On The Radio – Flood barriers protect Cedar Rapids


ct-cedar-rapids-iowa-flooding-20160927
Workers stand on a flood wall made of Hesco barriers on the bank of the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall / AP)
Jake Slobe | October 3, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment discusses the flooding that recently took place in Cedar Rapids.

Transcript: An intricate system of temporary floodwalls largely protected Cedar Rapids homes and businesses Tuesday as the river that runs through the city reached its second-highest peak ever.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

City officials said the ten-mile system of Hesco barriers erected over the weekend was largely successful in holding back the rising Cedar River. The barriers were quickly assembled along the river at a cost of five to six million dollars over the course of a few days. The city also deployed 250,000 sandbags, many of which remained dry and can be recycled.

The city received good news as the river crested at 22.1 feet, three feet lower than previous estimates. That was nine feet below the 2008 flood that destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in the worst natural disaster in Iowa history.

City crews worked all through the night before the crest to patch any weaknesses in the barrier system and prepare to pump out any water that seeped through the barriers or came up through the saturated ground.

Cedar Rapids deserves high marks for its preparedness and response.

To learn more about the flooding, visit iowaenvironmentalfocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

Iowa communities hopeful as water levels recede


Des Moines during the 2008 floods. Photo by Jeff Gitchel; Flickr
Des Moines during the 2008 floods. Photo by Jeff Gitchel; Flickr

Despite heavy rainfall in Iowa over the past weeks that has taken its toll on the state, some Iowa communities are remaining cautiously optimistic that the storm may have passed.

Coralville Lake is currently expected to crest at 711.3 feet, just below the spillway, and the Cedar River is already beginning to recede. Additionally, temporary fortifications along with those installed since the flood of 2008 have lessened damage in Coralville and Iowa City.

However, it is hard to predict whether or not communities are out of harm’s way, since meteorologists predict that next week’s forecasted rain will be localized.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials are encouraging residents to be safe over the holiday weekend, particularly if planning water recreation activities.

To monitor weather and water levels in your area, use the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS).

 

Nominate your Town for River Town of the Year!


Photo by ellenmac11; Flickr

Iowa Rivers Revival — an organization committed to protecting Iowa’s rivers and streams and watersheds — invites you to nominate your city for IRR’s River Town of the Year award.

The annual River Town of the Year award recognizes an Iowa town or city for outstanding efforts to reclaim river-fronts as anchors for economic development, recreation, and good ecological practices. Cities are invited to apply for the award, or citizens may nominate their town.

Applications are due by November 1, 2013. The award will be presented in January 2014 at a reception hosted by Iowa Rivers Revival in the River Town of the Year community. Continue reading

Low water levels force power plant to dredge Cedar River


Photo by NRCgov, Flickr.

Two days ago we reported that low stream flows are negatively impacting water recreation in Iowa. The low water levels are also forcing the Duane Arnold Energy Center nuclear power plant to dredge a portion of the Cedar River.

The power plant uses water from the Cedar River to cool steam after it has been used to generate electricity. Without the water, the power plant would not be able to operate.

If the Cedar River’s water levels get too low, there’s a chance that the power plant would have to temporarily shut down.

Read more from The Gazette here.

Charles City named Iowa River Town of the Year


Photo courtesy of Iowa Rivers Revival.

Earlier this month Iowa Rivers Revival, an advocacy group for rivers, awarded their Iowa River Town of the Year award to Charles City, Iowa.

IRR hailed the city’s numerous river-oriented projects, including the construction of new riverside parks, and the transformation of a low-head dam into the state’s first whitewater kayak course.

  “The city’s projects both protect the Cedar River and celebrate it as a rich source of enjoyment and civic pride,” Peckumn said.  “We commend Charles City as Iowa’s River Town of the Year.  Your efforts will be admired, discussed, and emulated by other Iowa river towns for a long time to come.”

Charles City officials say the projects have resulted in increased response to tourism and community promotional efforts.

“The Cedar River is now more than ever a valued asset for the community, making Charles City an even better place to live, work and play,” City officials said.

For more information, read the full Iowa Rivers Revival press-release.

Sewage flows into Cedar, Mississippi rivers


Cedar River. Photo by Rachel Dale, Flickr.

Clinton and Cedar Falls both accidentally discharged waste into nearby rivers yesterday.

The Quad-City Times reports:

The city of Clinton has discharged about 100,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into the Mississippi River.

The state Department of Natural Resources told KCRG-TV that the city discharged the sewage while repairs were made Friday to a 65-foot section of pipe. Continue reading