On The Radio – Iowa congressman calls for National Flood Center

Iowa Representative Dave Loebsack proposes the establishment of National Flood Center at a press conference in June of 2016. (Nick Fetty/CGRER)
Jenna Ladd | July 25, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment covers congressman Dave Loebsack’s proposal of a National Flood Center last month.

Transcript: Iowa congressman Dave Loebsack proposed the establishment of a National Flood Center during a stop in Iowa City last month.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Representative Loebsack made the announcement at the University of Iowa’s Stanley Hydraulics Laboratory on the eve of the 8th anniversary of the 2008 floods, which devastated much of the congressman’s district in southeast Iowa. Loebsack plans to introduce to congress the National Flood Research and Education Act which would establish a consortium within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to study and mitigate future flooding across the country. While Loebsack’s proposal does not directly call for a center to be established at the University of Iowa, he said he thinks the UI and the Iowa Flood Center already have many of the resources already in place to establish a flood center with a national focus.

Loebsack’s proposal calls for 10 million dollars to fund the center, which he said would be an investment that will save money in the future.


“Really, I think we’ve got to look at floods in a comprehensive way. I think we have to test new methods and build on promising methods and techniques that these folks can talk to us about so we can better predict and prevent flooding in the future in the first place, and having this national flood center, should we get this legislation through and get it established, I think will allow us really to save lives and protect our families and our businesses and our homes and our communities. And it would save us billions of dollars eventually.”

For more information about Representative Loebsack’s proposal, visit Iowa-Environmental-Focus-dot-org.

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

$600 million watershed bill survives committee vote

Photo by Jim Malewitz

Legislation calling for a ten year, $600 million investment in flood protections was passed in the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday.  Continue reading

$10 Million goes to flood prevention

Monday was a fine day for enemies of sogginess.

From the Iowa City Press-Citizen:

Since floods ravaged Iowa in 2008, more than half a billion dollars has been spent to prevent that kind of widespread destruction from happening again.

However, Rebuild Iowa Executive Director Lt. Gen. Ron Dardis said the state still has a long way to go before it can be safe from future flooding.

“We are still clearly in the first phase of the recovery,” Dardis said.

On Monday, Dardis, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Water Policy director Bill Ehm, State Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, and University of Iowa IIHR director Larry Weber announced a series of initiatives that will move Iowans closer to protecting themselves the next time flooding strikes the state.

About $10 million in Community Development Block Grant funds will go toward three projects designed to better understand Iowa’s watersheds and floodplains, promote collaboration between government entities within watersheds and educate the public about watersheds and flood mitigation efforts.

The $10 million is a portion of the $84.1 million awarded to Iowa from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Disaster Recovery Enhancement Fund. A total of $312 million went to 13 states, with Iowa getting the largest cut.

“The impact of these activities is sure to improve Iowa’s future,” Weber said….

For more coverage, check out:
The Daily Iowan

Spotlight on Flood Center’s Witold Krajewski

Check out the Daily Iowan’s profile on Witold Krajewski, director of the Iowa Flood Center.

Months after the historic flooding in the summer of 2008, many Iowans were left with questions on how to move forward. And when the Iowa Flood Center was created in the spring of 2009, the center and its director Witold Krajewski were there to help.

Today, Krajewski, 57, a University of Iowa professor of civil and environmental engineering, helps Iowans at risk for flooding better understand water flow in the environment.

But the positive nature of his work doesn’t keep him from occasionally feeling the emotional toll of flood damage. During this summer’s flood in Ames and Des Moines, Krajewski said he felt a “high level of frustration.”

“It was like a challenge that I can help with my knowledge,” said Krajewski, a native of Warsaw, Poland.

And read more recent news about the Iowa Flood Center and flooding in Iowa:

No doubt: Iowa is getting wetter

Gene Takle

In case you missed it last Sunday, the Cedar Rapids Gazette gave a huge front-page spread to a piece that lays out some sobering data on Iowa’s recent trends in precipitation – much of it supplied by CGRER’s own Gene Takle at Iowa State.

Here’s a rundown of some of those key stats, as cited by the article:

  • The past three years have been the wettest 36 month period in the 138 years that Iowa has been keeping records. We beat the old record, set between 1990-1993, by about 10 inches of precipitation.
  • 2007 was the state’s fifth-wettest year; 2008, the fourth wettest; 2009 was the 11th wettest; and 2010 is on track to become the second-wettest year in state history.
  • From 1875 to 1950, Iowa had only two years with more than 40 inches of precipitation. Since 1950, the state has recorded eight such years, and this year likely will be the ninth.
  • Since 1910, days with more than 4 inches of precipitation have increased 50 percent in the Upper Midwest
  • During the late 1800s, Cedar Rapids averaged 4.2 days a year with precipitation of 1.25 inches or more – the amount at which runoff to streams typically becomes significant. By 2008, that figure had risen to 6.6 days per year, a 57 percent increase.

We also know that flooding in Ames and other areas in Iowa were worse this year than in the epically soggy 1993.  And June 2010 was the second wettest month in state history.

So does this weather seem to be the “new normal” as Gov. Chet Culver and others have described it? It’s hard to argue otherwise.