Major flooding on Mississippi River likely again this spring


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Most of the Iowa/Mississippi River boundary can expect to see moderate flooding this spring (via NWS). 

Julia Poska | February 20, 2020

Iowa communities along the Mississippi River will most likely see major flooding this spring.

A National Weather Service flood outlook released last week shows an over 50% chance of extensive inundation all along the state’s eastern boundary. Probability of moderate flooding is at 95% in most areas. Western Iowa faces lower, but still significant risk.

Heavy precipitation in 2019, still-saturated soils and heavy snowpack to the north contribute to the elevated flood risk.

Radio Iowa reported that Gov. Kim Reynolds said official are coordinating with local emergency management teams. Reynolds said the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing water already to make room for melted snow to the north.

Last summer’s Mississippi River flooding was the longest in recorded history, lasting nearly 200 days. A coalition of river city mayors estimated damage to be over $2 billion along the length of the river.

You can find 2020 flood outlook data at specific Iowa sites using the interactive feature at this NWS page. 

Iowa Water Conference to bring the state’s hydrologic future into ’20/20′ focus


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A speaker at the 2018 Iowa Water Conference (via flickr). 

Julia Poska| January 30, 2019

Organizers of the 2020 Iowa Water Conference, scheduled April 8-9 at the Iowa State Center in Ames, say they aim to “refocus” Iowa’s vision for the future of its water resources.

The Iowa Water Center hosts the annual conference with 11 other organizations, including the Iowa Flood Center, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and and the U.S. Geological Survey. The event draws hundreds of researchers, students, conservationists, educators and other water resource professionals to discuss the state’s water challenges .

This year’s conference will focus on making “meaningful change.” Discussions will cover resiliency and inclusivity in water management, the “evolving” nature of Iowa’s relationship to water and the trajectory of water Iowa resources into the future.

The schedule of workshops and presentations should be available soon. Poster submission for researchers and students will open in February through March 25. Students can attend the conference at a discounted rate, with scholarships available as well.

UI tests new biomass sources


Miscanthus. Photo by Mollivan Jon, Flickr.

As previously covered on this blog, the University of Iowa uses oat hulls as biomass in order to reduce their use of coal. The University of Iowa is now looking to expand their use of biomass by using new sources.

UI has already tested seed corn, saw dust and greenwood energy pellets. There’s also a possibility that the university will use locally grown miscanthus — a plant similar to sugarcane. In fact, UI has contracted with a Muscatine County farmer to plant about 15 acres of miscanthus this spring.

The larger goal is to produce 40 percent of UI’s energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Read more here.

Kinnick Stadium recycling improved during second home game


Photo by SSShupe, Flickr.

The University of Iowa’s recycling efforts at Kinnick Stadium increased between the football team’s first and second home games.

During the first game volunteers collected more than two tons of recyclables, and diverted 40 percent of the waste that would have gone to the landfill.

During the second home game volunteers collected more than three tons of recyclables, and diverted 57 percent of the waste from the landfill.

Read more here.