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Iowa Flood Center

Larry Weber is one of the founders of the Iowa Flood Center (IFC), which is part of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering. Director Witold Krajewski, Weber, and other researchers created the IFC after the 2008 floods that struck Eastern Iowa to help Iowans learn to better prepare for and cope with future flooding. “Living with Floods” succinctly summarizes the philosophy and mission of the IFC.

The IFC works closely with agency partners, including the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Iowa DNR), the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the National Weather Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to improve flood monitoring and prediction capabilities in Iowa.

Recent IFC highlights include:

  • Ongoing expansion and development of the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS), a user-friendly online application accessible to all Iowans.  IFIS provides a statewide Google Maps interface with up-to-the-minute information on rainfall, stream levels, and more.
  • The Iowa Watershed Projects, a multi-year effort to monitor, plan, and implement watershed projects designed to reduce the adverse impacts of flooding in Iowa. The Iowa Watershed Projects are supported by an $8.8M contract from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The projects seek to:
    • Maximize soil water holding capacity from precipitation;
    • Minimize severe soil erosion and sand deposition during floods;
    • Manage water runoff in uplands under saturated soil moisture conditions; and
    • Reduce and mitigate structural and nonstructural flood damage.
  • The addition of 50 low-cost stream stage sensors to the existing network (in partnership with the Iowa DNR). The current statewide network of stream sensors now includes 102 sensors on 63 streams. The IFC is deploying 25 more sensors in 2012, in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Transportation.
  • Continued progress on a library of flood inundation maps for Iowa’s largest and most flood-vulnerable communities. Interactive maps are now available online for Cedar Falls/Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Charles City, Des Moines, Elkader, Iowa City/Hills, and Mason City. Maps for Ames, Ottumwa, Sioux City, and Spencer are in progress, with completion expected in 2012.
  • An ongoing project to develop new floodplain maps for the 85 Iowa counties declared presidential disaster areas in 2008 (in partnership with the Iowa DNR).
  • Two online education programs to educate Iowans on the use of IFC’s free online tools, including IFIS.
  • Support for 20 students, who represent Iowa’s next generation of flood management professionals.

For more information, visit the Iowa Flood Center website at

Last modified on September 26th, 2012
Posted on May 10th, 2012