Thursday, January 4, 2024

The Iowa Flood Center (IFC) at the University of Iowa was awarded $1 million to expand flood and drought monitoring, watershed management, and forecasting services in Eastern Iowa through Congress’s Community Project Funding championed by Congresswoman Ashley Hinson and Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

“This funding will help ensure Iowa remains a national leader in flood prediction,” said Larry Weber, professor of civil and environmental engineering and co-founder of the Iowa Flood Center. “We’re grateful for our local, state, and federal partnerships that supported this project and made it possible.”

The Congressional funding supports the installation of additional stream sensors and hydrostations throughout the Lower Cedar River and Maquoketa River watersheds to collect data and monitor hydrologic conditions in real-time. The IFC will develop a detailed hydrologic assessment and online visualization system for each watershed to guide water resource management, planning, and conservation implementation activities. The project builds off the framework of the IFC-led $97 million Iowa Watershed Approach (IWA) program and will bring together local watershed stakeholders to improve community flood resilience and increase mitigation efforts.

“Congratulations to the University of Iowa on its recent award of $1 million to expand flood and drought monitoring services in Eastern Iowa,” said Miller-Meeks. “Thanks to the University of Iowa, our state is better prepared to detect, mitigate, and respond to floods. This funding will help ensure the university’s meaningful work continues.”

“The Iowa Flood Center is at the forefront of flood mitigation and prevention initiatives in Iowa. This funding will bolster the Flood Center’s research and modernization efforts and strengthen their ability to provide real-time information to support local emergency operations in flood disaster situations,” said Hinson. “I was proud to work with Congresswoman Miller-Meeks to bring this critical investment back to Iowa and ensure families, homes, and businesses are better protected from severe weather.”

The funding will support the expansion of IFC’s hydrostation network by adding 30 new stations. This brings the IFC’s hydrostation network to 50 locations, halfway to its goal of deploying one in every Iowa county. The hydrostations measure rainfall, soil moisture and temperature conditions, and groundwater levels in shallow wells. Data from the network is publicly available on the IFC-developed Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS) online tool that communicates real-time information about stream levels, flood alerts and forecasts, and hydrologic conditions for the entire state.

“We’re grateful to Congresswoman Hinson and Congresswoman Miller-Meeks for their hard work to bring this project to Iowa,” said Witold Krajewski, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Iowa Flood Center. “This is a breakthrough that will help prepare Iowans for future hazards, from floods to drought.”

The hydrostations provide critical information for water-related monitoring, modeling, visualization, mapping, and research activities that will be undertaken by the new NOAA Cooperative Institute for Research to Operations in Hydrology, of which the University of Iowa and Iowa Flood Center is a key partner. Additionally, data from the network will significantly support preliminary discussions about developing an Iowa Drought Information System.

The Flood Center expects to begin deploying the Eastern Iowa hydrostation network in the spring of 2024 and hopes to secure additional funding support to expand the network in Western Iowa.

The Iowa Flood Center is part of the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering and is the nation’s only academic research center devoted solely to flooding. The IFC develops reliable tools and information that community leaders, emergency responders, decision-makers, and individuals depend on to help better understand and reduce their flood risks. For more information, contact IFC Program Manager Breanna Shea (, 319-384-1729).