external partners;
- Continuing development of high-resolution, web-based flood inundation maps;
- Providing engineering services and developing preliminary flood assessments for small, under-resourced communities in Iowa to help them better understand local flood challenges and provide recommendations to mitigate flood impacts;
- Continuing watershed-scale research to understand how small-scale mitigation projects can reduce flood damage in a watershed (In FY21 we will start researching distributed storage with one of our new PhD students);
- Educating graduate students;
- Organizing public outreach programs (STEM festivals for K-12, public presentations, press releases, updated online information, social media, and other activities to share IFC tools and information with the general public and key stakeholders). During the pandemic, we will seek ways to develop and participate in these events remotely as necessary;
- Maintaining and building new relationships with federal, state, and local partners to ensure effective communication and coordination; and
- Beginning a new project to develop a Missouri River Modeling and Information System following the devastating 2019 spring floods.