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University of Iowa News Release


July 9, 2010

Iowa Flood Center receives $11.3 million for refunding, floodplain mapping project

The Iowa Flood Center (IFC) at the University of Iowa recently received a one-year, $1.3 million renewal appropriation from the Iowa Legislature to fund its fiscal 2011 operations.

In addition, the IFC has received a four-year, $10 million contract from the Department of Natural Resources under a Community Development Block Grant Program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to conduct the Iowa Floodplain Mapping Project.

krajewskiThe continued funding of the one-year-old center is much needed and very welcome, said IFC director Witold Krajewski (pronounced cray-EFF-ski), and the Iowa Floodplain Mapping Project will allow individuals, businesses and communities across the state to better identify their flood risks.

Born out of events surrounding the 2008 Iowa floods, the IFC ( engages in projects to help Iowans better prepare for, predict and monitor flooding and as a place where Iowans can learn about flood-related research, education and other activities.

Under the terms of the floodplain mapping project, the IFC, part of the College of Engineering's IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, will work closely with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop floodplain maps for the 85 Iowa counties declared federal disaster areas following the 2008 floods.

The maps will rely heavily on statewide LiDAR (laser radar) data recently collected by the Iowa DNR to develop very accurate digital elevation models of the land surface. The LiDAR data will be used to create data describing Iowa's river and stream networks, develop computer-based flood simulations, and delineate floodplains.

The project will map all streams draining one square mile or more in the 85 counties designated as federal disaster areas following the 2008 flood. The IFC will also use the grant to develop innovative floodplain mapping tools and train undergraduate and graduate students. When complete, the maps will help to guide floodplain regulation and management and will be available to the general public through the Internet.

“We are excited to partner with the DNR on this important state-wide project," said Nathan Young, IIHR research engineer and manager of the Iowa Floodplain Mapping Project. "These maps will provide Iowans with new information concerning flood risk in their own communities so they are empowered to make informed land use and land management decisions.”

During its first year, the IFC improved flood monitoring and prediction capabilities in Iowa by helping towns at risk for flooding better understand how distant rainfall affects them by identifying the boundaries of upstream river basins. The IFC also laid the groundwork for a new, $3,000 stream-level sensor -- developed by UI engineering students -- that could be attached to the underside of Iowa's many bridges to provide an online database for monitoring rivers.

The IFC also supplemented 100-year and 500-year flood maps in some Iowa communities with new flood inundation maps that show which areas may be at risk during any predicted flood. These activities were supporting 20 students in their studies.

Located on the UI campus in the C. Maxwell Stanley Hydraulics Laboratory, the Iowa Flood Center was established in 2009. Iowa Flood Center research and education program collaborators include: Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa State University, National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Resources Conservation Services, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Rock Island District, and the communities of Elkader, Des Moines, Charles City, Iowa City, Coralville, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls and Waterloo.

For additional information, see the IFC website at:

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Nathan Young, Iowa Floodplain Mapping Project, 319-384-1732,; Witold Krajewski, Iowa Flood Center, 319-335-5231,; Gary Galluzzo, UI News Services, 319-384-0009,