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 FY22 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 FY22 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 cell modems for our instrumentation network following an extension from our provider (Verizon) to upgrade the technology by 12/31/2022.
- Expanding the statewide hydrostation network to continue working towards IFC’s goal of 100 stations (one in each county) to improve flood monitoring and forecasting. In partnership with other IIHR projects (i.e. the Iowa Watershed Approach) and with support from external partners, 23 hydrostations have been deployed
- Continuing development of high-resolution, web-based community 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 FY22, we will measure the effectiveness of flood mitigation projects constructed through the Iowa Watershed Approach to guide future watershed management activities;
- 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). As COVID-19 restrictions loosen, we’re expecting outreach to return to pre-pandemic, in-person activity; We will continue to utilize virtual programming as appropriate to effectively amplify our reach and messaging.
- Maintaining and building new relationships with federal, state, and local partners to ensure effective communication and coordination; We will continue to grow and expand new partnerships fostered during the pandemic with surrounding states and organizations such as the American Flood Coalition; and
- Continuing development of a new project to build a real-time Missouri River Flood Information System for southwest Iowa to help the region become more flood resilient following the devastating 2019 spring floods.