Loebsack Proposes National Flood Center

June 3, 2016

Dave Loebsack and Witold Krajewski shake hands while Larry Weber looks on

Iowa Flood Center Director Witold Krajewski (left) shakes hands with Congressman David Loebsack while IIHR Director Larry Weber looks on.

Congressman Dave Loebsack, along with staff from the Iowa Flood Center, hosted a press conference on Monday, June 6, to discuss legislation he will be introducing to establish a National Flood Center. The National Flood Research and Education Act (NFREA) would establish a consortium within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that includes institutions of higher education in order to advance the understanding of the causes of flooding, to conduct research on flooding, flood prevention and other flood-related issues. Congressman Loebsack has continued to develop this legislation since the devastating Iowa floods of 2008 in order to help communities facing the threat of flooding prepare better and smarter.

“It is a shame that nearly eight years have passed since the historic floods of 2008 devastated many homes, businesses, and communities in Iowa and the federal government has refused to establish a national center to address the issue of flooding,” said Loebsack. “My legislation will establish a National Flood Center to help communities prepare better and smarter in order to save both lives and taxpayer dollars in preparing for and recovering from floods. We need to look at floods comprehensively, test new methods and build on promising methods and techniques to better predict, prevent and recover from flooding.”

IIHR Director Larry Weber and Iowa Flood Center Director Witold Krajewski also spoke at the press conference, which was held at IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering. Weber said he has been impressed by Loebsack’s response to flooding in Iowa. “It’s a very important task for us,” Weber said. “We stand ready to help.” Krajewski added that he hopes national officials will recognize the work that has already been done in Iowa and implement it at the national scale.

Background information on The National Flood Research and Education Act (NFREA)

The NFREA establishes a National Flood Research and Education Center (NFREC) to conduct research on flooding, flood prevention and other flood-related issues. NFREC will ensure that differing hydrology, weather, urban, suburban, and rural areas and economies are examined so diverse flood situations are represented.  Research will be coordinated with a wide-range of federal, state, and local organizations and led by NOAA with an institution of higher education that has significant expertise and experience in examining flood-related issues. The research will provide important insights on comprehensive flooding issues, such as water management or release rates for the Corps of Engineers, flood inundation and preparation, and management and recovery efforts in other local, state and federal agencies.

The National Flood Center’s work will lead to a wide variety of policy and practice recommendations as they relate to predicting, preparing, preventing and recovering from floods.  This will include analysis of the economic and social effects of flooding, analysis of federal, state, regional and local flood policy and development and testing of new or improved risk-assessment tools, methods and models, as well as share valuable flood prediction information with the public. The bill will bring together leading institutions in the fields of physical and environmental science, including hydrology, hydraulics, hydrometeorology, climate, as well as engineering, sociology and economics to provide a comprehensive flood research.