On the Radio: Turkey Watershed flood plan goes beyond flood walls

A stream near Elgin, Iowa, part of the Turkey River Watershed (KC McGinnis / CGRER)
A stream near Elgin, Iowa, part of the Turkey River Watershed (KC McGinnis / CGRER)
August 10, 2015

This week’s On the Radio segment looks at the Turkey River Watershed Management Authority’s innovative flood protection plan. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Transcript: Turkey Watershed Flood Plan

To prevent future flooding, one Iowa watershed group is going to the source.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

The Turkey River Watershed Management Authority, in northeast Iowa, recently unveiled a 32 million dollar flood protection plan that goes beyond floodwalls and levees. Instead, the proposed plan looks to address one of the primary causes of flooding: poor soil infiltration of rainfall. That’s according to Lora Friest, of Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development:

“We have damage to the communities, we have millions of dollars in road and bridge infrastructure. And what do we do? We put up higher sandbags, higher levees; we don’t actually address the problem.”

The plan applies the same techniques experts recommend to decrease nutrient runoff, including cover crops, buffer strips and reduced tillage. The plan cites Iowa Flood Center models that suggest a soil infiltration strategy could cut massive flooding by ten percent, saving watersheds millions over conventional flood plans.

For more information about the flood plan, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

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