School of Urban and Regional PlanningThe University of IowaGraduate College

Floodplain Management

Part of the recovery effort throughout the State of Iowa following the disasters of 2008 was flooplain managament and improvement of water quality in the state. Legislation was passed in 2008 to do just that, as a Water Resources Coordinating Council (WRCC). In fact, 2009 Iowa legislation, HF756, required the state’s Water Resources Coordinating Council (WRCC) to submit policy and funding recommendations that promote “a watershed management approach to reduce the adverse impact of future flooding on this state's residents, businesses, communities, and soil and water quality.”

Click here to view the original WRCC floodplain recommendations filed in November 2009.

Two bills passed in the 2010 legislative session address five of the recommendations.

  • HF2531 (Standing Appropriations Bill) requires the WRCC and others to extent feasible to: 1) work on establishing an Iowa chapter of State Floodplain Managers Association, 2) education and 3) marketing for flood risks and floodplain awareness. (Signed 4/29/10)
  • HF2459 (Watershed Bill) 4) authorizes that funding be sought for pilot watershed projects involving IDALS, DNR and the Iowa Flood Center, and 5) outlines potential watershed governance via Watershed Management Authorities (Signed 4/7/10)

Development of Floodplain Management Recommendations

Agencies identified by the WRCC to participate in the Floodplain Management Subcommittee, and appointees from each, were:

  1. University of Iowa – Iowa Flood Center: Larry Weber; alternate Witold Krajewski
  2. Iowa State University – Leopold Center: Jerry DeWitt; alternate Jeri Neal
  3. University of Northern Iowa – Center for Energy and Environmental Education: Kamyar Enshayan
  4. Homeland Security: Tom Oswald; alternate Steve Zimmerman
  5. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Jerry Skalak
  6. IDOT: Scott Marler; alternate Dave Claman
  7. NRCS: Rich Sims; alternate Marty Adkins
  8. IDNR: Bill Ehm; alternate Sharon Tahtinen
  9. IDALS: Chuck Gipp
  10. IDED: Jessica Montana
  11. RIO: Ken Tow; alternate Susan Judkins
  12. USGS: Rob Middlemis-Brown; alternate Kaylene Carney

Bill Ehm of the DNR and Chuck Gipp of IDALS were elected as co-chairs of the Floodplain Management Subcommittee. The RIO provided staff support, including posting meeting notices, preparing press releases, and hosting web site information about the work of the Subcommittee.

recommendations required by HF756. The work groups include:

  1. Floodplain management and regulation
  2. Lowland focus: Wetland protection, restoration and construction; and conservation easements and other land management
  3. Upland Focus: Perennial ground cover and other agricultural conservation practices; and permanent or temporary water retention structures
  4. Promulgation and implementation of statewide storm water management standards; and pervious pavement, bioswales, and other urban conservation practices

Click here to view work group membership.

The goal of the work groups was to “consult with hydrological and land use experts, representatives of cities, counties, drainage and levee districts, agricultural interests, and soil and water conservation districts, and other urban and regional planning experts” in developing recommendations as required by HF756.

Recommendations were due Nov. 15, 2009. Public input was invited at subcommittee meetings, work group meetings, and at public meetings held in various regions of the state in late September and early October.