June 27, 2011
Iowa Flood Center welcomes call to develop national flood center
Iowa Flood Center (IFC) researchers at the University of Iowa are welcoming a legislative proposal to develop a federally funded National Flood Center.
On June 23, U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack introduced HR 2330 -- the National Flood Research and Education Act -- to promote greater understanding of the causes of flooding and advance flood research. The proposal would create a National Flood Research and Education Consortium including many federal, state and local organizations under the leadership of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as a National Flood Center at "an institution of higher education that has significant expertise and experience in examining flood-related issues."
IFC Director Witold Krajewski said the proposal and the National Flood Center in particular would benefit the entire nation by reducing the time and money needed to put research findings into action.
"Our nation continues to experience devastating losses from flooding every year," said Krajewski. "The National Flood Research and Education Act and the National Flood Center that it creates will benefit our nation by significantly shortening the path from flood research to implementation of results, thus greatly improving our nation's resiliency to flooding."
The two-year-old Iowa Flood Center has accomplished much during its brief tenure. A part of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering in the UI College of Engineering, it was founded to improve the prediction and monitoring of floods in Iowa and has brought engineering and scientific expertise to bear on a number of flood-related projects.
Collaborating with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and Iowa communities, the IFC is helping Iowans prepare for and live with floods.
Currently, IFC researchers, in cooperation with the UI's Operator Performance Laboratory, are gathering high-resolution photographs of Missouri River floodwaters as they flood Iowa's western border. The goal is to determine the boundaries of inundated areas and compare these with existing floodplain maps. The improved maps will help Iowans know what to expect during future floods.
In addition to western Iowa research, the center already has information systems ready for use by Iowans.
For example, the center has constructed web-based flood maps for several Iowa communities. IFC researchers use bathymetric surveys and aerial LiDAR data to create detailed flood inundation maps. The high-resolution models can illustrate the extent of flooding under different conditions. An interactive Google Maps-based online application allows Iowans to see how predicted flood levels could affect their property and make informed decisions.
The maps are available at http://www.iowafloodcenter.org. Once there, click on "IFIS."
The IFC is part of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, a unit of the UI College of Engineering, and is located in the C. Maxwell Stanley Hydraulic Laboratory. The IFC is supported by state appropriations to improve flood monitoring and prediction in the state of Iowa.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500